Review: Green Bird Café, Bath
by Jess Carter
16 May 2018
A miserable Friday is improved by several points thanks to this fresh and filling lunch...
This pretty little caff is hidden away down a quintessentially Bathonian street, cobbled and lined with old-school bay-windowed shops. Even the downpour that we trotted along it in (c’mon summer, where are you?) couldn’t dampen its charm.
Green Bird was opened about three years ago by couple Claire and Henry Hunton, with chef Henry having come from Chandos Deli, where he’d been for 13 years.
Open from 8am, the team kick off the day with a breakfast menu, which lists everything from muesli to pastries, pancakes to chorizo and butternut squash hash. Come midday, brekkie gives way to lunch, then, until 3pm, there’s all kinds of on-toast, sandwich, soup and salad options.
Sounds like pretty standard café fare, when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled, this is food with a good bit o’ style: things on toast include Isle of Wight plum tomatoes with cream cheese and almond; sandwiches are served open, tartine style, topped with the likes of goat’s cheese, onion marmalade, spinach and walnut; and salads run along the lines of roast broccoli with chickpea, feta, dried cranberries and sesame seeds.
Sounds fancy, yeah? It’s thoughtful food, for sure, but its still rustic and down-to-earth, with a proper homemade feel.
We stumbled in – brollies dripping, hangovers lurking and stomachs impatiently rumbling – one Friday lunchtime recently, and were well up for a proper feed. So we didn’t hold back.
The new Vietnamese chicken salad (£7.99) was first out of the kitchen. Chunks of white roast chicken were entangled in a heap of super-fine and well-dressed rice noodles. Chilli, lime, peanut and fresh coriander gave it a real freshness and that distinctive Asian layering of flavour. Loved it.
A colourful open sandwich (£6.50) saw Bertinet bread heaped with wafer thin slices of salt beef and Emmental cheese, drizzled with a vibrant yellow sweet mustard sauce and finished with pickles. The toppings were in great proportion for a balance of mild, tangy, sweet and fiery flavours.
Not able to choose between the homemade baked beans and creamy mushrooms (£6.50 each, also on the breakfast menu), my lunch date tried both (his hangover was taking hold by this point). The white beans had been slow cooked in a tomato sauce with paprika and ginger for a mild kick, and the mushrooms were sautéed with cream, garlic and thyme. He washed it down with a homemade lemonade, and looked far perkier afterwards.
Finishing off with a strong coffee and banging treacle tart (£3) with a crumb made from the surplus ends of the Bertinet loaves, we left in brighter moods. And it had even stopped raining – coincidence?
Green Bird Café, 11 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath BA1 2LP; 01225 487846