What feels like many moons ago – sadly, for it was among the best of weekends, a large group of friends and I hopped on the 11am train out of London to Bath for the weekend for a friends’ wedding, armed with prosecco and pain au chocolates in hand. Inevitably, our sightseeing day (“wouldn’t it be great to take the day off and actually see Bath”) turned into extensive research into the city’s pubs, with a quick afternoon culture dash to the Royal Crescent before returning to the hotel to change for cocktails and dinner.
After a recommendation from a friend of a friend, I booked a table at Graze for ten of us. And what a bang on choice for a large, enthusiastic (read: slightly inebriated) group of friends on a Friday night, something that can be difficult to cater for. The restaurant occupies a large airy space as well as al fresco areas for summer days, but happily the atmosphere is filled to the rafters rather than getting lost along the way, with large groups and small tables alike enjoying the buzzing ambiance. The kitchen is open plan, always a favourite of mine, and the staff were ever friendly and helpful in spite of how busy the restaurant was.
And then who can argue with a beautifully presented, perfectly cooked flat iron steak for a tenner? Being a chophouse, steak is the go-to option here, and I’m happy to confirm that the quality is excellent and the chefs deliver what you actually order (all too often medium isn’t medium). The chips are excellent – crispy and fluffy all at once, as they should be, and the peppercorn sauce is served in a jug big enough to swim in, which is just how I like it. Potatoes are offered five ways to compliment your order, and there are plenty of options to pimp your steak with extras, including making it a surf and turf with the addition of tiger prawns, as well as an array of butters and sauces to choose from. And that’s before you even get to the side dishes. If you’re not one for steak, there are a handful of fish and vegetarian options, as well as venison, beef and chicken burgers for good measure.
Having sampled the rich chocolate honeycomb bar and the sticky toffee and walnut pudding, I can say with confidence that desserts deserve a real shout out here. I am a tough judge of the classic sticky toffee pud and was relieved this one lived up to standards. I just wish I’d had room to start off the meal with one of the excellent sounding starters (seared scallops with black pudding: you’re mine next time).
Graze Bath is not the first of its kind, for they grace Bristol and Cirencester too, but this location is the only one with its own microbrewery, describing itself as “something of a flagship for Bath Ales”. In addition to the large range of ales and ciders Bath Ales offer, there are craft beers from around the world, as well aperitifs, top spirits and an extensive wine list (shout out to the delicious Santa Julia Organic Malbec, a steal at £23.50 a bottle). If I’ve not yet managed to convince you to try Graze next time you’re in Bath, this might – they offer a set menu at just £15 for 3 courses or £12 for 2 on weekdays. If that didn’t work, I’m sorry, I tried, you can’t be helped.
9 Brunel Square, Bath, BA1 1SX
+44 1225 429 392
Open Mon-Thu 08.00-23.00; Fri from 08.00-00.30; Sat 09.00-00.30 and Sun 09.00-23.00
Starters: £5.50 – £8.95
Mains: from £10.00 – £29.00
Desserts: £4.50 – £7.50
Wine starts at £15.50 a bottle, ales from £3.50 a pint