Visit Bath Tour

Visit Bath Tour

Abbey Hotel Bath

I had the great pleasure of being invited onto the Bath Makers trip hosted by Visit Bath a couple of weeks ago. We moved to Bath a couple of years ago and like anywhere you live after a time it becomes a habit and you don’t notice all the new places popping up around you. Bath is full of amazing independent shops and businesses, it was great to see Bath through new eyes now we have moved to Frome.

Day 1

Our first stop was to meet at the newly furnished Abbey Hotel for coffee where we would be staying for the night too. Abbey Hotel is a boutique luxury hotel in the heart of Bath, the perfect location to visit all the stunning attractions and shopping Bath has to offer. Only a stones throw away from Bath Abbey and The Roman Baths.

Lunchtime was upon us and Acorn Restaurant were our hosts for lunch. Acorn is an award-winning, innovative vegan food restaurant in the heart of Bath. I was very excited to eat here as it had been on my list for a while now to visit. Richard Buckley owner and head chef treated us to a sumptuous taster menu with a flight of wines. All the crockery used are sourced from local artists which I loved. Our first course came out on a local Frome artist plates Jenny Barton ! I absolutely loved our first course, a coffee infused cauliflower core served on a bed of hazelnut polenta. There was just a subtle hint of coffee which you would never imagine working, but Richard makes cauliflower taste pretty special! This was served with a white Riesling. Other delights were donkey carrots roasted in saffron with parsley powder, almonds with truffle oil. How Richard can get so much taste in a powder is a miracle! The interior is modern and light , with secret nooks for a more intimate dinner.

Acorn Restaurant Bath

With our tastebuds tickled and our bellies full it was time to move on too Bath Aqua Glass Centre to try our hand at glass blowing. A traditional glassblowing & stained glass studio located in Bath. Bath Aqua Glass is famous for its Cremation Ashes glass collection. They do workshops, hen parties, and birthday parties. I am going to take my teens to make baubles at Christmas for the tree.

Next stop was a browse around interiors store Graham and Green on Walcot Street, the artisan quarters in Bath. It has been lovingly transformed from a former 20th century bake house, restoring many of its original features to add character to this unique store. I was in interiors heaven browsing sheepskin seat pads, cushions galore, linen bedlinen and Ubiety candles.

Stroll down to Kingsmead Square and the best gelato in Somerset awaits us at Swoon. I have to admit I am a regular here. My favourite being the pistachio. The pistachios are sourced from Bronte in Sicily. All their gelato’s are churned on site! Pop in and sit at the back and you may be lucky enough to see the gelato being made in person.

Swoon Gelato Bath

After filling our boots on gelato we made our way across the road to Grace and Ted. A curated collection of pre-owned designer clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women. I have actually purchased a beautiful Coach bag from here when we first arrived in Bath. A great treasure trove of clothing. I had my eye on a Chanel evening dress …in my dreams!

Grace and Ted Bath

We then wandered onto Le Vignoble an independent wine lounge with over 250 different wines, champagnes and liqueurs from all over the world. I love the idea of wine tasting on tap, with samples from 80p what a great night out and Sommeliers to advise. We were greeted with a tapas platter containing French cheeses, saucisson, cured hams, olives, bread and dip. I had an all cheese platter with a lovely glass of Sancerre.

Le Vignoble Bath

After a rest back at The Abbey Hotel we then make our way to dinner at the newly opened Koffmanns and Mr White’s. Serving a mix of French and English classics. After a day of eating and drinking I was glad to start our meal with a light salad. I am a vegetarian, so my main dish was a mushroom polenta packed full of flavour. After dinner we were guests in the Art Bar. I absolutely love the concept here of a curated gallery of local artist constantly changing , and all available to purchase. The tables have art books and pencils for you to doodle in as well. Such a fun idea! The Art Bar serves bespoke cocktails of which we were treated with a specially made cocktail for our party.

Day 2

Breakfast was served in Koffmanns and Mr Whites. I enjoyed a delicious serving of poached eggs on gluten free bread and free flowing coffee.

