“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
Jane Austen wrote some memorable quotes but she most definitely didn’t contribute to the statement below. One would understand however, how a Bath establishment would do anything to associate themselves with her. Last week, I was in Bath for work but obviously had to seek out the Jane Austen Centre. To me, Jane Austen is Bath.
Apart from getting a tour of an impressive eco house (that was the work part), I also discovered smashing food spots (that was the leisure part). I can highly recommend King William Pub for dinner, but don’t rely too much on your waitress’ knowledge. It might’ve been the poor girl’s first day, or she really didn’t take much interest in the food they were serving, but to describe pannacotta as “sort of like cream jelly”, doesn’t conjure up any epicurean images. I went for it anyway, and it was fantastic. I scraped the plate clean – possibly with my fingers. I opted for pheasant as a main and didn’t regret that choice either. Although the first floor dining room was empty during our visit (the rain was pouring down outside), we didn’t mind the slightest as we had jazz music playing in the background and as we were exhausted after a day of fighting mould and fitting bathroom tiles, loud guests around us wouldn’t have been welcome anyway.
Between visiting the Royal Crescent and imagining people walking around in frocks and bonnets, I also passed through the impressive Bath Abbey and peered down at the Roman baths. I ate lunch at the Fine Cheese Co.and wanted to eat all their cakes and tarts instead of a proper meal. In the end, I opted for poached eggs with truffle oil on toast – an indulgement in itself. Although I do sympathise with Kate Moss when she said “nothing tastes as good as skinny”, I could never live by that “adage” . Clearly, I’ve invested in workout DVD’s instead to compensate.
Obviously, it was cake time at some point, so we snuck in at Jacob’s Coffee House. Miss C had a raspberry bakewell cake and collapsed in an armchair and would have fallen asleep if it weren’t for my taking photos. I tasted a slice of lumberjack cake with apple and dates, and drank spot-on green tea. The coffee house must be a lovely hideout in the summer, but now it was just draughty. My perception of Bath before this trip was ‘Jane Austen’, now it’s ‘damp’ and ‘Jane Austen’. I much prefer -20 °C from the wet and raw cold we experienced. No thermal underwear can help you out, believe you me.
Grumpiness aside, the coffee house is a must try and so is Bath. It’s only 1 ½ hour by train from London and this is by far the best city I’ve visited in England in terms of food options. There was only one Brown’s in sight and much of the rest was independent cafés and gastropubs. And the Jane Austen Centre.
If I can squeeze in one more recommendation before I press play on my workout DVD, it would be going for coffee at Bertinet Bakery. Aim for the rosemary focaccia and I promise you won’t regret it.