Tag Archives: pub

Hare & Hounds, Bath

It’s fair to say life’s been busy of late. Following our return home from South America we quickly became whirlygigs of activity – reunions, weddings, hen dos, weddings, family holidays, weddings – followed by the inevitable return to the real world (and all of the CV-writing, interviewing and house hunting that goes with it).

While this has, for the main part, been great fun, it was with some anticipation that I looked towards this weekend. A weekend of nothing. No plans, no responsibilities, no need for alarms, or airports, or even to dress myself properly if I so chose. Having relied heavily on the Egg Poacher to make sure life at home continued in roughly the right direction while I got to grips with a new job and utterly new pace to life, it seemed only fair that he be treated to the same sensation, which meant one thing: a long and lazy brunch, made by an expert, brought to us by someone else, preferably in a fine setting with enough time to enjoy at least two coffees and the entire newspaper.

While Bristol has no shortages of breakfast options, we chose to venture out of the city to try somewhere new. A short search on the most middle class breakfast terms we could think of brought us to the Hare & Hounds, a country-style restaurant that sits on the top of one of Bath’s steepest hills. Despite my initial horror at the prospect of rising early, it proved the perfect plan – making it for just after nine, we had the pick of the tables by the huge windows that framed the stunning views down to the red-tiled villages down below. The restaurant was made up of wooden pews and slate floors, earthy Farrow & Ball walls and agricultural paintings that make bulls look like Victorian bodybuilders; all muscle, hair and inquisitively raised brow. Though refined it didn’t over-do the polish, and made a refreshing change from the stark steel and wood that’s so ubiquitously Bristol hipster (the only unfortunate nod to fashion being the list of prices shown as fractions, rather than real money).

The menu gets to the point, with the usual classics alongside the equally important coffee list. Though it doesn’t trumpet it’s sources like restaurants of a similar style, it was clear from the off that the ingredients were well-considered and excellent quality. This being an important brunch we didn’t mess about, both ordering the Full English which were freshly made in the open kitchen at the back and served by a friendly waitress who also made good lattes and didn’t blink an eye as I quietly sobbed in the corner with pure joy.

Two hours later we finally disentangled ourselves from Guardian supplements, coffee cups and cutlery, and wended our slow way back home, the prospect of a nap our only solid plan. But it’s fair to say we’ll be back and, with views like these and some really reasonable prices, we won’t have to wait for another special occasion to do so.

Price: from £2.25 (two slices of toast) to £8 (Full English).

IMG_0705[1]

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Locals

The Swan at Wedmore, Somerset

IMG_2070[1]Nothing quite screams ‘bank holiday weekend’ than a leisurely Sunday roast, followed by a nap on a giant double bed in one of Somerset’s multitude pub with rooms. The Swan does all of these things will aplomb: the young staff deliver great plates of roast beef, fresh gnocchi and delicate crab washed down with local lagers or a multitude of wines by the glass, while upstairs the rooms are cool and inviting, with woolen throws and tartan armchairs adding a touch of texture to otherwise neutral Farrow & Ball tones. Ours had a small balcony overlooking the main strip of yellow stone buildings, the nearby church chiming on the hour to complete the Archer’s feel; better still, a claw-foot bath and a host of Bramley products meant an afternoon bubble bath in the sunshine (pint included for good effect).

And of course, one of the best bits about an overnight stay is the fact that breakfast comes with it. Like their dinner menu, the focus is on local fare – the bread comes from a bakery a short stroll from the door, and bacon is home-smoked; elsewhere suppliers are listed on the chalkboards around the bar. The menu is simple and traditional, and offers plenty for those less egg-averse than me (my bacon and mushrooms on toast looked somewhat lacking without the mound of scrambled egg). Nonetheless, with ingredients this good the flavours win the day, and, importantly, the coffee is just as well-sourced and made with equal care.

There’s plenty to love here, and lucky locals flock (expect a troupe of chinos and well-polished sprogs mussing their Sunday Best in the garden out the back). For those less close, it’s worth the journey – come armed with the papers and your PJs and you’ll be in for a weekend treat.

