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Ian Waller and his family enjoy a lunch at one of Bath’s funkiest cafes

We all know that teenagers don’t do mornings, particularly Saturday mornings, so the best chance of spending some time with two of my three children (the third was skateboarding) was helped by the promise of lunch at this very funky cafe I know in Bath. That’s how come we all turned up at the Cafe By The Furnace on Walcot Street last weekend and enjoying a meal together.

The Cafe By The Furnace is part of Bath Aqua Glass, located next door to The Bell Inn, and home of some of the most glorious and beautiful hand made glass that you’ll find. I’ve been a regular at the cafe since is opened last year – it’s a great place for a quick take away sandwich or a quiet lunch, and ideal for catching up with friends and business colleagues too. The set menu of toasted sandwiches, paninis and ciabattas is supported by a daily soup of the day (the potato and leak is superb) along with a selection of cakes, drinks and snacks.

The cafe’s funky interior gives you a chance to check out the glassware that is available to buy

While the outside seating was tempting, we preferred to the inside option, allowing my 11 year and me to watch the glass blowing that takes place every day while our toasted sandwiches and drinks were prepared by Carly, the ever-cheerful cafe manager. The cafe is wonderfully stylish with coloured glass ornaments and a windows providing a perfectly relevant backdrop, and racks of artisan wines and beers available to buy and take home for a weekend treat.

Slim, one of the glass artisans, was only too happy to answer my youngest’s machine gun style questions, including how the different colours are worked into the glass, how different pieces are stuck together and what happens to all the breakages. Just in case you’re want to get more hands-on, workshops are available for members of the public to try their hands at glass blowing, creating stained glass, making paperweights and more.

Chances are that you will get to see the skill glass craftspeople at work

We were soon beckoned back to our table by my daughter announcing that the freshly made toasties had arrived – brie and onion for me, and cheese and ham for both of the children, with salad on the side. I say salad on the side, my youngest gave it one disapproving look and ask for another plate to deposit it on! Well, he is 11…

In fact, like all of the food, the salad was simple but perfectly prepared and served, with the sandwiches similarly fulfilling. In fact, my youngest proclaimed that his was the best toasted sandwich he had ever tasted, and proving it finishing it off in double quick time! With the chat moving from exams (we’re taking mid-GCESs season for so many Year 10s), holidays and shoe-shopping, what followed was a very relaxing and enjoying hour or so of family time, extended slightly by a very decent lemon drizzle cake for me (seriously, the slices are very generous) as well as a second cup of tea and fizzy drinks for the children.

You’ll find the Cafe By The Furnace on Walcot Street next to The Bell Inn

By the time it was time to wander back into town, with my daughter set on buying shoes (and me off to Poundland to but some temporary reading glasses as I’d left mine at home!), we’d enjoyed a chatty and very reasonably priced family lunch, complete with glass blowing Q&A thrown in and some ideas for my birthday next month from that rack of posh wines. What’s more, a glass blowing experience makes a pretty amazing Father’s Day gift. Just saying…