I just returned from a really lovely anniversary weekend in Bath. For our 6th (6th!!!) wedding anniversary we decided to go somewhere new that neither of us has been – somewhere that is romantic but not too far to travel to. Bath ticked both boxes, so on a Friday afternoon we headed south to spend a couple days relaxing and eating to our heart’s content. I have decided to first list things to do in Bath, and then do the restaurant reviews. I’m also planning to do a separate review of the hotel we stayed in – so be sure to keep an eye out for it in a couple days.
Things to do
My favourite thing to do anywhere is to simply walk around for an entire day or afternoon, meandering and not really having a plan but just taking everything in. Bath is perfect for this. The architecture is stunning, and there are so many little adorable, hidden alleyways that reveal cute shops, restaurants and courtyards. It’s worth walking up to see the Circus as well as the Royal Crescent. There are also several really nice parks in and around the city – including the park near the river which looks like the perfect spot to soak up some sunshine on a warm afternoon.
Thermae Spa opened in 2010 to offer the public a chance to sample the natural, warm mineral waters that bubble up from beneath the ground. We went early on a Saturday morning and didn’t have to queue to get in (they don’t take reservations), and boy am I glad we did; when we finally left, the queue was wrapped around the building. The spa itself was quite busy as expected, but the rooftop pool was incredible and I didn’t even care about the people once I was in. It comes out at a perfect 33c, and the minerals make the water incredibly buoyant – it’s really quite remarkable. Andrew and I spent almost our entire allotted time in there. It’s also worth visiting the other indoor pool – it’s less crowded and the currents are really fun as they push you around the pool.
If you go during the week the cost is £27 per person for 2 hours, or £37 at the weekends.
We hit the Roman Baths early on Sunday morning because again, later in the day you will be waiting in a queue. It takes about 2 hours to get through the museum, and it is really well done. It’s so cool to learn about the history of the Roman baths and then be able to get up close to them and imagine what it must have been like in its full splendour all those centuries ago.
The cost per person is £15.
The Bath Abbey is beautiful, and has a lovely feeling inside. The high vaulted ceilings are impressive, and the stained glass windows are beautiful and cast a lovely glow in the building. It doesn’t cost anything to visit, but they recommend a donation of £2.50 per person.
Now on to the good stuff! I was really impressed by just how vegan friendly Bath was. There were a couple places we planned to visit before arriving, and a couple we just happened to stumble upon.
Yak Yeti Yak
Our first night in Bath we visited Yak Yeti Yak which is a Nepalese restaurant in the town centre. I had been in contact with the restaurant prior to arrival, and was told all the vegetarian dishes are vegan apart from the brown lentils which are cooked in ghee.
We arrived on a dark, rainy evening and walked down a set of stairs into the restaurant. There are several different rooms, each decorated with photos and memorabilia from Nepal. There is even a room where you can sit on floor cushions in traditional Nepalese style. I think you need to specify that you’d like to sit in that room when you book.
The service to start was very slow. We were seated immediately and forgotten about for about 10 minutes or so until I was able to flag someone down to take our drinks and food order.
They recommend you get three veggie dishes, a dal and a side of rice to share between two people. We started off with poppadums and pickles which were light, flaky and warm – perfect. We also ordered the musurko dal, chyauko tarkari (mushrooms), chamsur sag (spinach and watercress), aloo channa (chickpeas and potato) and steamed basmati rice. The courses came out together on beautiful copper plates and bowls, and were a medley of different smells and tastes that really complemented each other. The mushrooms were cooked in a rich tomato sauce with fragrant herbs, while the dal was nicely spiced with the perfect amount of garlicky-ness (whatever, it’s a word). The dal was actually one of the nicest I’ve ever eaten.
For dessert we (and by “we” I mean Andrew) ordered kir, which is creamed coconut rice lightly spiced and sweetened served chilled, suitable for vegans. The one bite I had was lovely. Andrew really enjoyed it.
Green Rocket Cafe
We headed to the vegetarian restaurant Green Rocket Cafe for a late lunch on Saturday around 2pm. Even though it was past the lunch rush, the restaurant was still fully booked. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to be seated.
The restaurant is in a cute corner building with a little coffee / takeout counter in the front room, with a couple different, small dining rooms both on the ground floor and basement. It was very cosy and had a lovely, chill ambiance.
