Monday, 26 June 2017

Visit Bath but Taste the World

While a hearty Sunday roast may be hard to beat when it comes to traditional English fare (though it could be argued that fish and chips or a cream tea may also be a national favourite), sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a spot of the exotic.

If you’ve spent the day in Bath soaking up the Georgian splendour and all things British, and fancy taking your taste-buds further afield in the evening, then these restaurants may be for you.  

Tagine Zhor – 1A North Parade

This restaurant specializes in African, Moroccan and Mediterranean food. They have both al-fresco and indoor dining, so is a great place to visit whatever the weather, and they are a good choice if you’re looking for a delicious gluten-free meal. (The beef, apricot and almond tagine is particularly excellent.)

La Perla – 12A North Parade
Their menu has a good mix of Mediterranean, European and Spanish dishes to choose from. It’s not the most obvious restaurant as it’s tucked away below street level in an old wine cellar, but this is a bonus as it’s a hidden gem with its curved ceiling, ambient up-lighting lighting and an intimate, cosy feel. Perfect for a romantic meal out.  

Jars Meze – 6 Northumberland Place
If Greek food is something you’re a fan of then you’ll want to head to Jars Meze. As well as Greek dishes like Garides saganaki (prawns in fresh tomato sauce with chillies and garlic puree, baked with feta and kefalotyri cheese) and Taramosalta (Greek fish roe blended with fresh bread and herbs), they also have Mediterranean meals. If you’re feeling really adventurous you might like to try Htapodaki marinato (octopus marinated in vinegar, garlic, olive oil and herbs, served with chickpeas).   

Ponte Vecchio – Spring Gardens Road
Bath isn’t short of Italian restaurants, but Pont Vecchio is one of our favourites because (great food aside) of the fantastic view it has. It’s right next to Pulteney Bridge and the weir, and at night when the lights are shining out across the Avon it’s a wonderful place to relax with a glass of wine and an authentic freshly-made pizza. On Fridays they also have live jazz to add even further to the amazing atmosphere.  

Yak Yeti Yak – 12 Pierrepont Street
The place to go in Bath if you like Nepalese food. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but diners rave about the food and about the setting. If it’s not too busy, and you like a good story, then ask about the artefacts hanging on the walls and you might be lucky enough to be given a guided tour of them by the owner.  

Bistrot Pierre – George Street
Finally, if you’d like a spot of French fine dining, then this is the restaurant to visit. The setting is relaxed, the waiting staff very friendly, and the food is a great blend of French cooking, seasonal specials and twists on old favourites like crème brulee and confit de canard. It’s also a good choice for pre-theatre dining.  

Friday, 16 June 2017

Father’s Day – Where did it come from?

It’s almost Father’s Day, so we thought we’d find out how it all began. Who came up with Father’s Day, and when was the first Father’s Day?

Although disputed by some, it’s generally accepted that the idea for Father’s Day came on the heels of Mother’s Day (not to be confused with Mothering Sunday).

It’s believed that Sonora Dodd came up with the idea of Father’s Day after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in Washington in 1910. As Sonora and her five brothers were brought up by their father in a single-parent family (after her mother died in childbirth), she resolved that fathers needed recognition for the role they played, and campaigned to have a special day, like Mother’s Day, which would be devoted to thanking fathers. With the help of her local YMCA and the Ministerial Association of Spokane (a city near her birthplace), Sonora worked hard to have an official Father’s Day formally recognised.

The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June the 19th in 1910 in Spokane, but in the 1920s the holiday was rather forgotten. It gained popularity again over time though, and in 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a presidential proclamation making the third Sunday in June Father’s Day. In 1972 President Nixon permanently established the third Sunday as a holiday to be observed nationally.

Of course, what starts in America, often ends up in the UK. Hence why we also have Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June each year.  

So what should you do (according to tradition) to celebrate your father/grandfather/stepfather etc on Father’s Day? That depends on what country you’re from.

In some regions in Germany it’s traditional for groups of men to go into the woods with beer, wine, meat (a barbecue in other words) and have a good time relaxing and drinking. 

In Mexico some father’s take part in the 21km race in Mexico City – the “Carrera Dia del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan”. (Personally I’m sure most fathers would prefer breakfast in bed than a grueling running race on their special day, but each to their own.)

In Thailand the King gives an annual speech and it is traditional for Thais to give their fathers and grandfathers the Canna flower, which is thought to have masculine associations.  

Whatever country you’re from, the general consensus is that on Father’s Day, fathers should get a treat of some kind. Whether that is being taken out for a meal, a gift, a card, or even just a phone call to say “thanks and I’m thinking of you”.  

(In Bath for Father’s Day? We can recommend Sunday lunch at the Boater, a round of golf at Bath pitch and putt course at Entry Hill, or an afternoon at the Bath Festival of Motoring which is on this weekend.)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bed, Breakfast, Bath, and Theatre!

A top night out for anyone coming to Bath has to be taking in a show at Bath’s beautiful Theatre Royal...

With this is mind, and given as how the new season’s programme for the Theatre Royal has just been released, we thought we’d dedicate this week’s blog post to giving you a run-down of the shows that are sure to sell-out fast.  

Driving Miss Daisy
Wednesday 6th September – Saturday 9th September
You might have seen it as a film, but it doesn’t compare to seeing it on the stage. This new production (with Dame Sian Phillips and RSC actor Derek Griffiths) bring such great levels of emotion and depth to the story of the life-altering friendship between 72-year-old widow Daisy Werten and her African American chauffeur Hoke Colburn in 1950s Atlanta.

The Real Thing
Monday 18th September – Saturday 30th September
This play shows off playwright Tom Stoppard’s writing at its dazzling, tender, and witty best. “A play that reminds you why you go to the theatre and why you fall in love. And why, sometimes, it is all worth the effort.” – The Spectator. Starring Laurence Fox, The Real Thing is a modern classic. 

How The Other Half Loves
Monday 2nd October – Saturday 7th October
Only a short stay for this production, so if you’re a fan of Alan Ayckbourn’s plays this is one to book up fast. This tale of matrimonial mishaps was London’s funniest comedy of 2016, and follows Bob and Fiona who, while trying to cover up their affair, manage to trap William and Mary Featherstone in the middle of the confusion. This makes the two following dinner parties utter utter disasters (but very funny for all who are not involved).

A Judgement in Stone
Monday 20th November – Saturday 25th November
Agatha Christie’s novels always do incredibly well when performed as stage adaptations, so with this taste for classic thrillers in the theatre in mind Simon Brett and Anthony Lampard have taken Ruth Rendell’s hugely popular A Judgement in Stone, and adapted it for the stage. In brief; Eunice joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper, but before long the deeply-buried reason for her awkwardness, which has stopped her from fitting in for so many years, is revealed. With dire consequences.  

The Play That Goes Wrong
Monday 12th February – Saturday 17th February
Back again following a sold-out run in Bath earlier this year, The Play That Goes Wrong won the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy; the 2015 Broadway World UK award for Best New Play; and is currently “causing chaos” on Broadway. The New York Times called it “a gut-busting hit”. Sometimes plays don’t deserve all the hype they garner. This one really really does. If you can get a ticket to see this amazing farce, do it!

So, to sum up; with so many fantastic plays coming up later this year, it’s surely time to book a stay with us at Dukes Hotel and partake of a weekend (or mid-week) theatre break… Yes?