By Eloise Sacares, Chloe Coules, and Elie Breton De Loys
Roots and Shoots – 9/10
Roots and Shoots is a plant-based cafe conveniently situated by the train station, just opposite the U1 Dorchester Street stop. Despite this, I had no idea it existed until I started researching for this piece, which is a real shame, as the food and coffee we received was absolutely delicious. Roots and Shoots’ speciality appears to be their ‘boxes’, a mix of dishes which you can eat in or get to take away. I got the fusion box, which they were happy to modify slightly to suit my soy intolerance. It consisted of BBQ jackfruit, quinoa and roasted vegetable salad, some beans and vegan coleslaw, and some of the most beautiful hummus and falafel I’ve ever tried. All of these dishes were incredibly tasty, with the exception of the coleslaw, which was a bit sweet for my liking. The bowl was finished off with a handful of sweet and normal roasted potatoes, which made it truly complete, and meant you were left feeling both fully satisfied but also nourished by the incredible variety of different kinds of plant-based foods. Elie got the taster box – consisting of the same dishes but sub the jackfruit with mac and cheese, which really stood out as the cafe’s speciality. If you’re looking for something a bit simpler – they also offer the mac and cheese on its own or wraps with just the BBQ jackfruit or sweet potato falafel – however we both agreed that what really made this meal special was the variety, so the boxes would definitely be our recommendation. The staff were very welcoming – but we’d recommend you go with only a few friends or in summer as there isn’t much space indoors for groups. In conclusion, If you’re looking for a nice coffee place that offers great vegan options, Roots and Shoots is the place for you.
Cascara Bath – 7/10
Cascara Bath is a local, plant based cafe, situated a bit deeper into town – just above the Corridor. The minimalist decor was beautiful; we sat at a table next to a row of cacti, which gave the place a real sense of character; it’s certainly an instagrammable location. We went for breakfast, and started with a lovely oat milk latte, and a smoothie. When the waitress caught me wistfully staring at the smoothie menu unable to decide, she helpfully suggested I could swap out an ingredient – so I opted for the ‘Love Me’ without the pineapple. It felt nourishing and healthy rather than overly sweet, which some pure fruit smoothies can be, and so perfectly hit the spot for breakfast time. However, the food, while pleasant, could have done with some improvements. We got the smoky beans, which while would make for a nice warming dish perfect for an early lunch on a cold day, felt too heavy/spicy for a breakfast item, being more resemblant of a five bean chilli than a light brunch dish. This could have certainly been helped however, simply by some sour cream or guac to balance out the acidity and spice – there is an option to add avocado and we both agreed we would do that in the future. The sourdough it came on however was great and was accompanied by a nice butter alternative. We also got the porridge of the day, which was mixed berry flavour and comes topped with banana and mixed seeds. The presentation was beautiful but the porridge itself was quite bland, and while using rolled oats gave it a nice texture, I prefer my porridge to be more thick and creamy. I opted for the add-on of almond butter; which went very nicely with the banana and helped to make it less bland, however more berries in the actual porridge to make it sweeter and more flavoursome would have still made a huge improvement. If you’re looking for a place for a morning healthy smoothie or coffee to study in, Cascara is the one, but food-wise, it was a little disappointing. Overall, Cascara while a beautiful location and good for a drink might not be the best option for food in town.
Courtyard Bath – 6/10
The Courtyard Café is situated in a colourful and eclectic little building, tucked away near the Abbey. The décor was cosy and inviting, and they had a great range of books and blankets to borrow. The Veggie Breakfast was served on a very nice sourdough, topped with avocado, peppers, mushroom and egg. This was a nice alternative to the usual offerings, although the peppers did overpower the dish and leave it feeling slightly sweet. The soup of the day was tomato and pepper and was served with rustic bread. We tried the goat’s cheese and onion marmalade panini, which was a delicious combination, although there was no need for it to contain peppers, which seemed to be a theme across the menu. The banoffee waffle was lighter than expected, and not too sickly – it would be perfect to share. Overall the food was different and enjoyable, although there was a tendency for the dishes to be on the sweet side due to the quantity of peppers used. It is important to note that there were no vegan options on the menu, and whilst they seemed willing to remove ingredients from some dishes there is no guarantee that they could provide for a vegan diet, this is an unusual gap in the menu for a café in Bath, and provides a stark contrast to the other two independent cafes we tasted which were both entirely plant based. However, we would definitely go back for a coffee and a waffle.