Sally Lunn's - Bath Food Review
Posted on: 2017-04-25
Sally Lunn’s is a great journey not only for the taste buds but for the mind!
Sally Lunn buns are world-famous light and airy semi-sweet breads. The café itself is the oldest house in Bath, built in 1482 and still looking a lot like it did a century ago. Sally Lunn started making her famous buns in 1680 when she was employed by a baker, whom she introduced her French-inspired recipes to. She of course would have had no idea how famous her buns would become, after the secret recipe was found in a cupboard in the 1930’s. The Sally Lunn buns of today are made using the original recipe, and we had to try some for ourselves and see what the oldest house in Bath was like on the inside!
Stepping into Sally Lunn’s is quite surreal, because you genuinely feel like you have stepped back in time a couple of hundred years. You have to duck your head in order to not hit the wooden beams, everything feels smaller and the staircases are very narrow, as I’m assuming people were smaller back then! I was seated in the corner of the well-sized downstairs floor café, so this gave me a chance to look around at all the historic ornaments and decor, and the ancient upholstery on the seating; this is definitely a place like no other. If the ground floor is busy there is also a further two floors of seating upstairs, which not many people know about.
The menu is extensive, much larger than I expected, as it’s not just a bun and butter that you can order. There’s a large range of savoury options, as well as sweet butters and even cream teas. Luckily for me, I was allowed to try a sample of several of the sweet butters so I would be able to tell you what they were all like. I tried a Sally Lunn bun with cinnamon butter, coffee & walnut butter and lemon curd. It was served with a little pot of clotted cream because I was told by the manager of the café that it goes extremely well with the lemon curd. It did indeed. I would never have thought to put lemon curd with clotted cream but it was a beautiful combination. Indulgent, creamy, sweet and tangy all at the same time and because the bun itself is light and airy, it was a perfect pairing.
The cinnamon butter is the most popular of all the sweet options and I could taste why. It was exactly the right amount of sweetness. The bun was so light it felt like I could eat so much of it, but after eating half a bun I was surprisingly full. Most of the dishes on the menu are made up of half a bun, so it’s a good-sized portion and the prices are very reasonable (around £4 for half a bun with choice of butter).
Once you have eaten you have the opportunity to mosey on down to the basement museum, which shows what it probably would have looked like when Sally Lunn was baking there (along with a life sized mannequin of Sally Lunn herself). Obviously it was a unique experience because it is rare that you walk into a café to have a bite to eat and get the chance to find out all about its history and actually see the way it would have looked originally. Sally Lunn’s is a great journey not only for the taste buds but for the mind!
It was nice to see it was busy with a mixture of tourists and locals, especially as it was a mid-morning week day. I’m ashamed to say I had never been before now especially as it is such an iconic feature of Bath. Whether you’re spending a weekend in the city, or just a few hours, you won’t get the whole Bath experience without going to Sally Lunn’s.
Born in Bath, Safia has lived on the outskirts of the city her whole life. After studying journalism in Bristol she now spends a lot of her time searching for new things to see in Bath and soaking up the beautiful culture. You're most likely to find her sipping a soya latte in a lovely little independent cafe! Call Safia on 07468 516375 or email editor@365Bath.com.