As you might imagine, the life of a letting agent is largely lived outside of the office.
We are constantly exploring the unknown alcoves, little lanes and surprising sights of Bath’s surrounds. Add to this the fact that many of the team here are life-long residents of the area and what do you have? A fountain of knowledge just waiting to be tapped.
So, we thought we’d share some of our most loved places, secret spots and hidden gems of this fair city of ours – beyond the typical tourist drop-off points.
This is our first in a series of Reside 5. In this post we’ll be exploring something close to our hearts and I’m sure yours too…Cafés!
Like Reside, our 5 Cafés are each locally owned and independent, adding to the unique character and identity of Bath. But what’s your favourite spot for a cuppa? Feel free to give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you…
Reside 5: Cafés
We know what you are thinking – why is a chain on your list of ‘independent’ cafés? Well, it turns out Boston Tea Party is a family-run operation founded right here in the West Country. What’s more – all their shops are unique, as furniture and fittings are chosen specifically for each shop based on its location and environment. What’s not to like about that?
Their Bath location is bijou and you’ll rarely find a seat inside. But it’s corner location on Bath Square and ample outdoor seating makes up for this fact.
The hint of what Boston Tea Party does best is in the name, and their loose-leaf tea menu has all your favourites as well as a few for the more adventurous like Yunnan Rose, which compliments cake and all things sweet. Unlike the bigger coffee chains, they also do delicious food that’s either homemade or locally sourced. A breakfast Kedgeree or Eggs Benedict is sure to hit the spot, while we wouldn’t say no to a Pulled-Pork Sandwich or their El Dorado Wrap complete with chorizo, Somerset brie and tomato salsa.
Boston Tea Party have obviously found the key to success, and it warms the heart to see a local business doing so well.
Perched above a shop selling crafts and homeware from around the world is Coral Quay Café, a hidden oasis of calm right in the centre of Bath’s bustling shopping district.
Though it can get busy on Saturdays around lunchtime, this café might just be your salvation after a day spent among the crowds below.
It was the owner’s dream to run her own café and it shows in the menu. Specialising in gluten-free food, all her cakes were chosen by her customers through a tea-party tasting test. Couple it with a hot cocoa such as Maharaja’s Tea Leaf Treat or a World Kitchen toastie or salad like the Jamacian Rumba with reggae reggae jerk chicken and pineapple and you’re good to go!
This bagel shop just moved into a bigger location 6 months ago, prompted by the queues that used to form out the door of their previous premises. They’ve now got inside seating and a courtyard, all done-up with black and white chequered tiles and bright orange chairs.
“Bath’s first (and only) bagel shop” really does lunch well. Choose your bagel (we like cheese and jalapeño or sundried tomato and olive), add your fillings, and enjoy!
But beyond the bagel, they’ve also got salads, soup and some tempting New York-style milkshakes. This is a café that’s doing it right.
Roscoff’s Sicilian owner has been making her own blend of coffee since 1983, so it’s no wonder that this café has a drinks menu larger than what you’ll find at any Starbucks or Costa.
You’d also be hard-pressed to find a more ethical brew around. They’ve been working with small cooperatives and abiding by the rules of ‘fair trade’ before it was even a known concept.
But more than just good coffee, Roscoff also has impressive black and green tea menus. We are enticed to try Kenya Tinderet for its ‘fine flavour, bright colour and excellent blend with milk’ while China Dragon Well also sounds like a fine pick-me-up.
And if it’s Italian food you’re after, you couldn’t do better than their homemade lasagne, prosciutto and mozzarella panini, or a simple plate of bread and olives. Roscoff is definitely worth a visit!
Jacobs Coffee House has officially debunked the long-held belief that any place near a tourist destination will be overpriced and mediocre. In fact, it’s the opposite. The staff are friendly. Many proclaim its got ‘the best coffee in Bath’. Plus they serve the flakiest homemade pastries we’ve ever had.
Alongside café staples, they’ve also got proper pies courtesy of Pieminister (founded in nearby Bristol). Not overlooking the fact that tea is a necessary accompaniment, they also offer over 20 loose leaf teas.
And of course, their location is to die for. Smack dab in the middle of tourist central, the café sits between Bath Abbey and the Pump Rooms, in the courtyard with the Roman columns (yes, you know the one). Not only does this make it the perfect place for people watching – but also affords the opportunity to truly admire our ‘Heritage City’ whilst a chocolate muffin slowly melts in the mouth.
Just one word of caution, watch out for the pigeons!
So that’s it for our first Reside 5.