For me, brunch is all about slowing the pace right down, enjoying spending time with my husband, and pressing the pause button on life – whilst more importantly eating my own body weight in hollandaise. When I was invited to pop along to Rupert Taylor’s new brunch offering at Allium restaurant, with Mr Taste Of, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.
Bath is bit of an assault course of the senses at the best of times, but especially at the weekend – don’t get me wrong, a plate of orgasmic food at Hunter and Sons, a civilised table at the Ivy or scrum to get a table at Boston Tea Party (amid large groups of hungover hens and table hogs) is totally the norm! But my issue is that brunch becomes a bit of a sensory overload and kitchens are under pressure and unable to nail the brief.
So imagine my surprise, entering the Allium restaurant to find a civilised murmur of tables full of people all after one thing – great food and great service in a relaxed environment.
I think I had lost sight of what brunch is about – taking my time and enjoying my space – whilst eating my own body weight in hollandaise.
So, what’s on offer?
Every Sunday between 11-3pm you can rock up at the Allium… be guided to your seat by a helpful and polite waiter… relax, breathe and wear stretchy trousers.
Now come prepared people, there are a couple of tables laden with goodies – little mini pastries and croissants, Rupert’s homemade muesli, fruits and fresh yoghurt, a collection of juices and a comprehensive continental selection – cheeses, charcuterie and smoked salmon which is to die for.
Let’s talk French toast – this is decadence at its finest… having already scoffed a couple of mini pain au chocolat, couple of rounds of smoked salmon, cheese and cured meats!
So I got lost, yes French toast = decadence.
Rupert’s idea of French toast with caramelised banana, maple syrup and – drum roll – peanut butter! Man alive… it was divine!
Now I take reviewing seriously, as seriously as Mr Taste Of takes Sous Reviewer, he was waxing lyrical about the light fluffy pancakes, berry compote and Greek yoghurt.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, we then approached the a la carte menu.
The a la carte menu is the who’s who of the brunch menu – avo on sourdough, eggs Benedict, full English, some fab veggie and vegan options! You begin to wish you had refrained a bit on the buffet area!
Being traditionalists, unlike the table next door who ordered the Huevos Rancheros and Kedgeree, we ordered a full English and eggs Benedict with the oaky smoked salmon! Served with a glass of sparkles (true opulent style, that’s me) we tucked in.
The salmon and hollandaise were the stars for me, executed to perfection and the salmon the star of the show.
Eggs were of good quality, the muffin a little dense, but these criticisms are probably due to the volume previously eaten! Plus I am a total egg snob, I only buy New McDonald Farm Eggs (near Box) through the local grocery delivery service – Three Bags Full.
My sous reviewer meanwhile was waxing lyrical about his breakfast – the sausage, bacon and black pudding all from Bartlett and Sons on Green Street, perfectly cooked!
The portion size was perfect, not stingy, but also not offensively large and gluttony-inducing.
A bustling brunch room, with lots of different tables at different points in their culinary adventures, the staff are attentive, plying all with Bloody Marys (there is a Bloody Mary bar don’t you know!) unlimited coffee and trays of prosecco being dispensed to all who those who opted for the more decadent option!
Sadly, I didn’t get to catch up with Rupert post-service, success in the kitchen breeds customers, so I didn’t get to have a natter but he sent me a list of his locally sourced suppliers – the who’s who of Bath’s wholesalers – Richard Bertinet for bread, a Warminster Farmer on speed dial for meats and breakfast goodies, plus the veggies are grown in Somerset.
Could he go one stage further with local fruit juices, local butters, local flour, local sparkling wine, local coffee… yes.
However, understanding balance between localism and accessible pricing, this brunch has achieved it. £20 for all-you-can-eat brunch, hello!
Now, let’s talk about the after-party.
Feeling very much happy, full and at home, unlike our normal central Bath brunch experience…
You know the feeling – suddenly feel a bit overwhelmed, over-full and ‘good god get me out of here’ vibe!
We felt like we were on holiday, a quiet haven to tranquillity and fabulous service. So, we retired to the lounge… where the fabulous team bought us a fresh pot of coffee, a paper and left us in peace.
My final thoughts?
I want to go back…
I am totally over stressful and over-stimulating brunch spots!
I want to go back to Allium, book in with my best chums – enjoy being waited on hand and foot – feel rested, peaceful and well looked after. Eat some good nosh and read a paper.
Taste of Bath is about discovering Bath’s best kept secrets and I’m sharing this one with you! You deserve it.
Brunch is just £19.95
£39.95 for BOTTOMLESS Prosecco
Allium are offering Taste of Bath readers/ followers 10% off Brunch.