The pump room
the godmother of all Afternoon Tea experiences
Ah, the Pump Room: a Bath bastion of good taste offering a supremely civilised backdrop to all manner of social intercourse-related events since 1799. Today the whole Roman Baths complex (of which the Pump Room ‘experience’ forms an integral part) still thrives at the heart of the Heritage City, with the recently-introduced Roman Baths Kitchen adding a less formal alternative to this, the godmother of all Afternoon Tea experiences. And tea at the Pump Room is really where it’s at. It opens for morning coffee and serves both light and substantial lunches too, but those in search of a ‘proper’ high tea could not possibly set their sights higher than a reservation here: expect impeccably polite, efficient staff, a pianist tinkling away in the background, sparkling chandeliers, tables adorned with crisp linen and gleaming tableware… and, if you can stand it, a sample of the original mineral water itself (but be warned: it’s an acquired taste, to say the least). The Pig blew out on the Traditional Pump Room Tea (£18.50pp), a supremely elegant affair involving delicate goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade crostini, finger sandwiches of egg mayonnaise, ham and tuna, two fresh, warm scones (one fruity, one plain) accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry champagne jam and a selection of dinky, perfect pastries – the lemon curd macaroon and fruit tart in particular garnering the highest acclaim. For a true taste of Bath life, one cannot possibly offer a higher recommendation than a Pump tea.