City breaks are just f*cking great aren’t they?
Not a million miles away but just far enough, a chance to abandon routine and walk around aimlessly with a weird creepy smile on your face, but mostly it’s a chance to just say f*ck it and eat whatever the hell you want and know you can justify it with, ‘I was away from home and feeling vulnerable mmmk.’
For some people, visiting somewhere new is all about the history and the architecture.
But for me, it’s mostly about feeling my way around the place with my taste buds. The Romans are judging me but it’s fine, I have a Roman nose so we’re cool.
I wanted to wallow in the hot, mineral babbling spring waters, I really did. But at the same time, I didn’t want to cough up £40 each for the pleasure so we bathed in seven types of pizza dough and cannolo instead.
With its stone Georgian crescents and rolling countryside, Bath is somewhere the Jane Austen in me has always wanted to go.
We stayed in the Bath Priory Hotel & Spa, a fifteen-minute walk from the centre and nestled within four acres of award-winning gardens.
In the morning I would crack open the window like the annoying morning’s here, sunshine is here singing guy from Friends. I don’t know how I have managed to keep a boyfriend, either.
A man was even walking his Labrador around the garden at one point and for a second I was convinced they were filming the new Downton Abbey dog down there.
There’s a wood burner in the drawing room, ornate portraits hanging on the walls, a decadent pouffe that looks like it might come alive and start barking the second you put your feet up on it, Beauty and The Beast style.
It felt like home straight away and without sounding too much like Nigella Lawson, the way the light floods into the drawing room is just delicious.
The staff were lovely and so attentive, carrying our luggage from the car – lol we were only staying two nights.
In my defence, it was a small cabin suitcase and I did pack my gym stuff despite knowing I had no intention of changing out of the robe unless it was in the name of carbs.
The spa facilities were nice but a bit on the small side – which actually worked out for me in the end because I kept telling myself I did 40 lengths in the pool and thus earned the right of passage to 10,000 calories, but it was more like 20 lengths.
Also, another gripe. No one ever warned me about the overzealous granddad on the foam noodle in the pool, kicking around like a newborn foal for 45 minutes. I could have done without him.
The sign on the wall said swim at your own risk and that old man rotating his legs around and pounding the water in a seated bicycle position is the closest thing to drowning without actually drowning I’ve ever seen.
I think I read the same sentence of my book about 158 times. Zen who?
So yeah, spa – nice but it could potentially get very busy in the peak visiting months however, the good thing is that granddad probably won’t be there when you go so, you win some you lose some.
The Garden Spa attached to the hotel is the first and only spa by French brand L’Occitane in the UK. I had the signature verbena massage which was lovely – though my tender quad loins would argue otherwise.
Is your appetite for bath, sufficiently whetted? Right then. Let’s discuss the food.
While I’m all for mooching around and tripping over places, I think it’s fair to say it’s quite rare to ‘stumble’ upon great food.
Planning where to eat, then, is my job whenever we go away somewhere and I think Instagram is such a great place to research.
Most of the places I’m about to mention are all as a result of searching hashtags and looking on accounts dedicated to eating out in Bath. When I see something I like, I click the save tab and add it to a collection so I have a database of all the places I want to go in one place. Easy.
I’d also recommend looking at Carrie’s guide to Bath (here) for food, shopping and generally TRES Instagrammable hot spots.
As the name suggests, this is a pizza joint. But it’s no ordinary pizza joint. This one boasts seven types of dough, all with a healthier spin on the traditional base. If ever there were a time to shout Monica’s sexual SEVEN, it’s now.
There’s everything from classic multigrain to some trendsetters in the way of turmeric and seaweed. I went for the turmeric – gently warming aromatic flavour with notes of ginger and orange – and grano arso, which translates as burnt grain. So it’s kind of smoky and familiar to the burnt edges of pizza.
If like me you’re thinking, yuck if there’s one place turmeric shouldn’t be, it’s in a pizza – world, hold on, ‘cos the taste is really subtle and yummy.
Also, turmeric is known for its detoxifying qualities… ahem. And I can definitely vouch for that. The less said about that, the better.
PS make sure you book a table – we, like fools, didn’t think we’d have to, it being a cold Friday night in February but it was Sean Paul busy. Thanks to the lavvvly staff for squeezing us in . We waited half an hour for a table but it was worth it.
*Soz to all the couples around us who definitely felt the presence of two hungry Brightonians, ready to pounce on their table before they could even brush the crumbs off their lap*
Beyond The Kale
I’m not veggie/vegan but I do love trying the food, maybe in the hope that one day I’ll give veganism a go but until then, I can’t turn my back on cheese. It needs me.
This place is easily missed as it’s tucked away inside the artisan market. It’s the only 100% vegan place in Bath, appaz and I think it’s best rated for its brunch options, though we had lunch.
After ordering a mixed salad with a quiche tart, I noticed that many people were ordering the falafel burger. Hello food envy my old friend! Clearly the locals were onto something.
But the tart sufficed. The salad wasn’t the nicest I’ve ever had but then again, I wouldn’t say I’m a salad connoisseur so, probs don’t quote me on that one.
Joe had the falafel wrap and though it was kinda falling apart Bonnie Tyler eclipse of the heart style, he said it tasted really nice.
We tried to get in at Sotto Sotto and failed miserably, so if you fancy trying that restaurant then book well in advance (months if possible).
Our second option was this new five star Italian. I had the deep fried cod to start and it was like the most delicate duo of fish fingers I’d ever had. We both went for steak for our mains, not something I’d normally go for in an Italian but I’d had pasta a few nights before.
It came served with vegetables but I really needed something beige so…
‘Maybe just chips to share so you have room for some er, er (Italian hesitance sounds so much better than English) dessert’ the waiter suggested.
Please Antonio, do step aside.
We did in fact share a bowl of chips but I definitely could have eaten a whole bowl to myself and the steak, though nice was ribeye – not my favourite cut and in the nicest possible way, I’ve had better from Co-Op.
What they lacked in their steak they made up for in their dessert, though. I went for the deconstructed Sicilian cannolo waffle (not the same as our waffle) with ricotta ice-cream.
It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
So to sum up:
Starter – amazing
Main – not so great
Dessert – incredible
The pasta and the lamb looked delicious so I think on this occasion, because I was craving steak so bad, it just came down to a poor decision. If they changed the cut to fillet it would be great, but for a new restaurant – I’ll let it slide.
De Gustibus? I need a shuttle bus to get my gut home. Ciao.
Hunter & Sons
A very bougie little brunch setup – think plants, Cereal mag, exposed brick walls. It looked the part, but did it taste the part?
*Narrator: yes, yes it did*
We both rounded off our already carby af trip to Bath in the only way we knew how, with a full English and a rounded belly to boot.
If you like your full English posh and with a clean spoon, this is a good match for you.
This has taken over the much-loved Foodie Bugle (I know lots of people will be sad about that news, but I’m here with a silver lining in the way of gooey cookies).
When I walked in, the smell of baking and that old pantry nostalgia hit my nose and reminded me of my grandma and it just felt like the perfect place to come in from the rain and huddle round a latte for a while.
The staff are absolutely lovely in there, too. S/o to the young lady (ha, what person under 65 uses that description, please?) who I spoke to about my camera – you are a doll.
Treat yourself to a ginger and treacle cookie or a salted caramel brownie – it’s what my grandma would want. And also what Jane Austen would want.
As our Jane would say, “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do”
Alas, let food rain down and define me. Love you bye.