If you are in Bristol looking for lunch, there are lots of chains of restaurants and coffee shops, across the city centre, however those looking for something different, tasty, individual and good value, need to look no further than St Nicholas Market. Within the narrow passages you can find all manner of foods and tasty treats. The range of smells, flavours and colours as you walk between the crowded stalls both stimulates and inspires, as well as making your mouth water. The choice is almost overwhelming, you can choose Caribbean, Moorish, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Modern, BBQ, so much choice you often have no idea where to start. The place is usually packed and there are long queues for virtually all the stands, so I am sure they move quite quickly. Oh on Thursdays the choice gets even more difficult, as there are loads of new food stalls in the weekly food market.
One stall which seems to have a permanently long queue at lunchtimes is Matina right by the magnificent Georgian entrance to St Nicholas market on the High Street. Matina is a Kurdish takeaway selling delicious wraps and boxes. Keeping it simple you choose a freshly made Kurdish wrap (more like a naan bread than a wrap) or a box with rice (or cous cous). This is then filled with fresh salads, humus, sauces and topped with a choice of grilled marinated chicken, lamb kofta or hallumi and vegetables.
The bread is made in front of you to order in hot oven. They take fresh balls of dough, flatten them out into a circle on a mould, before sticking it to the side of their hot oven. These are then, once cooked, taken out and covered in your choice of salads, sauces, humus and chilli, before the addition of the main filling. Wrapped for you and ready to eat, though sometimes too hot too handle with the freshly cooked bread.
The bread is amazing, this is down to the freshness, you have warm bread, that is still a little doughy as you bite into it, and unlike a wrap, quite happily soaks up the juices from the salad and meat.
I went with the marinated chicken, which had been freshly cooked, so was hot, crisp on the outside, moist inside and full of middle eastern flavours. The salads are fresh, seasoned and full of taste. It was a joy to eat. The combination of textures, flavours and colour, makes this an incredible tasty lunchtime treat, and you understand why there is always a large queue. These are also very good value, all under £5.