Food Review: Green Park Brasserie

Bring the routines back, says Emma Clegg, as she samples Sunday lunch at this much-loved Bath food and drinks venue and remembers the good old days.

There was a time, before Amazon and iPhones, when routines rigorously punctuated our daily lives. Things happened at the same time each day, each week. The postman walking up the garden path; a set time to collect the paper from the newsagent and freshly baked bread from the baker; fish and chips on a Friday evening; shopping at Woolworths or Ratners on a Saturday; and watching That’s Life with the family on a Sunday night.

Nowadays we have lost many of our weekly landmarks. It’s often for the best – we can take advantage of hybrid or flexi working to avoid the traffic-rammed commute; streaming on demand trumps set viewing times; online meetings take away the travel grind; Spotify brings music immediately to hand; and an air fryer allows the creation of fast meals with a fraction of the energy (from you and from the grid). This is instead of slaving over a family-sized roast chicken requiring exact timings calculated on the back of an envelope and the laying of the table by younger family members as the tempting aromas and rumbling stomachs make them think they might collapse with hunger.

The Sunday lunch was a given. It was family time, a day of rest, whether or not you were a church-goer – it was sharing news, it was a comfort, a togetherness, before the afternoon allowed adults to read the papers at their ease and in the warmer months do a spot of gardening. So here’s an idea. If your Sundays have had the routine stuffing knocked out of them – or maybe a reassuring pattern for the seventh day of the week has never emerged, because it’s just another chance to do your tax returns or catch up on that work assignment – then take a stand, collect your family together (banning the use of mobiles if you’re feeling brave) and take them to Green Park Brasserie.

It’s a no-brainer. Lunch is served from 12 to 4, families are welcome, it’s a buzzy atmosphere of conversation and warmth, heightened by the golden colours of the glitzy bottles behind the bar and the draught beer pumps. The location – the former ticket office of Green Park railway station – is of a grand height and area, with delineated seating groupings, and the restaurant feels traditional, animated, welcoming.

It was a nippy day when we visited and we first charged ourselves up with a San Miguel and a Glenmorangie whisky on the rocks, always a welcome aperitif to warm the cockles. We knew as we perused the menu that there would be no need to take gastronomic risks, or to challenge the palate. The food is honest, consoling, nourishing. Our roasts – one free-range chicken and one nut roast, the latter with apricot and almond flavours – were all that was needed, served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, maple-glazed carrots and parsnips, cauliflower cheese and garlic hispi cabbage. Children’s portions are available and staff are friendly and ever-present. The nut roast (with a vegan option) was really tasty, crisp, moist and crumbly and the chicken breast was tender and infused with flavour.

If you don’t fancy the traditional home-styled dishes, then opt for a Braz Classic, perhaps the Newlyn Market Fish catch of the day, a 30-day aged sirloin steak from nearby Newton Farm with fries, garlic butter, Portobello mushrooms and grilled tomato, or a choice of burgers including those with Chuck Steak or ‘Vegan Moving Mountains’ with cheddar and tomato chilli jam and fries. For the pure-diet advocates, a Superfood Salad with avocado, quinoa, kale, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate ensures that all tastes are catered for.

If we had been feeling boozy we could have drunk our dessert – and the Sloe Gin Negroni and Salted Caramel Espresso Martini were both on our radar. After deliberation it was the Madagascan Vanilla with Salted Almond and Ginger Crumb Cheesecake with Burgundy poached pears, and the Crème Brulée that won the Sunday. Plainly these were not strictly necessary after our wholesome main meal, but they rounded things off nicely.

But none of it was strictly necessary, was it? This wasn’t a grim routine, it was a weekend treat that reminded us of family Sundays of old, evoking those familiar, grounding and companiable times in just the same way. For the children sitting within their family networks across the way, colouring and chatting, it was surely creating memories that they might one day remember and treasure. IPhones and air-fryers may come and go, but Sunday lunch remains an unchallengeable institution, with the help of Green Park Brasserie.

Sunday Roasts at Green Park Brasserie: Roast Beef Newton Farm Topside (£21), Roast Chicken Free Range Chicken Breast (£19), Nut Roast with Apricot and Almond (£19).

Green Park Brasserie, 6 Green Park Station, Bath;
Tel: 01225 338565;