Bath BA1 1JB
Reputations stand up to the test as Melissa Blease visits one of Bath’s well-loved institutions…
Bath’s Green Park Station was built by the Midland Railway Co in 1870… but closed as a result of the Beeching Cuts in 1966. Thanks to the Ethical Property Company, however, the former station is today a beautifully restored, magnificent example of Victorian-era architectural splendour, at the heart of which the Green Park Brasserie (occupying the former booking hall) takes all-comers on a journey through contemporary social life in the Heritage City, zeroes=style.
Spacious but with plenty of intimate nooks and crannies to cosy up in and featuring a well-stocked bar and menus that waltz from morning coffee and pastries through lunch, afternoon tea and early bird dining deals before segueing into full-on dinnertime blowouts, the GPB is a longstanding cornerstone of the Bath merrymaking scene, highly regarded for keeping music (predominantly jazz) live.
The indoor/outdoor patio to the rear forms the social epicentre of Bath’s best markets (farmers’ every Saturday and all manner of crafty/arty events throughout the year), while further al-fresco opportunities beyond the main entrance offer a very pleasant buffer between traffic-heavy thoroughfare and relaxing urban oasis. If the GPB had a star sign, it would be a Gemini – a charming social butterfly with an innate aptitude for multitasking.
From a snug corner table on a raised platform offering splendid people (and live band) watching opportunities, dinner at the GPB began with three pleasantly plump crab and spring onion beignets accompanied by a lighthearted, caper-infused salad and a wasabi mayonnaise just punchy enough to make its presence felt. Offering similarly enticing appeal to my guest, half-a-dozen fingers of deep fried halloumi came with a lively tomato, pesto and pine nut salad that shrewdly offset the density of the cheese.
Both starters were beautifully presented, and both subtly displayed the essential credentials (confidence, competence, charisma) that showcase an accomplished kitchen without overtly showing off. For mains, a big, juicy Hinton ribeye steak bathed in a rich Bath Blue Cheese sauce teamed with field mushrooms and a stack of real chips proved to be a supremely satisfying, man-sized treat, while my decision to sample a lighter, more ladylike fish dish did not go unrewarded: two neat fillets of Cornish gurnard resting on a smooth potato and chive cake surrounded by sugar snap peas and a brace of mussels all gently bathed in a subtle chive cream sauce proved to be another wellconsidered dish, each component presented to its best advantage.
Diners of a less gluttonous persuasion would have ended their GPB journey here, at the point of total satiation. But to do so would be to walk away from the opportunity to explore menu territories that really shouldn’t be overlooked. An apple crumble cheesecake (two classics in one incarnation – what’s not to love?) came with a jammy blackberry compote and a refreshingly light crème anglaise, while a salaciously creamy crème brûlée was a textbook-perfect manifestation of the genre, teamed with a freshly-baked, oaty flapjack that served as a stand-alone treat in its own right.
Throughout our joyful jaunt, local legend Gavin Lazarus crooned his way through a setlist of smooth jazz standards, a well-priced, thoroughly decent Tempranillo flowed and service was friendly and unobtrusive; little wonder then that the Green Park Brasserie maintains a solid reputation as a reliably good Bath institution well worth making regular return trips to.