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You can shove a cat in an oven, but that doesn't make it a biscuit.

Username: no_stranger_to_the_p45

Age: 50

Sex: male

Latest comments by no_stranger_to_the_p45

The Tram Shed, Bath

A long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away... a two-headed lizard tripped over a pig and fell down four flights of stairs. He was hungry. It was most definitely time for lunch.
Dodging the rocket-powered goat he crossed the street, hopped over a gnat, and on wings of brick flew into a jar to be greeted by a small purple horse. 'Will you be dining with us today?' asked the horse, as one of the lizard's heads collapsed in on itself and an ostrich laid a teapot on the rug. 'Our special is a plutonium soup served in a duck and a main course of half a roast slug.'
'That sounds divine,' said the lizard's leftover head. 'I'll have the table on the ceiling by the moon.'

In one of the many parallel universes as yet undiscovered by scientists firing particles around a giant electromagnetic doughnut, the above may be a particularly plausible description of my dining experience at The Tramshed in Bath. Sadly, here on my version of Earth, today it is not. Likewise, describing my lunch as 'awesome' and 'exquisite' is also as reasonable as a psychic aardvark building me a shed from a bar of soap.

Our welcome to the not-very-busy Tramshed was perfectly acceptable and we were soon shown to a table. The menu was clean and looked reasonable, and items on it were priced in such a way that one did not have to offer to wash-up. Two of my friends and I selected roast chicken from the separate Sunday Lunch menu (what with it being lunchtime on a Sunday and all that), while my friend's girlfriend requested the fish. After ordering our booze we sat back to wait and discussed things that relate in no way whatsoever to this. We finished that particular conversation, had another and waited a little more, and after waiting for a few more minutes decided to wait a bit longer. That done, we ordered some more drinks and waited a bit longer still.

When our food arrived it was as if The Tramshed were playing some kind of joke. First, in terms of presentation it looked as though a small bin of kitchen waste had been dumped upon the plate. Our geriatric chicken was almost as dry as it would be had the chef chased it across a desert before beating it to a pulp and shoving it in a microwave for twenty minutes. Although we received side dishes with cauliflower and broccoli, the vegetables served on our plate included one... I repeat: ONE carrot, and one roast spud. We were told that Yorkshire puddings would come with the meal, but had to ask for them again because they didn't. No larger than a button, they arrived as we finished our lunch and had the taste of toasted pillows filled with cotton wool and cement. A glass of wine that my friend ordered with his meal did not arrive until he had finished either.

I would like to think that our experience was something of a blip in the overall performance of The Tramshed as a purveyor of dining experiences. However, noting the diner on the table adjacent to us spit-out his chicken and leave the majority of his meal on the plate, I am having something of a hard time accepting this.

While Mark, our waiter was embarrassed but extremely courteous and apologetic, later deducting some of the drinks from our bill, in the grand scheme of things, overall and at the end of the day an' that innit (know what I mean, yeah?), our lunch was as disappointing as the existence of Jedward. If I ever go again I will probably have the fish.

7 Nov 2012 12:04

The Salamander, Bath

Much as in the same way that one may expect a biography of Peter Andre to be consistently mind-numbing and dull, one can expect a visit to The Salamander to be the polar opposite: a consistently interesting and enjoyable experience, perhaps on a par with trying a hundred different types of cheesecake. I recently had the pleasure of visiting and had a thoroughly enjoyable time indeed. I was a little drunk, and failed rather spectacularly in my efforts to ingratiate myself with a girl I believe may have later described me as 'particularly annoying and crass'. Still, this did not have a significantly negative impact on my friend and I enjoying ourselves as we soaked-up the welcome, the atmosphere, the overall good-humour, and rather more booze-laced drinks than were otherwise good for a declaration of sobriety.

By way of a statement of the almost-obvious, Bath's Salamander is a boozer... and a rather good one at that. It is a clean and civilised establishment with a dollop of sophistication and something of a gloss of elegance, the combination of which successfully repels any ill-educated, tracksuit-wearing chavs intent on honking about football while simultaneously attempting to explode their own kidneys. It is one of Bath's more appealing bars in which to sit and engage in the consumption of booze-laced beverages, the selection of which, courtesy of Bath Ales, is particularly splendid and appreciated even by men without beards.

