4 North Parade Passage,
Meeting celebrities is nearly always disappointing, as Lily
discovered when she was chatted up by Hugh Jackman in a lift the
Sally Lunn's has become had become a bit an institution in Bath and
has claim - apparently not undisputed - to being one of the oldest
houses in the city. It seems to have built a reputation in the States
too as a purveyor of "authenticity" and "olde worlde English charm"
and so remains full, from the moment it opens to the moment it
closes, with camera-wielding Americans couples in matching
Regatta hiking boots and fleeces. In deference to the proprietors,
they certainly know their market and give the masses what they
want but the seemingly endless popularity says more about the low
expectations of the clientele than the excellence of either the
service of the food.
The tea - served in metal pots and drunk from generic china -
arrived as Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' started on its second repeat.
They rather cruelly dress up their waitresses in Victorian maid
costumes (why, please?) so it was harldy surprising that ours
couldn't even muster a smile. Two buns, thick cream and Tiptree on
a large plate, and knock us down with a feather if they don't pull
out all the presentation stops and land a slice of dry orange on the
side of your paper doily!
The (in)famous bun-like scones are pretty heavy going; if you don't
like them (and we can't see why you would when you've paid £3 for
something that looks and tastes like it comes from Gregs the
Bakers) then they can be put to better use clubbing to death anyone
who describes the surroundings as "quaint" or "genuine". In actual
fact it's neither and it killed us to hear people talking in foreign
accents about being English when devouring perfectly ordinary fare
at inflated prices.