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Hall & Woodhouse: Gimmicky in a Good Way


Hall & Woodhouse in Bath turns out to be the best find, a place that just gets everything right.

I'd been hearing great reports about this bar/cafe/all things to all people kind of gaffe in the heart of Bath and now I wonder what took me so long to get there.

Yes it's gimmicky but in a good way, a shrine to cool British memorabilia - walk in and you're assaulted by Monopoly tea towels hanging from the ceiling and every kind of English grocery from Heinz baked beans to HP Sauce artfully arranged on the walls. West Country fanatics take note: Dorset Cereals, Moore's Knob Biscuits, Dorset Tea - it's all here.

There's a huge copper bar and a room full of scrubbed wooden tables on the ground floor, a smarter dining area upstairs and the staircase is underlit Hollywood starlet style - it's that kind of place.

The all day menu kicks off with breakfasts - I'll take the smoked salmon, scrambled egg and tin loaf next time - then moves to stews, sandwiches and burgers at lunchtime. There are small plates too - things like devils on horseback and whitebait which would be good to share.

I didn't rate my butternut squash and coconut curry which had sounded so enticing on the menu and turned out to be more of a soup. But don't allow a small detail like that put you off.

Veer towards the posh junk food menu and you won't go wrong. A falafel and halloumi burger with guacamole and roasted peppers was delicious, a sculptural plate of fish and chips was crispy and perfect.

Friends who have been here in the evening report that it's packed with boys n girls on the pull but the vibe is friendly and the cocktails are good.

This is somewhere to bring kids for lunch, retreat for a solo coffee and a gorge on the papers or pre-cinema dinner with friends (burgers, steaks and stargazy pie).

A word about the loos which have images of iconic Brit film stars on the doors - Michael Cain, Sean Connery - and hundreds of old fashioned hand mirrors stuck to the ceiling. I loved them.

Hall & Woodhouse also within hopping distance (should the mood take you) of Mr B's bookshop which is possibly my most favourite place to browse.

Glad I've finally found it. We'll be back again and again, I should think.

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