Today we were off to VV Rouleaux for a ribbon flower head dress workshop. I am like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to trimmings and buttons and such!  I was totally in my element here. At the back of the shop is an atelier where they hold workshops and make bespoke pieces. We were taught how to make flowers using wired ribbon and then attach to a headband. Very simple but so effective. By the end of the hour we were all channeling our inner Frida Khalo!

VV Rouleaux Bath

Lunch was at Beckford Bottle shop near the Assembly Rooms in Bath. Wow this restaurant is full of surprises. A huge wine shop greets you at one end of the shop, the restaurant at the other. Downstairs is the wine cellar and private dining room as well as a casual lounge are with open fire. As we sat down to our table, the food and wine just kept flowing. As a vegetarian I was not to be disappointed at the choice of plates on our table. Most memorable was the beetroot , balsamic vinegar with goats cheese and the marrow frittes and alioli. The tempur batter was so light and melted in the mouth.

Beckford Bottle Bath

My favourite bookstore in Bath is Toppings and Company. It was a pleasure to meet the staff and be given a tour of the shop all whilst sipping Earl Grey tea, which everyone will be welcomed with . Free tea and coffee and comfy chairs are part of the laid- back atmosphere here at Toppings. They hold regular book talks from local and International  artists, of which I have been to a couple and thoroughly enjoyed. The store itself is a sight to behold, beautiful wooden book shelves jammed packed with books, glass vases filled with fresh flowers await you.

Toppings and Company Bath

Next we visited The Good Day Cafe , and its name did not disappoint. The decor is pink, neon lights,  glass topped tables filled with succulents, modern pink velvet sofas all accessorised with cacti! An absolute Instagrammers dream lol. And the food and drinks was pretty photogenic too. I had a super beetroot latte and a slice of gluten free cake. I’ll definitely will be back here for my pink fix!

Good Day Cafe Bath

Our final independent shop was Chanii B, a designer shoe shop in Milsom Place. Chantal greeted us with her warm smile and champagne. Seriously what can be more fun than shopping for designer shoes and sipping on champagne! Chanii B Shoes and Accessories is a luxury shoe brand based in Bath, designed and created by internationally renowned designer Chantal Pilon.

Bath is such a beautiful city and we only touched the surface of the wonderful independent shops, cafes and restaurants that can be found here. If you are looking for a city break, book your self in for a couple of nights at The Abbey Hotel and start to explore the amazing diverse selection of places that Bath has to offer.

Thank you to Visit Bath for having me .

NB : This trip was gifted

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Nook – The Interview

Nook – The Interview

Nook is an Australian influenced juice and bowl bar selling cold press juices, pokē, smoothies, and broth bowls with a  Japanese, Hawaiian and California twist. Recently opened in Frome, Somerset tucked away in a “nook” on King Street, I for one was very excited to get myself down to Nook to try out their menu. I was missing my pokē bowls.

As you walk down King Street , you will soon be greeted by Nook’s outside bench seating piled with cushions. Nook really does live up to its name. A couple of tables and bar seating is all that can be squeezed into The Nook, but don’t worry as Millie and Jake do take outs and delivery within a 10 minute walk of the shop.

I love the simple modern menu’s framed on the wall. Everything on the menu is made to order which I love as well.

I have tried making smoothie bowls on numerous occasions at home with no luck. So i am so happy I can grab a smoothie bowl in Frome now. This is Nook’s original Acai bowl. The smoothie is banana, acai and blackberries topped with bananas shaved toasted coconut and nuts finished off with a delicate edible flower. Packed with flavour and goodness,  just what I need to start the day with.

The pokē bowls come with your base choice, protein choice and then your dressing, crunch and topping choice! I am partial to the tofu bowls, with noodles, sesame and tahini. No two bowls are the same .

Now winter is here Jake has added daily broth bowls to the menu. Hearty miso soup topped with veggies is my go to broth bowl

And if you just fancy a juice, maybe a coffee and something sweet, you will not be disappointed by Millie’s daily vegan bakes, including brownies, coconut and lime cake, and protein balls to name a few of her baked delights.

The Interview

  • Tell us bit about you, where you come from and background ? 

I was born in Bath and moved to Australia as a toddler. I grew up on the sunny beaches on the Gold Coast in Queensland and moved back to Frome at 19. Ive worked in hospitality for 12 years in hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars both here and in Australia. 

