A couple of weeks back, me and the wife spent a couple of days in Bath. It was part mini-break, part research and part culinary adventure, as all our trips end up being. A good friend of mine Eddy is from Bath, so had provided me with a list of coffee shops, bars and restaurants that we had to try out and they didn’t disappoint.
We had an amazing time in Bath, its an amazing place choc full of independent places to drink, eat and while away the time. There is also a load of history and tourist attractions and beautiful buildings to visit to give a short break to all the eating and drinking!
We were there for 4 days, but in that time we visited a load of fantastic places, here are some of the highlights and some of the best things we ate and drank:
Same, Same But Different
Same,same is a really funky little cafe/tapas bar (with a cool name!) where we went to for our first meal. I obviously went for the organic burger, a meaty delight simply served with a lettuce leaf, tomato and a great garlic alioli. This reminded me that sometimes you dont need to load up a burger with hundreds of toppings (looking at you 5 Guys!) to have a great burger – as long as the meat and bun are top class. Jen took on a couple of bits of tapas, a delicious Spanish omelette, not runny in the inside like I like, but it was vibrant and delicious, and some deep-fried halloumi.
For a small, independent cafe, this food was surprisingly great, and all down to good produce and a nice small simple menu. It was a great start!
Colonna and Small’s
If you find yourself in Bath and you have even a passing interest in coffee then I urge you to visit this awesome coffee shop. We actually went to this place for lunch, but this place doesn’t do any food apart from a couple of cakes – it is all about the coffee!
It is a truly dedicated coffee destination the like of which I haven’t seen anywhere else. As you can see here they have 3 different coffees on offer and have the tasting notes for espresso and also with milk. We went for 2 flat whites, with different coffees to test, one Kenyan which had flavour notes of Walnut Whip! and a South American coffee which was fruitier. For me the Kenyan won, it was rich, slightly sweet and totally delicious.
Whilst I dont think Guildford or Godalming are quite ready for a coffee shop that is so totally geeky and dedicated to coffee, I did love visiting somewhere that was so stripped back and focused. When you ordered a brewed coffee they even told you how this should be served, which I thought was a great touch!
I have since found out that the owner Maxwell Colonna- Dashwood is a top rated barista and won the 2014 Barista championship (yes such a thing does exist and is kind of a big deal in the coffee world – apparently!). He is also the owner of another great place in bath which we visited twice:
Colonna and Hunter
If the above is all about coffee then this place is all about beer. It had a similar set up, stark, minimal, for some reason I thought it felt like being in a remote part of Scandinavia, with its whitewashed walls, but I really liked it. This place still served coffee and with the same dedication, but it was the beer that really stood out. Again they had a number on offer and had tasting notes:
We popped in for a couple before dinner, and my first half was a delicious American style pale ale from Sweden called Onda Omnipollo. I am a big fan of pale ales from the UK and the US and this one was up there, fruity, light but with a nice strong hoppy taste. For my second I sampled all the rest! and settled on the High Tor by Buxton you can see in the pic – it was the toffee and apple that did it for me! This one was a very different beer, slightly sweet, but with a rich red colour, it was strong and dark – but very pleasant! . I was eyeing up the sausage roll but we had dinner booked so we went back the next day for one and a coffee:
Like the coffee shop, I loved the dedication, whilst this place did offer food, amazing sounding food like Coffee Smoked Beef Brisket (something I need to try to make!) and beans on toast, I again loved the attention to detail and the pure dedication to the product this time being beer! We want to try and make the coffee shop an evening destination too, and rather than pints of warm Stella, I want to try and bring a bit more of this style to Surrey, somewhere you can try something new, understand a little bit about it and take your time – should be fun!
Boston Tea Party
OK nearly there on the coffee shops! We did also visit some great restaurants but I will do a separate post on that as they deserve their own post I think!
Named after the political protest over the Tea Act in 1773 in Boston which sparked the American Revolution (more info) this is another very cool coffee shop in the heart of Bath. We popped in for lunch and were again not dissapointed!
Again focusing on a basic menu and serving great coffee and food, this was an absolute winner. For lunch we both tucked into the enormous toasties, I had the beef pastrami, pickles and dijon mustard one, it was absolutely delicious and did I mention it was massive!?!
Alongside this we took on some deep-fried courgette crisps in a tempura batter that were light, fluffy and tasty as well as another great flat white (we didn’t have a bad cup of coffee the whole time – not sure you can guarantee that anywhere else apart from London!) and ginger beer served in Jam jars (so popular at the moment)
Another great place, this one was a bit more kid friendly, but still retained a nice independent vibe, serving good simple food, lovely coffee in a cool venue – that seemed to be the theme in Bath.
So, some great inspiration and some wonderful food and drink consumed, the great thing about Bath was the range and volume of fab independent coffee shops, restaurants and bars – in this age of generic high streets which all look the same, it was great to be somewhere where you could get something different and it really made the trip.
Lots to think about, and hopefully we can replicate some of the new, exciting and different things we saw in this trip.