Dinner Out: Tilleys Bistro, Bath

tilleysOk,  not dinner out but lunch out today.

Myself, I think I would have given this restaurant a more favourable review had I visited in the evening. At lunch time there is a set menu, with no a la carte option. This is alright for lunch, I guess, but I do like to have a choice. Set Menus are usally designed with economy in mind, and yes, while the food was delicious on this occasion I can’t honestly say I was so inspired by the menu that I would have picked any of the dishes from it. Having viewed the a la carte menu, I’m certain that given the standard of cooking, I will go back.

So we booked a table for two for a pre theatre, Saturday lunch. How Greedy Companion and I chuckled to ourselves as the person I spoke to said he ‘would see what he could do’ on the phone when I asked to book. When he confirmed the booking, we thought there was no way that it would be that busy right? Early Saturday lunchtime in a  recession? Well, seems like Tilleys was more popular than we thought, as the dining room upstairs was already full (of pensioners) when we arrived and the basement, which apparently seats 46, was starting to fill quite fast too.

We were shown quickly to our seat, and a basket of delicious bread and butter arrived on our table. We were asked if we wanted to order a drink? Wine? There was no drink menu, so we asked for a glass of dry white wine.He said he’d bring the house white. I guess this what was supposed to happen as I overheard people requesting drinks all through lunch, and yep, they given house wine too. Only trouble was the house wine wasn’t up to much and I would have preferred to pay maybe a pound more than the £3.75 which I paid for that not particularly dry, not particularly nice glass, and get something a little better. Our food order was taken fairly quickly by a polite, if rather brusque waiter. Greedy Companion says thats what french waiters are like. Maybe. We both ordered salmon and tilleysmenuasparagus tart for starter. It was very nice, but it was definitely a quiche rather than a tart, and it was not exactly bursting with salmon and asparagus. However, it was perfectly cooked with gorgeous pastry. My friend had a homemade steak burger or ‘biftoke’ with roquefort. I can vouch for the fact it was delicious. I had madiera pork, which was pork tenderloin in a…uhhh..madiera sauce. Very nice too. The carrots that came in the side of vegetables were hard. And given that the average age of the lunch customer was probably about 60, I’m wondering how easy they would be to eat with dentures. I mean, really, have a bit of consideration for your core patrons!

Dessert for me was Crepe Normandy – pancake filled with cooked apple and served with cream, and the other Greedy had the chocolate pudding. They were both fine. Portions are not huge. Really. I know I am greedy, and I know this is 3 courses  for just  £15. I know its nice not to feel too stuffed after lunch. But it did feel a bit light. Well made, properly considered, tasty food. Just a bit stingy in terms of portioning. My only other negative really was the piped music. Thankfully, it was playing quite quietly, I’m just not sure that Motown Crooners really struck the right mood.

So, if you’re not needing a huge meal, if you don’t mind a restaurant that has a *hint* of the geriatric ward about it, and you are fairly easy going about choice, then you could do a lot worse than come for lunch here. Especially in comparison to a lot of the chainey tourist toot tat that dresses up as ‘restaurants’ in Bath. Cafe Rouge, anybody? I still would recommend you hang on for dinner if you can though.

Booking, really recommended.Website


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