Jake and I met at At the Chapel, Bruton in 2015 when I was working as a Front of House Manager and he was working as a Chef and Baker. 

Jake was born in Salisbury, but grew up near Shaftesbury in a village called West Knoyle. He began his career in Food with Baking but not soon after got into cheffing when he went to work At the Chapel, Bruton.

  • How did your business idea come about ?

It was quite organic. We both knew we were becoming dissatisfied working for other people and wanted to take the leap into working for ourselves, but we were not sure which route to go down. Not soon after we found ourselves sitting on a beach in Byron Bay eating poke bowls and drinking cold press juice and we thought this would go down well in Frome. Fast forward 9 months and we opened our little shop NOOK.

  • Why Frome as a location ?

Frome is a haven for independent businesses and has an assortment of wonderful eateries with varied styles of food and drinks. We identified a gap in the market for a business that could sell cold press juice, , proper smoothies and selection of food for veggies, vegans and gluten free diets. We also felt that a Japanese style cuisine would go down an absolute treat with the foodies of Frome as there was nothing like that in the town.

  • Describe you business ?

We are an Australian influenced juice + bowl bar with further influences from Hawaii, Japan and California. We specialise in healthy, tasty and colourful food and drink products that are complex in flavour but straightforward with health benefits.

  • How did you get started in this business?

Inspired by a trip to Australia we identified products that were hugely popular and successful in Australia. Food and drink that we wanted to eat and drink here but only found in the big cities. So we thought, lets do it! 

  • How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?

Between the two of us we have 20 years experience working in the hospitality industry at a variety of different venues and for different employers. This has been a learning experience in both what to do and what not do in running a business so we have applied our experience and knowledge to open our own business. 

  • Whats steps to you take towards being an environmentally friendly business 

All of our packaging is made from plants and is 100% compostable and biodegradable. For our produce we buy organic, local and seasonal items where possible. We recycle all of our glass, card and plastics from our produce packaging and we try to encourage our deliveries to take the boxes and reuse. We also encourage our customers to bring their own containers and cups to use in place of plant plastics and ask them to bring back the plant plastics for us to reuse for them if possible.

  • Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?

In the next year we plan to do NOOK pop up’s and markets in both Frome and surrounding towns. We also plan to buy a food truck in a years time and have poke bowls on the go! in 5 years time we hope to be running another two NOOK shops in other towns similar to Frome. 

  • I love that the NOOK is a GF and 80% Vegan bar, are either of you GF or/and Vegan. If not did you make a conscious decision to go all GF and primarily vegan ?

Neither Jake nor I follow one specific diet. Our emphasis is to eat as clean, colourful and as plant based as possible without cutting out anything in its entirety.  We did make a conscious decision to be 100% GF as we know so many people who are GF and Celiac who struggle to eat out and have much less choice when eating out. Most of our products were GF to begin with so it only took a few changes in order to have menu that is 100% GF.

As time goes on it becomes more evident that plant based eating is the future. We did not want to be 100% vegan as we did not want to deter people that are not vegan from experiencing our food. Equally we wanted to be a high percentage around 80% of vegan food so that the growing vegan population in Frome have somewhere they can come and have a much wider choice rather than one option on a menu.

 

So what are you waiting for , next time you are in Frome get on down to King Street and enjoy a delicious smoothie bowl or why not design your own pokē bowl, no 2 bowls are ever the same.

You can find Nook at 14 King St, Frome BA11 1BH

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake

 

Being gluten intolerant has its downfall. My love for fresh french bread, almond filled croissants and homemade cakes are something I really cannot indulge in without causing stomach pain and migraines. I really do have to avoid like the plague!  But I love cake, especially with a good cup of coffee mid morning and when out and about. This lemon polenta cake has become a firm favourite in our household and the bonus is it’s gluten free, and tastes delicious!

Please note this cake does contain nut flour and is not suitable for those with a nut allergy.

Ingredients :

For the cake

  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 225g/8oz ground almonds
  • 115g/4oz instant polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 3 lemons zest and juice only
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the glaze

  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar

 

Method