Sadly, I have yet to find anyone interested in buying me lunch or dinner at The Salamander. This is particularly disappointing because even a cursory glance of the menu is enough to make one drool like some kind of pest. That said, I did try the 'proper chips' not too long ago, and while I think the name 'proper' is somewhat misleading since they are priced at three quid, are not wrapped in newspaper and not swimming in four gallons of fat or served by a bearded twenty-stone grandmother in a hairnet, they are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure to gobble down too quickly, scalding my epiglottis as I did. Fear not though, for The Salamander is not your typical gastropub filled with estate agents and too-highly-paid council executives squawking into Blackberries and babbling about shoes. Sure, the chips err on the side of 'a little bit pricey an' that, innit', but they are good value. And judging by the menu on the screen of my laptop I happen to be drooling upon right now, the same should be said of the 'chorizo, fried egg, garlic and parsley frittes (sic)' priced at a paltry 'almost-eight quid'.

Overall, all things considered and to conclude... The Salamander is an awesome pub. Clearly not the place to meet girls while a little on the drunk side of sober... or Me, but great for consuming good booze, dining on what appears to be well-produced and drool-satisfying comestibles, avoiding oiks, and having a thoroughly pleasurable time indeed. The staff are friendly, welcoming, and care about what they do, and the decor is very much on the right side of pleasant. I recommend The Salamander much as in the same way I quite like cheesecake.

12 Oct 2012 16:37

The Pig and Fiddle, Bath

Many years ago I was employed as a barman in the centre of Bristol. The pub was vast and a focal point for the jeering chavs and honking oiks of the city. Other than the occasional theatre-goer beating a hasty retreat within seconds of entry, it was primarily frequented by loud, vulgar and crass individuals with all the charm of asbestos, many regularly guzzling alcopops and lager and going all out to explode their own kidneys. Food was almost always served in baskets with chips, and the Old Bill would often be stationed outside in eager anticipation of the booze-fuelled idiots fighting within being dragged out to them by the doormen. The Pig & Fiddle in Bath is nothing like this. It has never been so, and I hope - saluting a magpie of a morn and wielding a cat around my head at midnight while barking like a sea lion at the moon - it never will be.
In a pseudo-descriptive kind of way, I think of The Pig & Fiddle as a really good old friend; the type of friend you can see every day for a coffee and a quick chat, or not see for ages and pick-up immediately where you left off. It won’t judge you or laugh about you behind your back, and it will always share its pork scratchings and its crisps.
It’s a friendly, welcoming place with a clientele evidently absent of jeering chavs. Sure, you’ll observe the occasional knife-licker or boisterous oik, particularly when football oozes out of the large-screen TVs. But proper people don’t have to get involved, often preferring to enjoy the vastness of the beer garden (nay patio, nay outdoor bit) as the afternoon sun bathes us all in a warm puddle of pleasantness, keeping us toasty on a chilly evening with patio heaters the size of a giant horse.
Food-wise, The Pig and Fiddle’s menu is pleasant and so fairly priced that on occasion you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve received too much change. It is not flash - does not describe a cheeseburger as ‘drizzled’ with ketchup or offer anything with a whatever-berry coulis or jus. But it’s way more betterer than other places quite good an’ that, innit. Locally-sourced and prepared by chefs too relaxed and professional to hurl insults and pans at kitchen porters, bowls of organic fair-trade grass at thirty-quid a pop are pleasingly omitted from the menu - although if you enjoyed the TV show ‘Skippy’ (about a kangaroo), you’ll be delighted with the option to order bits of his relatives mashed-up with chopped onion and salt and shoved inside a bun with some cheese and a side order of chips. Bonzer!
For those preferring to ingest an alternative to animal-based bellycheer The Pig serves green stuff too. And the odd carrot. And plenty of things with cheese. There’s occasional live music and a table-football... table as well. Blend it all in with decor as interesting as a book, and with the good food and the generally exceptional service you’ll undoubtedly conclude the same as I: that the Pig & Fiddle is one of the city’s truly outstanding outlets for booze an’ that.

The Bog Report:

Sadly there is little to prevent ill-educated plebs either urinating on the seats of loos or realising the function of a flushing mechanism. Therefore it is a testament to the civility of the venue whether the toilets are maintained in accordance with this understanding. A bog without ‘things’ floating across the floor is equally as important as a kitchen without rats and fungus and in finality I’m happy to report that Bath’s Pig & Fiddle pays an above-satisfactory level of attention to its facilities. It would achieve a rating of about seven (out of ten), if indeed I had a rating system like that.

15 Apr 2011 20:22

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no_stranger_to_the_p45 has been registered on this site since 15th April 2011