Back To The Future, Pulp Fiction and Grease. What do they all have in common? Scenes featuring American diners. And as someone who has a love affair with all things retro, not to mention always trying to worm their way into Shoreditch House (unsuccessfully), you can only imagine my delight when both of these joined up to create an effortlessly elegant staycation break. Meet Mollie’s Motel & Diner.
Our visit tied in with the August bank holiday, and after many hours exploring Bristol, we hopped on the number one bus. From our window, the hotel certainly stood out: three-floored, Scandi-like black wooden buildings fronted by a bold red neon sign. Check-in was through the ‘General Store’, a cool meeting area flaunting shell-like poufs, Danish furniture and refillable hot beverages.
The double room (starting at £70) wasn’t massive, but had more than enough capacity for two and boasted the hallmarks of a swish hotel (probably because it was designed by the same team as Soho House). Think teal walls, velvet mustard armchairs by Conran, natural oak panels, woven cushions and spherical lights giving off a warm glow. Sliding doors maximised the space, plus the power rainforest shower was definitely welcomed following a long stint on our feet. Want more? Then how about a Dyson hairdryer, GHD Platinum straighteners and an array of Cowshed toiletries? Heavenly. Mollie's prides itself on being high-tech too, from a phone-operated TV to the 24/7 chat with reception via an app.
Mollie’s Diner, the in-house restaurant, was a fun, nostalgic pitstop but without the lazy stereotypes. Classy, elegant and so god damn cool. As we sat down on our comfy leather booth, we admired the quirky sloped ceiling, selection of lush green plants, patterned glass separators and chrome fittings, plus the mobile charging pads were very useful indeed. We sat next to the kitchen, my fave spot, so we could watch all the buzz on a very busy evening.
First things first, there was a relaxed vibe going on, with everyone from date nights to families on their summer vacation. As for the menu, we discovered an emphasis on keeping it local, including the selection of beers (even Mollie’s own brew) and ingredients. But we were here for the stars and stripes, so kicked things off with two milkshakes: Oreo and strawberry (£5.50 each). Covered in a mountain of whipped cream, they delivered on all levels, from the shortbread topper on the latter to the former’s unmistakable chocolate taste. Top tip, you can make them boozy with a shot of Bourbon or vodka.
If you're wondering what frickles (£5.50) are? Essentially, they’re pickles in a battered coating, but this kinda underestimates how delicious they are. Served piping hot, the slices were salty-sour, thankfully not too greasy and properly hit the spot, especially dunked in paprika-sprinkled garlic mayo. Try them on your visit and see who wins the fight over the crispy bits at the bottom.
It's mains time, baby. Nothing screams Americana like juicy patties, so my date’s double cheeseburger (£10) was an apt choice. This seriously hench bun fused succulent dry-aged beef with all the trimmings including lettuce and dairy slices. But honestly, if he was being super picky, more dousing of Mollie’s sauce would have been ideal. My multi-layered plant burger (£10) arrived perfectly charred and had chipotle mayonnaise oozing out everywhere, like dripping all over the plate messy. While I wondered why on earth I decided to wear white, the sides landed on our table.
The gooey, crunchy-topped mac 'n' cheese (£4) proved to be a dreamy accompaniment, and although we would have liked them a bit hotter, you can’t go wrong with sweet potato fries (£4). By this point, we were so full that we couldn’t handle dessert, plus a milkshake is pudding in itself, but I closed the evening with a zingy cocktail: Soho House’s classic Picante (£9). A gorgeous, spicy take on the marg, this tipple provided hit after hit of fire (presented with a sliced whole chilli) and a sweet limey finish.
Following a bit of cleaning up (I had relish all over my tablet as I wrote this), we could have chosen to chew the fat further on Mollie's heated terrace, but sleep was calling our name. Once the window shut in our room, we heard nada, not a peep, the soundproofing was that good. Also, if you thought the surrounds were luxe? Once you hit the hay on the king-size bed, you’ll soon blissfully melt into the hand-crafted Hypnos mattresses by Soho Home and premium Egyptian cotton sheets.
Having woken up fresh as a daisy, attention turned to coffee first, then breakfast. Mollie’s ethically sourced house blend, whether a cappuccino or latte (both £3.50 each), was deliciously caffeine-packed. You could make the filter version bottomless too.
My generously portioned, blueberry-dotted waffles (£8.50), smothered in vanilla cream, combined a fluffy base with a nice fruity contrast. Being a conventional millennial, my date made a beeline for avocado on sourdough (£8), with extra smoked salmon (£3). The poached eggs were cooked perfectly, dripping down the bread, plus he couldn’t get enough of the chilli heat. Call us greedy, but after checking out the crisp hash browns (£2) coming out thick and fast from the kitchen, we made an order of the popular side. And we didn’t regret it.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Mollie’s is no frills, but still really fancy. Nick Jones MBE (the founder of Soho House) has reinvented low-cost hotels, proving that you don’t have to compromise on chic. At the risk of being too fangirl, the furniture I was eyeing up as inspo for my flat would set you back one hell of a dime in Crystal Palace’s vintage shops, and it was all pride of place here. Staff throughout were kind, helpful and friendly, and when you factor in that it’s only a 15-minute cab ride to Bristol Parkway train station, it’s well located for a roadside motel.
💰 The damage: Rooms start from just £70, plus £82 for dinner and breakfast.
📍 The location: A4018, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, BS10 7TL.
👌 Perfect for: A jump off for a countryside break in Gloucestershire after visiting Bristol.
⭐ Need to know: Make sure to arrange dinner in advance, it was fully booked on our night.