Framptons Cafe, Bar and Kitchen

one of the city's coolest casual dining hotspots, rich in laid-back flourish

one of the city's coolest casual dining hotspots, rich in laid-back flourish

The brainchild of three good friends who formerly served in the British Army together, Framptons Cafe, Bar and Kitchen has breathed new life into the fascinating, historic Empire building, situated directly opposite both Pulteney Weir and Bath Rugby Ground.

Tom, Ed and Sam have respectfully paid homage to the Empire’s history while also cleverly managing to offer a casual, contemporary vibe that puts us in mind of the kinda cool brasserie-bar you come across on and around New York’s Union Square, with the first room bar area dominated by Victorian library paraphernalia leading through to a dining room that exemplifies Brit-version Belle Époque – think, high ceilings, ornate cornicing and rich paintwork, with a spectacular chandelier bringing extra added contemporary flourish to proceedings.

And laid back flourish, really, is what Framptons is all about. For a start, it’s only the eighth bar in the whole of the UK to have tank beer installed – two 500 litre tanks suspended above the bar contain one tonne of brewery-fresh premium lager. Meanwhile, cocky cocktails (two for £10 all day/all night on Fridays,) an extensive wine list, a wide gin, Prosecco and English sparkling wine selection make the bar an all things to all people voyage of discovery. As for food – well, we’re on super-flexible all-day dining territory here, with breakfast (an amazing array, from the seriously seductive Low and Slow Crumpets or simple mushrooms on toast to the full-on Full Plate English by way of Eggs Royale, Benedict and Florentine, and more) seguing neatly into light and not-so-light lunchtime bites and sharing platters before the sun starts to set and supper gets serious, with superb steaks, boisterous burgers and a solid range of fish and meat-free options, all wrought from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, vying for our attention.

On our most recent Framptons foray, a summery starter of truffled asparagus cloaked with shards of parmesan, sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and topped with a properly oozy, properly golden fried egg was a textbook example of how and why this divine combination of flavours and textures has earned ‘menu classic’ status. A second starter of soft, velvety beef shin encased in soft, velvety tortellini, sprinkled with earthy morels and neat fragments of biscuity hazelnuts proved to be a depth-charge umami experience – very good indeed, and definitely a dish that I will be returning to Framptons for in the autumn, looking for a scaled-up main course portion. Yum. But hey, it’s still summer, so….

Smoked salmon linguine: light, gently oaky fish without any hint of cloying, poor quality fattiness mingled with perfectly al dente pasta and laden with fresh cherry tomatoes, just the right amount of cream to avoid heavy dairy meltdown, just the right amount of parmesan so as not to overpower the salmon and lots and lots of fresh dill – luxuriously Lombardian in essence; a British summer breeze in execution. Maintaining our fishy theme: fresh, sweet, delicately-flavoured hake teamed with sauteed baby gem lettuce (oh, I do so love clever use of warm leaves in summertime; they somehow add a fascinating extra dimension to most dishes), peas, crispy kale (the only way, in my opinion, kale should be served) and a fascinating carrot and vanilla velouté good work, chef! Oh, and by the way, diners can see that chef doing all that good work in the kitchen, beyond the pass, which I always find both reassuring and rather captivating. I managed, however, to tear my gaze away from pretty much anything else around me at pudding time, firstly because my gin and elderflower panna cotta with lemon sorbet and freeze dried raspberries was a super-pretty, picture-perfect joy to behold, and secondly because I had to guard it from an advantage-taking scavenger (aka Mr Pig.)

Only a few weeks shy of its first birthday, and Framptons has reinvigorated the all-too-often overlooked Grand Parade area in grand style, adding an appealing new dimension to the city’s coolest casual dining hotspots. A new dawn has risen over the Empire.

For full details of forthcoming live music evenings, live screenings of Bath Rugby games and all manner of news from Framptons HQ, keep an eye on our news feed and/or follow Framptons on Twitter @FramptonsBath

Facilities

  • wheelchair access Wheelchair access
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  • Wifi Free wifi available
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  • Gluten free Gluten free options
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  • Baby changing Baby changing facilities

Framptons Cafe, Bar and Kitchen

The Empire, Grand Parade, Bath BA2 4DF, UK

Opening hours
Monday – Saturday: 9am – 11.30pm
Sunday: 9.30am – 9pm

Getting here

To the right of the Empire’s main entrance, directly opposite Pulteney Weir

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