I know what you’re thinking “beer & cheese, does that even work?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it does, and for the latest offering on Whiteladies Road, Two Belly, it works well!
Two Belly recently opened at the top end (as I would call it) of Whiteladies Road, so hubby and I had to check it out! Owners Lara and Dominic, who worked in the pub trade previously, left it all to pursue their passion: good beer and amazing specialty cheeses and meats (read charcuterie). If you know anything about Bristol, this city loves the independent little guy, and that’s just what Two Belly is; passionate, largely locally sourced, and willing to give it their all!
When you first enter Two Belly, you are greeted with a smile and a fabulous counter displaying all the lovely cheese on offer. There’s a wide variety of cheese to choose from including: hard, soft, semi-soft, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, washed rind, etc. “That’s a lot of cheese Chandra, I wouldn’t even know where to start”, I hear you say. That’s where Dom & Lara come in; like two cheese wizards, they can help you select the best options for your palate. Offering samples of anything, these two will soon have you stocked up with some of the best cheese available in Bristol.
Hubby and I opted for a cheese plate that Dom prepared based on what we both like (n.b. we’re not too picky when it comes to cheese :-)). Our plate included: Tymsboro, a soft, raw goat’s milk cheese, and Stichelton, a semi-soft, raw cow’s milk cheese similar to Stilton. Dom also threw in some extra (uh, yes please) cheese for us to try: Montgomery’s Cheddar and Comte, both hard, raw cow’s milk cheeses.
The second thing you notice about Two Belly, is the white subway tile “black board” behind the cheese counter that lists the other food items available. These include cured meats, toasties, bread from the Bristol Loaf, and any special offers (toastie of the day, other nibbles, etc.). On subsequent visits I have tried the toasties and they are absolutely delicious! Oozing with bubbley, melty cheese, these will put you straight into a warm cheesey goodness coma (the Blue Note is my personal favorite).
Not known for being strictly cheese lovers, hubby and I also ordered a meat plate. This included Brasola, seaweed and cider salami, and blood, wine and chocolate salami. I know the last two sound a bit “unusual”, but they were both really good. Hubby even enjoyed them, and he’s a bit British when it comes to trying new foods 😉 Most of the cured meats are sourced from the West Country, and rotate when new varieties become available.
Moving on to the second half of Two Belly…..beer. Well more specifically, drinks: beer (bottle/can & tap), wine, cider, coffee, tea, juice; there’s something for everyone. This is where Lara’s expertise really comes into play; she is a cheese and beer pairing genius! If you can
name a cheese, she can suggest a beer that pairs with it, perfectly. I went for the Lost & Grounded Keller Pils, and hubby tried the Oliver’s & Hawkes Cider (hubby is not a beer drinker, I know, weird). Not only do Two Belly have four beer taps inside the shop, which rotate often, they also have a very sexy “beer” fridge located at the back of the shop, and a smaller, but perfectly formed, drinks (wine, cider, etc.) fridge to the right of the larger one. There are many beer options to choose from, including a good representation of the amazing breweries located throughout Bristol (gert lush).
Two Belly also stock a wide variety of other sundries: eggs, pickled veggies, oat cakes, butter, etc., which are tastefully displayed throughout the store. They’ve also started doing special event nights including “Meet the Brewer”, “Cheese & Beer Pairings”, and “Fondue Nights”!! HELLO!!!!