Saturday, 25 April 2015

From tiny Acorns great food grows

On Friday I was lucky enough to be treated to a birthday lunch at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen. Formally Demuths, and formally one of my favourite restaurants Acorn continues to deliver exceptional vegetarian food.

Under the ownership of Rachel Demuth's former head chef and front of house manager, Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen serves modern, exciting vegetarian food, in a contemporary setting in the heart of Bath city centre.

Following a recent refit, mainly centred on new kitchen equipment (including an all singing all dancing induction hob) but also including a new lick of paint and some beautiful copper industrial lighting, Acorn now feels like it's found its identity in every sense. Coming out from the shadow of Demuths was always going to be a risk - Rachel had run the restaurant since the mid 80's and it was widely recognised as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the UK. But the vegetarian accolade never did it justice. Demuths made the vegetables sing and Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen has taken this concept and elevated it to something even more special.

Based on the three principles of relaxing with friends, incredible ingredients from local artisans and food prepared with skill and served from the heart, Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen is truly a gem. I was there with a self confessed carnivore who commented that with food like this why would you ever need meat. This was shortly followed by "how do you make a carrot taste like that" - praise indeed!

It was here that I celebrated my five year anniversary, here that we asked our best friend to become godfather to little M. and here that I will continue to celebrate even when there's no occasion.
Happy, relaxed lunchtime customers
Good food served from the heart
Lovely new lights

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Pizza. On a Bike

On Tuesday Sarah and I literally stumbled across one of Bath's newest businesses, The Pizza Bike. Run by Angel and set up on an ordinary push bike, The Pizza Bike is a mobile pizza oven which will be set up in Bath on Tuesdays and Fridays at Green Park station.

Sarah and I often say that it is the creativity and ingenuity of the independent business owners of Bath that impresses us and this business is certainly no exception. We happened to catch Angel on his first day of trading in Bath and he happily chatted to us about his idea and talked us through how it all works. And boy does it work; not only is his idea economically and ecologically viable but the pizzas are really delicious and he has built the whole thing himself. 

Born out of a passion for mountain biking and a desire to eat more than BBQ food when exploring the bike trails The Pizza Bike has been in development since last year. Using only local organic ingredients and a sourdough base made from Spelty the sourdough starter, Angels's three pizzas are fantastic. Add to this a huge smile and an open attitude and you have a business that deserves to thrive. But be quick, he only has a six week pitch at Green Park Station. See you there tomorrow?

The Pizza Bike
Sarah chatting to Angel about the creation of The Pizza Bike
Angel making Sarah's pizza

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Be a guest writer for Independent Bath

Are you an indie owner? Do want to guest write for us? If so look no further because we would like to invite you to write a post for us about what matters to you.

Do you want to discuss the challenges and pitfalls of running an independent business? Do you want to talk about how you set your business up or what inspired you to take the leap from secure, paid employment into the world of self-employment. Do you want to tell us about how different,  unusual or even unique your business is? Or do you want to share some of your favourite indie businesses? Are you just starting out or have you been in the indie game for decades?

Whatever you want to talk about, please get in touch with your ideas...we welcome them all because we want this to be your platform as much as it is ours. The only thing we ask is that you address even your biggest challenges with positivity and optimism; we do not want this blog to become a space for negative soapboxing, but then I'm sure you don't either.

Drop us an email at and lets see what we can do together.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Bath Artisan Market

I feel a really strong synergy between what the guys at Bath Artisan market and us are trying to achieve. They too are giving a platform to to small independent creative is so that together they can shout louder.

On the second Sunday of every month in Bath's Green Park station, now the go-to place for markets in Bath, the Bath Artisan market springs to life with dozens of stallholders ranging from illustrators to makers of the finest award-winning chai. Catherine who runs the market was away today for the first time since the markets were set up 2 years ago but she left it in the capable hands of Emma and together they have pulled off another triumph.

This month is an even bigger and better spectacular than normal with the Artisan market teaming up with Beyond the Kale. If you've read this blog before, follow us on twitter or on Instagram it will not have escaped your attention that Sarah and I love this place!

It was great to meet so many amazing creators today. Yet again I am amazed by your creativity, and the diversity of your creations. 

Serenading the wile event this month was folk trio Kadio with tales of randy pirates and as we left a lovely little Daft Punk cover. This really is a special event but don't take my word for it - pop down! It's on from 10am-4pm on the second Sunday of every month so whether you need to buy a gift or you want to treat yourself to something original then this is the place for you.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Record shop woes

I (Erica) was sad to hear this week of yet another indie business being pushed out for re-development in what has become an all too familiar story. Rare and Racy in Sheffield's Independent Quarter has been in business since 1969 selling records and books and although I have never visited it, this is the kind of place I spent my teenage and Uni years in, pouring over the mixture of sixties, seventies and contemporary records. 

Bathonian lovers of music will no doubt remember the joys that were Replay, Rival and Nashers Music Store all of which were responsible for the spending of much of my saturday-earned wages (these and the flea market where I got my hands on some lovely sixties classic albums!). As the retail environment changed, and as music 'evolved' into the digital behemoth that it is now, these record businesses moved or downsized until they were no more. But Rare and Racy is so much sadder: this is a business with loyal regulars, widely recognised as central to Sheffield's indie quarter and yet forced into closure by imminent demolition. And all of this despite record numbers of signatures on a petition to the council. I can only imagine how sad the demolition of Southgate must have seemed, especially when it's replacement was unveiled. 

Spillers in Cardiff,  the oldest record shop in the world (its been open since 1894!), has since 2006 managed to cling on to its city centre location despite a massive regeneration of the surrounding area. Thanks to public support from welsh bands like the Manic Street Preachers, Spillers continues to provide a little indie haven amongst the high street behemoths.

But Spillers is rare. The Rare and Racy story really makes my heart swell as it is exactly businesses like record shops, businesses that trade on a niche passion, that seem to take the hardest hits of all. The teeny tiny silver lining is that Rare and Racy's tenancy may yet allow them two more years of trading in this, Sheffield's heartland, but only time will tell if they can weather the storm.