Food Writer Ailsa Renk visits Rio, Selly’s new foodie hot spot and tells us all about what you can expect to find there

Written by Ailsa Renk
Images by Ailsa Renk

I have seen it suggested that Café 55 is the new Selly Sausage on our well-loved Bristol Road. I would, however, like to argue this claim and suggest instead, that Rio takes the crown of the ultimate chilled hangout, hangover-cure and meeting destination. Yet Rio goes beyond greasy fry ups, offering exotic and diverse omelette options, fancy sandwiches and toasties, warming soup, refreshing smoothies and beautiful coffee.

Having been and returned to Rio on so many occasions, especially for drama meetings and discussions (and gossips over a mug of coffee), I can vouch for the deliciousness of much of the menu. The toasted sandwiches are filled to the brim with my favourite being the spicy veg and cheese, though I know from tasting others that the brie and cranberry makes for an indulgent treat. In both cases, and many other toasties, the cheese genuinely oozes out the sides due to sheer naughty quantity!

The burritos too are rather yummy, though perhaps not so cheesy as the Go Central ones! They are however, like the sandwiches, served with a side of crisps and Rio’s secret spicy dipping sauce, if for no other reason, pay Rio a visit just for this – it’s absolutely delicious.

Rio is also the perfect destination for a spot of afternoon tea and cake. It as a wide range of tray-bakes, cakes and other sweet treats on offer. These can be accompanied with a delicious, beautifully crafted coffee or tea of many a flavour.

Rio is also attractive in its décor and atmosphere, with chilled music, delicate incense and natural looking materials, it’s an easy place to snuggle up and power through a few hours work. With prices being so reasonable, as in actually appropriate to a student budget, topping up with coffee needn’t be a guilty experience!

I would perhaps retract my claim that Rio has replaced Selly Sausage; in fact, it’s more a classy place you might take your parents when they come to visit. Admittedly, I can see little reason for the name ‘Rio’ from the menu or décor, but I also wouldn’t complain about either… actually I would place both as my reasons for this recommendation!