I absolutely love a good supper club – there’s something exciting about a menu that’s a little bit different, that you can’t get on any old evening but that you have to make a date with, made even more intriguing by the fact that you often don’t know what’s going to be served before you get there. I like that aspect of being told what to eat too – as I’ve mentioned many a time on this blog, I really appreciate a chef who doesn’t give me a choice but just serves up his or her very best dishes. You take a chance on a supper club, sure, but there’s always the tantalising possibility that you’re going to discover something utterly fabulous – and with The Second Breakfast Club, that’s exactly what happened.
The Second Breakfast Club (yes, fellow nerds, it is a Tolkien reference) is basically a supper club, but without the supper – instead, they’re all about brunch. It’s a brunch that’s a little heavier on the lunch than the breakfast, so don’t expect five courses of avo toast and pancakes, but there are certainly breakfast elements in there. At the moment, it’s happening once a month in the gorgeously refurbished surroundings of The Curfew, and the menu changes every time, but if next month is anywhere near as good as the food we tried, you’ll definitely be wanting a ticket.
|The interior decor at The Curfew is a beautiful blend of old and new|
I’d never been to The Curfew before, and I’m told that once upon a time it was a bit of an old-school boozer, but over the past two years its new owners have transformed the place. The downstairs bar is relaxed but stylish, with high ceilings and huge windows to let the light pour in, painted wooden panelling, mirrors framed in old-gold gilt, and exquisite William Morris style wallpaper. Up the narrow wooden stairs, the second floor is cosier, with a big leather sofa piled with velvet cushions and walls lined with books (even if, on closer inspection, this turns out to be just the spines of the books glued to the wall, and not an actual library – just as well really, or bookworms like me would be badly distracted from the conversations at hand).
|I have to admit, as a bookworm, this hurts my heart a little bit|
One half of the Second Breakfast team, Bella, was there to welcome us as we arrived, and her cheery, chatty hosting throughout is a big part of what gives this brunch club such a lovely atmosphere. Her partner Connor, meanwhile, is the one in the kitchen, and I have to admit that I was seriously impressed by his menu, which stars all sorts of brilliant local produce. We started with warm cheese scones, made with courgette and parsley, and topped with a light and fluffy cloud of lemon ewes curd from Homewood Cheeses – an absolute flavour explosion, with the gorgeous creamy richness of the cheese perfectly balanced by a generous kick of lemon. I’m a huge fan of a cheese scone, and this is one of the best I’ve had – my mouth is watering just remembering it.
|Scrumptiously crispy, juicy sardines with salsa verde|
Our next dish was preceded into the room by the most scrumptious aroma, so I knew it was going to be good. Crispy, juicy grilled sardines were served on a bed of watercress with zingy salsa verde, fresh chilli and a squeeze of lime juice – a delightfully fresh and summery dish, perfect with a doorstep of freshly-baked bread (from the Warmley Bakehouse) thickly spread with butter. It’s incredibly hard to pick a favourite from this menu, but this one would definitely be competing for the top spot. My husband isn’t very keen on sardines and even though I knew there were three more courses to come, I couldn’t help polishing off half of his too – a seriously good sign.
|A fry-up made in heaven|
Course number three, however, blew both of us away – partridge bacon and confit partridge leg, with slow-roasted tomatoes, smoked mushrooms and parmentier potatoes, it was like a fry-up that had died and gone to heaven. Larkhall Butchers had supplied the raw materials, but Connor had cured and created the partridge bacon (something I’ve never tried before) himself, and it was amazing – far from your usual rasher, and yet unmistakeably bacon-like. The smoked mushrooms were also a definite highlight, but the combination of all the flavours together – earthy, smoky, meaty, with the juicy tang of the tomatoes – was just glorious.
|Bath Soft rarebit with a perfectly-cooked egg|
Course number four was another slightly more breakfasty number, a rarebit with gooey melted slices of Bath Soft Cheese and sweet garlic pickle, topped with a grilled egg. I must confess this was probably my least favourite – I love a bit of Bath Soft, but the addition of a fairly pungent garlic flavour was a little bit much for me. Still, the egg was perfectly cooked and went beautifully with the cheese, and we were certainly in no danger of vampire attack for the rest of the day…
|A perfect little pudding to finish|
Finally, we finished our meal with a dessert course: a little Portuguese custard tart with ginger, coffee mascarpone and fresh raspberries, washed down with coffee from The Colombian Co. This was another contender for my favourite dish – I’m not usually a huge ginger fan, but something about the combination of it with the coffee was exactly right. A balance had been struck just so between the two flavours so that there was no overwhelming fire from the ginger, it just punched up the rich smokiness of the coffee – an ideal counterpart for the creamy custard tart.
Absolutely stuffed, we slumped back in our chairs for a final cup of tea before walking home very, very slowly for a long nap – is there a better way to spend a Saturday than on brunch, walks and naps? I don’t think so. We had an outstanding meal and a wonderful experience, and I confidently predict that the Second Breakfast Club is going to be a bit of a sensation in Bath – so go and grab yourself a ticket now.