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Ian Waller and his wife enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Bath’s best terraced outdoors dining areas

Shh, don’t tell the children, but my wife and I recently popped out for a cheeky lunch together without the (now not so) little ones in tow. It almost felt like a guilty act but you know, we both deserved a treat and the children were at school anyway, so it was too good a chance to ignore.

The venue was the The Bird on Pulteney Road in Bath, a wonderfully stylish hotel and restaurant that is part of the same group that owns Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa on the road to Warminster and Homewood in Freshford. We’ve dined at both Homewood and Bishopstrow before and the meals each time were fantastic – with a special nod to the cream teas at Bishopstrow – so we had reason to be optimistic about The Bird.

Now one of the big appeals about The Bird is its gorgeous new outside terrace dining area, complete with dining domes, a private room that’s ideal for parties and a view out over Bath towards the Rec, home of city’s rugby team. We were thinking about it and couldn’t come up with very many decent outdoor eating spots in central Bath, so this special spot on the edge of Bath is bound to be popular for summer dining, as well as post-work drinks or a weekend meet-up with friends.

Right from our arrival, the welcome by the team at The Bird couldn’t have been friendlier. With the sun shining, we were shown to the terrace and given the choice of outside seating or one of the domes, before being handed a very tempting menu and left to our decisions.

OK, yes, small plates were available, including a soup of the day with chef’s bread (£6), truffle goat’s cheese croquettes, beetroot and pickled walnut salsa (£7) and smoked coronation chicken parfait (£8), all of which were very tempting. But then, a busy school run meant that we’d both missed breakfast and anyway, this was a treat, so we honed in on the aptly named ‘big plates’.

The choice was pretty impressive, covering meat, fish and vegetarian options, but for me the garlic and rosemary roasted lamb rump, confit potatoes, baby gem, smoked bacon and peas (£25) beckoned with evangelical fervour, while my wife preferred the Cornish sea bass fillet, niçoise potatoes, roasted fennel and chive butter (£22).

While we waited, we sneaked a quick look inside at the Plate restaurant which offers a really quirky yet beautifully designed dining environment – great colours and patterns without being distracting, and even a private dining area for small groups. In fact, it’s just the place for family gatherings, celebration meals or even business get togethers.

Our host for lunch was restaurant manager James, who explained that the The Bird’s restaurant makes a real effort to source local food wherever possible, and is constantly looking to change and adapt its menu for each season. When it came to drinks, I asked James to suggest a good wine to accompany the lamb, with his choice of a Chilean Merlot (£8) hitting the spot with an expert’s aim. For my wife’s fish, he suggested the Picpoul de Pinet (£8 a glass).

Now we can be quite picky diners – after all, if you’re eating out, you want it to be memorable for all the right reasons. Fortunately, our meal at The Bird really was excellent – in fact, absolutely faultless and delicious with it. Each element of both dishes was perfectly prepared and beautifully presented, with ideal portions for an indulgent lunch that had to be followed by a busy afternoon’s parenting duties. The lamb was pink to perfection, while the fresh flavours of the gem and peas ideally suited the smoked bacon. This was a meal I could have happily eaten again and again, perfectly partnered with James’ choice of wine and wonderfully indulgent for a midweek meal treat.

Similarly, my wife’s sea bass was moist and flavoursome, cooked with a light touch and ideally accompanied by the niçoise potatoes and roasted fennel.

Did we go for the dessert as well? Yes, of course we did – after all, it’s always nigh impossible to turn down the chance of sticky toffee pudding, with clotted cream and sticky sauce (£8) and warm chocolate cake, caramel sauce and Greek yoghurt sorbet (£8). And already somewhat predictably, the result was excellent.

There was just about time for a cup of tea and an Americano before we started thinking about being home in time for the children.

So how good was the lunch experience? Very good indeed. The food and setting were excellent, the service top rate and there’s even somewhere to park the car. Now the plan is to return with the children as well, perhaps for one of the stream of family birthdays appearing on the horizon.