Advantages Nice food, location and atmosphere
Disadvantages Long wait to get in, no loos in the restaurant itself, expensive.
As a small child I remember it was a treat to go to Bath Spa and have afternoon tea in the Pump Rooms. It's not the Ritz but it was pretty luxurious and glamorous, at least to a little girl! The grandeur seems to have faded quite a bit since then.The restaurant is located in the Roman Baths, well not literally inside but you know what I mean. It's a huge high ceilinged Georgian style room, very nice to look at. The Pump Room is catered by Searcy who also run places like the Champagne Bar at St Pancras and the Barbican. You can also have your wedding at the Baths and the wedding menus look really good. I'm not sure whether Searcy have always owned/ran the restaurant.
The restaurant opens at 09:30, serves lunch from 12:30 and then afternoon tea from 14:30. During the summer months they are open for dinner on a few evenings.My boyfriend and myself had caught the train to Bath to do some early Christmas shopping. Parking is very difficult to find in Bath, you will generally either have to use the park and ride service or get a train. The train station is a 10 minute walk from the Baths. We decided to have an early lunch rather than afternoon tea. My boyfriend is a vegetarian so we had checked the menu in advance. It's not amazing but offers a decent selection of British food.
Booking is only possible during the week, not at weekends so we joined the queue. A rather harassed looking hostess/manageress in a suit was trying to hand out menus to the waiting customers and keep some of order as well as hurrying the waiting staff. I'd expected a long wait, being a busy Saturday we had also looked at Deluths, the vegetarian restaurant which is meant to be fabulous but they only have about 6 tables! Anyway, after about 25 minutes we were seated. It's really nice to sit down at a table with a table cloth.The waiting staff tend to be people who have been there years (the same waiter has been there for a long as I remember) and students. The service is a little slow and the staff are very polite and quite formal rather than friendly. We both ordered cheddar and ale rarebits and a side of chunky cut chips to share. The food was pretty tasty but expensive. As is customary a pianist played some classical and jazz type tunes and it was a pleasant lunch.
The menu for lunch mainly consists of salads, soups and sandwiches so not the place to go if you want a huge lunch. Nothing on the puddings menu appealed to me, it's mainly ice-creams, lemon tarts and fruit crumbles. The afternoon tea menu looks much better and next time if I were to go, I would go later and have that instead. There are also a wide variety of teas and coffees as well as several champagnes to choose from.My major bugbear is the lack of loos. The only loos are outside the restaurant in the touristy part of the Baths-also anyone can use them. As a result they are crowded, damp and not very stocked. Not impressive!
I would go back again, it's increasingly harder to find these type of eateries. Generally on the high street you find Pizza Express and Ask type places for lunch and chains like Starbucks for coffee and cake. I think that the old Lyon's Corner Houses were like the Pump Rooms and I wished that they hadn't closed down back in the 1980's (or earlier?)
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