Price: from £3 (toast & jam) to £11 (The Swan Full English) B&B from £85.

IMG_2074[1]

Leave a comment

Filed under B&B

Horse & Groom, Bourton-on-the Hill, Wiltshire

The Greenstocks have pulled off the nigh-on impossible, running a pub with rooms that keeps locals and tourists happy in equal measure. The Horse & Groom sits atop Bourton’s eponymous hill, overlooking some fine Cotswold golden stone buildings and the verdant fields beyond. In such rural surroundings, you can expect the country set – chaps come in a rainbows’ array of chinos and ladies are immaculately presented, but we scruffy Bristolians were made to feel equally welcome by brothers Tom and Will. After a fabulous dinner we retired to our room with a giant bed and a bath deep enough to disappear in, somehow still salivating at the thought of more food to come. The breakfast menu is left in your room the night before, and it’s a well-chosen list of traditional fare: muselis and cereals, followed by organic bacon and eggs or fresh fish, cafetieres of coffee or lashings of tea. We were up early (goodness knows why) and ate to the sultry sounds of the hoover, but the food was well seasoned, freshly made and generously portioned. Much of what they cook comes from their own veg patch and kitchen garden, and the chefs look mighty pleased to be here.

Price: double rooms from £120 per night (including breakfast).

Leave a comment

Filed under B&B

The Gallimaufry, Gloucester Road, Bristol

Gloucester Road is as famous in Bristol as the ss Great Britain, Brunel’s bridge and Massive Attack. A pantheon of the independent shop, it gamely fights on against the slow creep of the high street, branding coffee chains “Imposta” and playing host to the heady aftermath of the Tesco rights last summer.  Faces change and venues move on, but when we’re lucky new ventures arrive with something exciting to offer. Such is the case for The Gallimaufry, another recent foray into the world of relaxed, fine dining and long weekend breakfasts.

The Gallimaufry lived up to it’s name (noun: A confused jumble or medley of things) by taking over from The Prom, a fairly dilapidated and uninspiring pub, filling it with hand-made curios, clown-based art, a mismatch of furniture and a shiny bar with European beers on tap. You can sit outside on pilfered pews – the charming staff will come to you and take your order from a short brunch menu. It’s all good value, with most meals under £6, though the hungriest amongst us might feel a little short changed when their eggs come on one slice, not two. We had a guest to impress, and luckily he was: his Eggs Benedict came with flaked ham hock and were expertly seasoned. (Declared sufficiently delicious enough to mark his recent doctorate, he was thus forever christened Dr Pepper for the purposes of this blog.) My bacon sandwich was, well, a bacon sandwich – so if you’re egg-averse like me you may find the menu lacking. However, the breads are freshly made and the coffee is decent, and the adventurous amongst us can delve into plates of devilled kidneys on toast or black pudding, broad bean and poached egg salad. Feeling flush, we also investigated this place for dinner a few days later and were equally pleased with the result – freshly baked mini loaves with cold salted butted were a nice touch. This should be a bustling place to breakfast soon; a welcome addition to the Gloucester Road contingent.

Price: From £4.50 (Eggs Benedict).

Image

1 Comment

Filed under Locals

The Lounge, North Street, Bristol

Breakfast in Bedminster

There’s always a buzz in this particular Lounge, sibling of the 5 others that are dotted around Bristol (a further 13 are spread across the country). Bedmo locals and Bristol City fans flock, as do thick-rimmed and skinny-jeaned fashionistas with haircuts like upended seagulls. The staff are rushed at the weekends but generally friendly, and a busy kitchen sends out breakfast classics (full English, bacon, French toast and maple syrup, sausage baps) which are consistently good and served all day. Like all Lounges, it is family friendly and wooden tables are close together – so don’t go if you’re looking for peace. But the coffee is good, there are British and European beers on tap and a small sun terrace out back. Good value and big portions.

Price: From £3 (bacon butty) to £6.75 (full English).

Leave a comment

Filed under Locals