One of Bristol’s main attractions to me when looking round unis – as well as the super interesting degree, the beautiful weather and the intimidatingly friendly people – was the FOOD. Unfortunately though, my goal of munching my way through every independent, artisan, wood-oven’d and hand-finished morsel became pretty unrealistic when The Overdraft reared its grim head after my second term. Then, miraculously, the food gods answered my prayers and sent me: Wriggle.
Anyone who knows me is aware of my Wriggle addiction. But what is “a Wriggle”? Is it a new dance? A drink? An attachment for your airpods (whatever they are)? It’s an app. An app that if, like me, you enjoy eating out, will save you multiple pennies whilst allowing you to continue your greedy culinary adventure. It is ridiculously simple, and when you click that little download button I imagine you will give yourself a few kicks over the number of standard Pret baguettes and soggy Meal Deal sarnis you’ve put in your face over the past couple of years. I met the guys at Wriggle in my second year of uni, when I responded to a customer satisfaction email – I mentioned I was keen on this app – and was called into their office to try out their new software. Clearly, my head wasn’t big enough at this point, and we got to talking about the fabulous online mag I write for, Inter:mission. Had they heard of us? No. Was I going to carry on talking about it until they pretended they did? Yes. Un-deterred, I ploughed on, and was subsequently given the opportunity to group together some Wriggle faves of mine for a feature article that would nobly deliver Wriggle to the masses, and so, here we are.
^Bakesmiths’ brunch ^Folkhouse Café lunch & coffee
Now I actually have a confession to make. A couple of Wriggle deals are really, literally, and genuinely, too good to share. Some of the restaurants that advertise with the app only publish a select few deals, and some of them could be likened to, I don’t know… gold dust. My big mouth has often over-shared, only to find myself paying full price for an extra-hot-half-almond-half-coconut-milk-cinnamon-pumpkin-foam-dirty-chai-latte-with-a-biscuit-on-top – so, for those, you’ll just have to do the scrolling for yourself.
I am someone who goes to bed thinking about what I’m going to eat the next morning, so I’d say breakfast is of relative importance to me. But, whether you’re a ‘run to lecture with a cereal bar’ or a ‘melancholy mull over a black coffee and The Week’ kinda guy, getting breakfast on-the-go is always a good option, particularly when the weather is so miserable that those extra ten mins in the duvet could be the difference between which side of the bed you get out of. I live in Clifton, so I can pretty confidently vouch for the amount of overpriced fodder that dominates café menus along Boyce’s Avenue. Wriggle has come to my aid in this regard on numerous occasions, and I now regularly enjoy a generous bowl of takeaway overnight oats or homemade granola with berries and all the toppings, as well as a coffee or tea, for £4.95 from East Village Café (saving me £3). If you’re thinking “granola is bird food where are my eggs” their brunch deal is for you – get the sweetcorn waffles with smoky tomato salsa, cashew cream & avo AND a flat white, all for £7.50. These guys have become my local, likewise offering £3.50 (saving £2) lunches of fresh Sourdough and homemade soup, followed by work-break tea and ruddy good cake for £3.95 (another £3 off the original price).
^Beets & Roots’ mega smoothies ^East Village Café’s savoury waffles
Most of the time I pretend to be virtuous, thinking that a lunch of leftovers will be just the thing to brighten up a dismal day of traipsing up and down Woodland Road. Sometimes, though, I find myself thinking, wouldn’t it be wild – just wild! - if I didn’t go down the Tupperware route today? So when the no-Tupper fervor strikes, what is there to do but consult the blue W on my phone? So far, it hasn’t let me down, and I’ve discovered places I know I wouldn’t have without it. The Arts House Café is a magical joint tucked away at the end of a tiny alleyway off Park Street. Hearty, homemade bowls of daily specials fly out from the kitchen, ranging from curries to stews, to soups and pasta dishes, for the reasonable cut-price of £4.95. Further down the hill you’ll find a 12 incher (c’mon guys, pizza) for £5.95 at Pizzarova, any time between 12 and 5pm. A hidden gem a bit closer to uni is Epiphany Café in the RWA Art Gallery by Beacon House. Bethen and Alex serve up oozing cheddar and leek toasties, with any coffee to take away, for an unbeatable £5.50 (saving £2.30). Whilst I’m aware it’s a well-known favourite, Bakesmiths is another top option, brightening many a hungover morning with a jam-packed baguette and a good portion of roasted veg salad for £4.95 (yup, another £2 saved).
^Bakesmiths again… ^Anna’s treats ^East Village’s sweets
Miraculously, these deals go all night long. Date nights, curry nights, mates nights, quiz nights, whatever you’re in the mood for, Wriggle has options to satisfy most cravings. A recent discovery was Bauhinia in Clifton, a family-run Thai joint with real charm. Before 19:30 (we arrived at 25 past…) you can get any specified main course for £6.90 (we went for chicken and King prawn pad thai), a really good deal when you see the portion size. The only downside of this one was that they charge for the sweet chilli and satay you get with your prawn crackers - bit of a cheap shot in my view. If you’re at the pub and get a bit peckish, it’s always worth checking the mighty W: Salt Street at Steam are on there most nights, with any meaty main and fries for £6.50. Drinks are certainly not out of bounds, and when you’ve thrown in the dry January towel, treat yourself to two cocktails at Flipside for £12, or 9 pints (yes, that’s a 5 litre keg) of Zerodegrees beer for £15. Sushi, pizza, steak, smoothies… I could go on for a stupidly long time about how Wriggle has changed the way I eat in Bristol. But, at the risk of lapsing into dull accounts of my food comas, I think I’ll stop there.
I have tried out a pretty embarrassing number of Wriggle’s deals – I think I’ve mentioned under half of them here – but this article was meant to offer a slight alternative to my usual rant about the broth-to-noodle ratio of that bowl of ramen, or the melt-rate of that ice-cream sundae. I actually hope that you will use this app to not only save yourself money, but to support the bounty of talented cooks we have on our doorstep. With a points based rewards system, yes, Wriggle encourages you to eat out more, but when the result is so damn tasty, are you really complaining?
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