by Dan Izzard
12 April 2018
There’s something about being by the water. Whether the gentle flow of a river or the great theatre of the violent North Devon coast, there’s a part of me that wants to sit and watch. Preferably with a pint. The newest addition to my collection of perfect Sunday afternoon settings is sometimes known as 'little Bath'. As the river Avon winds through the countryside, it meanders through Bradford-on-Avon, rushing past Timbrell's Yard – a former coach station transformed into a salvage-yard-chic restaurant, bar and hotel. Dating back to the 18th century, the building has been given an industrial makeover true to its roots. The bar is has been decked out with a mix of metal, wood and exposed brick. The separate dining area an open-plan affair that wraps around the kitchen, the heart of the building.
It's a kitchen that looks like it can handle a substantial Sunday roast dinner service. That's a lunch service , not some kind of organised meaty worship. After the short journey from the Bath we conned ourselves into believing we'd worked up a suitable appetite. But first, we are introduced to the small matter of the 'little things' menu. Enticingly priced at 3 for £10 or 5 for £15, we do what is sensible and order the lot. For research.
With our table now replete with crockery – and resembling a model of the solar system – we dig in. The crispy exterior of the smoked ham hock croquettes contains a pleasingly cheesy molten centre. Lamb koftes (and obvious pre-roast appetiser?) are also one of the first to disappear from our portfolio. All the while, we listen to the gentle backing track of the kitchen staff, and occasionally glance up to comment how good the burgers are. This is not a tiny kitchen shoehorned into a listed building crevace; this is a listed building that revolves around serving food.
For the main event, we opt for the Orchard Farm pork belly with fennel and sea salt crackling (£15) as well as half a free range chicken, lemon and thyme with salsa verde (£16). A huge slab of pork hiding buttered greens, root mash and some crispy garlic and herb roasties. Extra gravy required. Minutes later we probably have too much gravy, and to restore equilibrium we order some Bromham cauliflower cheese smothered in a Wookey Hole Cheddar (£3.75). It didn't entirely go down like that on the day, but retroactively rationalising the calorie intake feels necessary. To put it modestly, it was a hearty meal.
The chicken was oh-so-moist and had been infused with lemon and thyme. Topped with a crispy skin and illuminated by a shaft of light through a nearby stained glass window, this was a righteous lunch. The pork fat had been roasted well, a thick layer of fat rendering into the meat, keeping it moist and maximising flavour. The best bit; the remainder had formed a thick radius of crackling. Oof. The accompanying locally sourced veg was properly seasoned. For the most part, I smothered it in the thick gravy. Well, I didn't want to waste it.
For dessert a sticky toffee pudding, caramel ice cream, and toffee sauce (£7.5). Not going to lie readers, this was an effort. The soft ice cream melting all over the warm pudding helped. What a melt.
Timbrell's may seem rustic and laid back. But behind it all, careful thought has gone into the building, food, and accommodation. The menu uses a lot of local produce and caters from 'peckish' all the way up to 'ravenous'. It is a great spot to grab a local ale, enjoy a roast, and watch the afternoon gently float away.
This feature was made possible by Timbrell's Yard and independently created by Crumbs editorial team.