Ian Waller and his family enjoy a lunch out at a local cafe that’s about more than good food and smashing smoothies

Just occasionally I allow myself a midday treat. When work’s going OK or I need a well-deserved break, I nip up to Boston Tea Party on Alfred Street in Bath for lunch. The food is excellent, the service friendly, the wi-fi works well and best of all, it’s a cafe that seems to care about the community it serves.

So when I was recently in town with my wife and youngest son, we had no hesitation in pitching up to my favourite cafe for a spot of lunch.

As always, BTP was busy, with most of the booths and tables taken up with young families and couples lunching. The family element of BTP is really great, with youngsters and babies welcome, and a decent kids menu available that doesn’t rely on sausage and chips or chicken nuggets.

Taking one of the booths at the front of the restaurant, we were soon checking out the menu, which features only free range meat and eggs, alongside vegan, vegetarian, nut free, gluten free and wheat free choices. Even the milk is organic and the tea sourced from ethical suppliers.

While my treat of choice is the poached eggs, smoked salmon and sourdough toast – seriously gorgeous – I decided to move off the script for a change with the chorizo hash with poached eggs, mushrooms, spinach and roasted tomatoes (£8.95), and a raspberry and mango smoothie (£3.35). My wife, meanwhile, went for the Super Salad of avocado, mango, radish, sprouting seeds, sugar snap peas, leaves, carrots, nuts and seeds (£8.50) and Kefir Colada smoothie with pineapple, kefir milk, lime coconut water and honey (£3.35), with my youngest going for Scotched Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup (£7.35) and a banana and peanut butter smoothie – hold the peanut butter please (£3.35).

While we waited for our food to be freshly prepared, it was great to learn the BTP has recently banned all single use coffee cups, which is just such a great initiative and something it would be good to see other local eateries joining in with. This is all part of the Bristol-based chain sticking to its eco-friendly and socially conscious credentials which also sees all of its food waste recycled, spare food donated to organisations that work with vulnerable people, a donation point in the cafe for a local cafe and even the electricity to the cafe coming from a green supplier.

Back to ur lunches and the first to arrive where the shakes, complete with paper straws, and they were fantastic. My fruity one was full of flavour and just the right consistency, while my son soon sported the creamy white moustache of a happy drinker!

Minutes later the food turned up – good portions, nicely presented and perfectly prepared. My Chorizo Hash was excellent, with the poached eggs retaining their running, golden yolks, and combining well with the rest of elements. Similarly, my wife’s salad looked good and tasted good too, with my son had that satisfied silence that means the food’s tasty, I’m too busy to talk.

Around us, the other young families were happily chatting and lunching, a couple of guys opposite looked like they’d just sewn up a business deal with handshake and an agreement about who would pay for the coffees, and fair few students appeared to be fuelling their PC-based studies with smoothies and toasties. Throughout, the staff were smiling, friendly and professional, helping to create a most enjoyable dining experience.

OK, I wasn’t surprised that our family lunch was a success – I’m already a BTP fan and this latest visit only added to the good vibes. As a final act before we left, I bought a couple of chocolate brownies and a slice of lemon drizzle cake for us to enjoy at home later in the day. Actually, mine didn’t actually make it home – it was happily consumed before we were even half way there – after all, you can’t keep a decent brownie waiting…

There’s a lot to like about the Boston Tea Party and I was glad to share the good experience with my family.