The city of Bath is home to the Roman Baths, beautiful Georgian terraces and ‘original’ Victoria tea rooms with the primary purpose of ripping off tourists. What it’s not renowned for is gastronomy. There are a fair few chain restaurants (Bills being the latest to land in town – good for breakfast though) and a couple of small independent gems that I will reluctantly share with you (Same Same But Different, good for coffee in the day and tapas in the evening) but not the roll-call of vibrant eateries you’d perhaps expect in a city as, well, smug, as Bath.
The most recent Bath restaurant I’ve been to was however, a great evening out. Amazing food, fab location and based on a fun idea. Sam’s Kitchen is known to well-placed locals as the fantastic deli on Walcot Street, good for daily joints of meat, fresh salads and an ever-changing menu. From May – August the small deli super-sized itself, as a pop-up restaurant in The Octagon – a one-time chapel with great acoustics and an expanse of floor space. The pop-up kept to the true idea of term – it did look as if they had literally found a few mismatched tables and chairs and arranged them in the space, punctuated with a piano and band area on one side, a makeshift bar and waiting area, and the open kitchen.
The staff were all lovely, typical of the Sam’s Kitchen deli crowd – a bit of banter, chatty, friendly, ready to top up my Prosecco at a moment’s notice (big tick). We were told that the menu sometimes changed twice a day, depending on the fresh ingredients in the kitchen, and you could believe it. Musical Dad enjoyed veal brisket, Fashionable Mother had plaice, and Little Sis and I had a simple pasta dish with in-season asparagus topped with gorgeous ricotta and pine nuts.
Live music was a nice touch in such a large space, especially one that could be a bit echo-y and reminiscent of a school canteen in between songs. The singer on our visiting night was also the pianist – lovely voice.
Our waitress told us they were hoping the pop-up could stay in the Octogon for a few more months, and I hope they get the permission – Bath food needs a bit of buzz, and Sam’s Kitchen delivered exactly the right tonic.