|The legendary Chandelier of Lost Earrings|
Great Pulteney Street is one of Bath’s most beautiful spots – the view from Laura Place, down the stately thoroughfare to the elegant frontage of the Holburne Museum, is utterly iconic. At 100ft wide, it’s the grandest street in Bath, and it’s always been the home of sophisticated and lovely hotels – in fact, the Holburne itself (set in lush, green Sydney Gardens) was once the Sydney Hotel, with its own concert hall and ballroom. No 15 Great Pulteney is the newest addition, and it’s a fabulous mix of elegance and eccentricity, full of creative, quirky touches from all sorts of local artists and designers. For owners Ian & Christa Taylor, it’s all about finding ways to show a sense of fun and adventure, and it makes No 15 completely unique. My absolute favourite talking point is the Chandelier of Lost Earrings – a fantastical, glittering work of art made with a treasure trove of orphaned earrings. Locals were asked to donate any earrings that had lost their pair, and they were repurposed into this fabulous centrepiece that hangs in the lobby. There’s something a little poignant about all these lonely pieces of jewellery getting their chance to shine again, and the result is completely stunning.
|Classic brunch: Eggs Florentine with spinach & hollandaise|
Of course, given that I live about ten minutes away, I haven’t stayed in the hotel yet (although to be honest, I’m considering it, especially after someone told me about the pantry full of midnight snacks for guests). But when I was invited down to try their new brunch menu, I jumped at the chance. Café 15 is a beautiful dining room decorated with hundreds of jewel-bright vintage glass bottles, and old-fashioned kitchenware from gleaming copper pots and pans to a statement wall of antique handwhisks (I told you, this is a singular place). They now serve a full menu from breakfast to dinner, and on Sundays, a very special brunch. It’s not for the faint-hearted, offering three hearty courses at a seriously good price of £25, or £37 with bottomless booze – so it’s perfect for a long, lazy meal on a Sunday when you want to relax and catch up with friends.
|Prosecco in the gorgeous Cafe 15|
We started with tall engraved flutes of prosecco and a wonderful buffet for the first course, piled high with warm pastries, charcuterie and cheese, smoked salmon, and platters of bright, fresh salads. Knowing we had two more courses to go, I restrained myself (with difficulty), but I will say that the chocolate chip muffins were absolutely exquisite, perfectly light and fluffy. One person at our table (I will mention no names) had FOUR.
For our main course, we ordered from the menu, and I chose shakshuka – in my opinion, it’s the ideal brunch dish, balanced neatly between breakfast and lunch. If you haven’t tried it yet, shakshuka (or chakchouka, sometimes – I think it depends where you’re from) consists of eggs poached in a dish of tomatoes, peppers, onions and beans, with plenty of spice, often served up in a sizzling cast-iron skillet. The No 15 version comes with lashings of sour cream and guacamole, and the combination was completely delicious. My dining companions went variously for a minute steak with fries and a fried egg, a full English breakfast, and Eggs Florentine with spinach and buttery hollandaise – but I have to say, I think I made the best choice.
|Sizzling shakshuka (before I piled on all the guacamole)|
Feeling pretty full by this point, but undeterred, we soldiered on to dessert – served with tea or coffee, of course, and the most beautiful, elegant silver tea service. My Eton Mess with fresh basil leaves was light and delicious, and I also really liked the chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream and nuggets of golden honeycomb (a great benefit of being a reviewer is you get to try everybody else’s choices, as well, ‘for research’). The dessert menu changes all the time but promises ‘nostalgic classics’ – nothing better when it comes to desserts, as far as I’m concerned.
|One of Cafe 15’s nostalgic classics, the ice cream sundae|
After three courses, we were completely and utterly stuffed – this brunch menu is an absolute feast, to be taken on only when sufficiently ravenous. The great thing about brunch though is you can take it slow, and just while away a few hours chilling out and indulging. Is there a better way to spend a Sunday? I don’t think so.