You have to give it to Bill’s, their staff training is excellent. This was our third visit to their Bath branch and on each occasion, we’ve been completely impressed with the standard of service from everyone on the team, from the person welcoming us on the door, to the waiting staff and the, yes, the chefs too.
In case you’re not familiar, Bill’s on Cheap Street is one of those chain of family restaurants that abound throughout the city. What helps Bill’s to stand out though, is that we’ve always been impressed with our meals there, so when the chance came for an early evening family dinner out, we were all keen on a return visit.
Being a sunny Saturday afternoon, town was busy and we were glad to have pre-booked our table. There’s a relaxed atmosphere to Bill’s, with the tables surrounded by shelves of funky look food to buy alongside bunches of dried chillies and peppers adding splashes of colour. The menu is pretty thorough, offering a choice from starters, sharers, steaks, burgers and sides, plus a children’s menus with a few additions to the old dependables of hamburgers, chicken burgers, bangers and mash and fish fingers.
We were all well peckish, so got straight on with the ordering, the boys going for the fish fingers and steak and chips from the children’s menu (both £6.95 and coming complete with a juice drink and a choice of puddings), while their older sister chose the 10oz sirloin (£18.50), their mum the Thai Green Chicken Curry (£13.25) and me the 14oz ribeye (£21.95). We also added in a couple of starters of crispy calamari (£6.75) and golden fried pork sesame dumplings (£5.95) to share.
Yes, you’re right, these aren’t cheapo prices, but from early visits, we were confident that the food would be worth the price. And you know, we were right. While the boys enjoyed the tortillas and veggie sticks that came as part of their set menu, the calamari and dumpings were gorgeous, indeed the latter being far better than a similarly described purchase picked by my daughter and I at a specialist oriental chain diner a couple of weeks earlier.
The great thing about the surroundings at Bill’s is that, between courses, while the boys were given a couple of colouring sheets supplied by the restaurant to keep them busy for a minute or two, there was plenty of chat to be had about what the different foods on display were, and how to prepare and eat them. Quite how this developed into an impromptu game of ‘guess which of these was a real 1980s rock band name and which were made up by dad’, I’m not sure. Hickory Tip anyone?
Anyway, back to the food, and when the mains appeared, we were confident that the prices were worth it. While the boys indulged with the enthusiasm of growing lads keen to move on to the dessert menu, the rest of us were somewhat more restrained. Both Evie and I agreed that our steaks were superb – flavoursome and beautifully cooked, and ideally accompanied by skinny chips and pea shoots. Meanwhile, Ellen’s Thai green curry was rewarded with nods of keen satisfaction, no doubt aided by a relief that here at least was one meal that hadn’t been accompanied by moans from the children.
No, it wasn’t all perfect. The peas that accompanied the boys’ meals were way overcooked, Ellen’s coconut rice seemed to be missing any sign of the close contact with a coconut and my glass of Rioja was decidedly on the small side. But to be fair, these were minor distractions. The meals were excellent and absolutely appreciated all round.
So how do you follow a excellent main course? Well, if you’re a bit on the greedy side, with what will hopefully be an excellent puddings. With Ellen choosing to just go for a cup of coffee, Evie and I prefered the melting chocolate bombe (£6.95), and the boys the warm cinnamon doughnuts (£5.95) from the main menu. Enough to say, there wasn’t much left on any of the plates afterwards, although incredibly the boys still tried their luck, unsuccessfully, by asking for ice creams on the walk home…
I have to say, what a success. Top service, excellent food and happy children all combined for a really enjoyable family meal out. Nice one Bill’s.
For more information on Bill’s, click here.