After being seated upstairs, once again, we found the service very slow at the Green Rocket Cafe, but we were in no rush and the servers were very friendly, so no real complaints from us.
To start we ordered some olives and cider. Both were great. Not that you can really complain about either, can you?
For my main, I ordered the mushroom, sundried tomato and basil rice burger served with a raw beetroot salad and vegan cashew ‘cheese’. Andrew went for the falafel sandwich served with chilli sauce and tahini dressing, vegan potato salad and green leaves. We also ordered a side of rosemary potatoes (perfection!) and onion rings served with a vegan mayo dip (omg so good). Everything I tried was so tasty. Andrew wasn’t overly impressed on his main – but what do you expect ordering a falafel sandwich…?
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen
I’ve known about Acorn for years, so this was the first restaurant on my list when planning our trip. The restaurant, like so many in Bath, is housed in an old Georgian building, so it has a really charming, quaint feeling, with different, small rooms all interconnected.
We were seated at a corner table with a window looking out on the town, with a little glass candle to light the table and a cute green glass terrarium for decoration.
We ordered a lovely bottle of pinot noir and each had the same starter – green beans wrapped in crispy seaweed with a creamy white almond sauce. Before that arrived we were served lovely, soft bread with oil and duqqa (a mix of salt and finely chopped nuts), and then a little amuse bouche of pickled celeriac and thinly sliced pear with foam (so cute and really tasty!).
For my main I had the calabrese broccoli & confit jersey royals with spelt grain warmed in a smoked almond & olive oil emulsion, lovage & pickled cabbage. Andrew’s main was the a poached cauliflower core with garlic lentil dal, roast cauliflower and truffle puree, lightly spiced cauliflower, with an almond fritter, almond pilau rice & kale. We also ordered some lovely warm, perfectly seasoned rosemary potatoes (again, I know) and seasoned sauteed broccoli. Everything was so lovely and I almost managed to finish my plate, but I wanted to make room for dessert…
If you follow my blog you know I don’t often order dessert. A), because I normally eat too much to leave any room and B), I’m not much of a sweets person unless it’s chocolate – and vegan chocolate desserts are a rarity. Well, they had it on the menu at Acorn. The salted chocolate tart was a fudgey, chocolatey slice of pure indulgence served with basically a scoop of peanut butter. So so so good. But alas, it defeated me after a few bites.
I really wanted to have some Indian street food from Chaiwalla but was disappointed to see that they were closed on the day we went. Instead, we remembered seeing a pizza place called Dough that had vegan cheese on the menu, so we headed there instead.
The restaurant is off of a little arcade and was fairly quiet when we went. It’s light, large and airy with a pizza oven right in the centre of the restaurant. The only thing letting it down was the slightly questionable music.
We ordered our drinks and went straight for the mains – a calzone for Andrew, and a vegan vegetable pizza with a side of chips for me (if you’re gonna go big, go big). You get a choice of different types of dough too – and I opted for the wholewheat as I wasn’t feeling terribly adventurous.
My pizza was beautiful when it came out. It was absolutely packed full of veggies – aubergine, peppers, onions, courgette, rocket, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes…. this is how you do a vegan pizza! I was also pleased to see the vegan cheese used was Violife. I don’t normally like vegan cheese, but Violife is pretty good once it’s melted (I don’t like it cold). The dough was also really flavoursome and perfectly cooked – chewy, with little black bits. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve had in a long time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this place and it should definitely be on your list of restaurants to visit if you go.
We didn’t really go “out out” much as we were too full and slightly boozy after both nights of good meals. But Bath does have a great bar scene. The first night we stopped into Art Bar where I had the first decent dirty martini I’ve had in the UK (apparently this is not a drink you guys like??), while Andrew had a very tasty margarita.
The second night we stopped in Opium which is a really cool, trendy, funky bar that smells lovely (they burn incense throughout the night) and really draws in the crowd. The mix drinks here are inventive and again, very tasty. Staff were quite friendly too. We were unable to find a seat as the bar was packed when we arrived, but if we had I’m sure we could have stayed there all night.
So that’s it, as you can see we did not struggle with vegan food in Bath! There were so many other restaurants I wanted to try, and I’m hopeful to go back again sometime soon. You could easily spend a week eating your way around the town, with small stops at one of the many cute, independent coffee shops or bars in between.