Riverside Café Bath Review
Stroll across Pulteney Bridge and take the narrow stone spiral staircase hidden away at one end, and you emerge suddenly, blinking, into the sunshine at the head of the weir, with a view down the river to the elegant Parade Gardens. Square on to this view, neatly tucked away almost underneath the bridge itself, is the fabulous Riverside Café, my new favourite haunt for hot chocolate.
The Riverside achieves everything I look for in a café, managing to be both elegant and friendly. The low, semi-circular doorway (relic of its former life as a cellar) gives on to a small, cosy space, with rough stone walls painted a soft cream, gently worn wooden parquet floors, and my favourite corner tables with comfy padded banquettes. There’s always a fantastic smell in the air, from the Illy coffee which the Riverside prides itself on, and fresh flowers on the tables.
A few weeks ago, I needed somewhere for a quick but delicious lunch with a chum, and we decided to head to the Riverside, as I wanted to introduce her to their utterly marvellous fish finger sandwiches. I must admit I’d forgotten that this particular friend has a few tricksy dietary requirements, including an intolerance for dairy products, but I needn’t have worried – the staff were entirely happy to come up with a few tweaks for the dish so that she’d still be able to enjoy it, and gave not the slightest impression that this was any kind of inconvenience. The sandwiches, as always, were scrumptious – can there be anything better than the combination of good bread, fresh salad, crispy battered fish & rich tartare sauce?
More recently, I met another friend at the Riverside, this time to show off their hot chocolate menu – one of the best in Bath, in my opinion. An enormous comforting mug of their best chocolate (not too sweet, which is crucial) topped with marshmallows and a chocolate swizzle stick is the perfect cure for chilly weather, rain, Mondays, or any other crises that may befall you. Go as soon as possible – just don’t take my table.
Sal Godfrey is a blogger and food writer from Bath who loves scribbling, cooking and eating, and provides creative content services for foodie companies.