Life on the run: 12 top grab-and-go meals

You’re hungry – but there are things to do and places go. Well, in the wise words of that timeless (right?) 5ive track: don’t stop movin’, keep on rockin. They were always talking about grab and go meals, of course – and here are some local belters…

The Athenian (Bristol)

Souvlaki is one of the most popular foods to eat on the go in Greece, and thanks to the guys at The Athenian, it’s surely now up there with Bristolians’ faves, too. These wraps involve handmade pitta (imported ’specially from Athens) packed with marinated meats, salads and chips. The best seller right now is the chicken and halloumi number, but the hot-off-the-press new menu promises another surefire hit: vegan gyros. These come filled with shavings of organic seitan and feature vegan mayo, and we’re more than a little intrigued by ’em. 

Eatchu (Bristol)

Tucked just inside St Nick’s Market in Bristol, this restaurant serves up Japanese street food in the form of gyoza. These little handmade dumplings are perfect for loading into your gob on the run, but they’re so good you’ll want to slow down to properly savour them. You get six gyozas in a portion and can choose your filling – free range pork and garlic chive, or mushroom and leek, perhaps – and add as many toppings and sauces as you dare. 

Friska (Bristol)

This family of ethically focused cafés has sites across Bristol and serves food all day, so it’s super easy to drop in and pick up some proper sustenance. Fresh, colourful lunches include the likes of chicken and chorizo gumbo, Lebanese meatballs, and roast butternut and black bean dopiaza, as well as burritos and pho noodles. The Park Street café has a new brunch menu for weekends too, involving the likes of eggs Benedict with toppings such as smoked salmon, outdoor reared ham, or mushroom, tomato and spinach.

Gopal’s Curry Shack (Bristol)

Based at Wapping Wharf but with a travelling kitchen that pops up at all kinds of markets and events, Gopal’s is all about meat-free Indian street food. The signature Buddha Box, for instance, is packed with red lentil and channa daal, basmati rice, crispy spiced chickpeas, ’slaw with mango and lime dressing, sweet potato crisps and pickles, while the Mumbai toastie sees masala spiced potato, mint and coriander chutney, onion, pepper, tomato, vegan cheese and garlic and chilli chutney sandwiched in Hobbs House bread and grilled. That should fuel you up for the afternoon. 

Mission Burrito (Bath and Bristol)

Need something quick but super filling? The team at Mission Burrito will be able to hook you up. Meats (beef, pork and chicken) are sourced from a local butchers and come cosied up with rice, beans, salad and salsa, as well as a few optional extras. There are often specials on the go as well, like the black bean and butternut squash chipotle chilli number – which happens to be vegan and gluten free, as well as smoky and delicious – and the cochinita, starring achiote paste, orange juice and lime-marinated pork shoulder. 

Oowee Diner (Bristol)

It all kicked off when these guys opened their first takeout diner on Picton Street; it wasn’t long before word spread of their beastly burgers, and the queues got out of control. Now with its second site on North Street taking some of the weight, it’s much easier to get your hands on one of their monstrous creations. The Dirty Double, with two patties, American cheese, signature dirty sauce and fried onions is a great shout, as is the Saucy Bird, with buttermilk fried thigh, American and Swiss cheeses, and baconnaise. Don’t attempt eating these literally on the run, mind – you’ll get yourself into a right mess.

Phat Yaks (Bath)

This Kingsmead Square café is from the team behind Yak Yeti Yak, and cooks up a menu of fresh, colourful Nepalese-inspired food. The build-your-own wraps are great one-handed lunches, and the pakora-filled versions go down a storm, with their crisp fritter filling rolled up in a soft wrap and topped with homemade sauces. The ‘curry in a hurry’ is becoming a winning pick, an’ all; choose from chicken or vegetable curry, and it’ll come with rice, daal, salad and chutney or raita. Even better: takeaway packaging is made from paper or bamboo, and the cutlery is compostable too. 

The Pickled Brisket (Bristol)

The stuff these guys are knocking up is surely as Bristolan as salt beef can get – and a proper labour of love it is, too. The meat is cured for a fortnight, before being slow-cooked for, well, ages. It’s served in locally baked bread with mustard made by Bristol’s Ginger Beard preserves, and gherkins. Go classic, or off-piste with one of the alternative creations, like the Bull Horn, also involving sauerkraut, pickled red cabbage and West Country Cheddar. (And what’s this? They’re now selling those fermented ’krauts and pickles to take home? It’s true: buy them from the Cargo diner.)

Pieminister (Bristol)

Everything on the menu here – which includes vegan and gluten-free options – is available to eat on the go. With all that choice, what to order? We say go the whole hog with the Mothership. That’s a pie with mash, gravy, minty mushy peas, cheese and crispy shallots (and yes, all that can come in vegan-friendly form, thanks to the new vegan pie, Kevin, and plant-based cheese). And if you can eat that quick enough, order one of the new ice creams for pud, which come in pie-crust-style cones. Just don’t let it melt while you’re busy with that pastry… 

Squeezed (Bristol)

The creation of long-time Bristol food pro Alex Hayes, this shipping container joint celebrated its first birthday this summer. Its offerings range from the well-known, locally inspired St Werburger (with confit shallots and a smoked bacon aioli) to the Reverse Cowgirl, featuring peanut chipotle barbecue sauce and charred scallion sour cream. There are hand-cut, skin-on fries too, and homemade lemonades; try the orange and thyme, or perhaps the watermelon and rosemary. 

Tuk Tuck (Bristol)

This tiny little Asian restaurant is a go-to for not only low-key, great value meals to eat in, but also for grabbing some sustenance to eat on the run – from Korean-style sushi to Thai red curry and ramen. The Korean bibimbap rice bowls are particular faves, and come packed with crunchy veg. Everything on offer is takeaway-friendly (coming in robust containers with gochujang and soy sauces in separate pots), making this a great place for a fresh, nutritious feed on the go. 

The Whole Bagel (Bath)

Just off the main drag in central Bath, this little bagel shop and café is ideal if you’re on a lunch break or need some speedy sustenance as you dart around the city. Fresh bagels, baked on site, come in seven flavours, ranging from sundried tomato and olive to multi-seed and cinnamon and raisin, and as your order is freshly prepared in front of you, you can have it exactly how you want it. The Wholey Cheese is a great all-rounder, with Swiss cheese, tomato chutney, mayo and leaves, and the New Yorker, featuring pastrami, red onion, tomato, mustard, and dill pickles is another solid choice. 

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WokyKo (Bristol)

You can grab and go not only at Woky Ko: Cargo, but also the cool new Woky Ko: Kauto on Queens Road, don’t you know? Almost everything on the menu of contemporary Asian snacks and meals is available to take out, served in boxes. The baos are super transportable little fistfuls of joy, with fillings like ox cheek with daikon and bulgogi, and aubergine and kimchi served in the pillowy-soft steamed buns. There are also noodle salads, rice-based dishes and curries being knocked up between the two sites, if you need something that bit more substantial. Bit better than a soggy take out sarnie, right?

Image from The Athenian