I wonder how many people have walked along Park Street not even realising that down a small alleyway on the left as you walk down on the left hand side of the road is a hidden wonder. Take a stroll through the narrow alleyway and you arrive in a small courtyard, a real sun trap in the summer. Venture further and you find the Folk House, an adult education centre and self-funded charity which can trace its history back to 1870.
Its current building was opened in 1964, and today provides a huge variety of courses from languages to dancing, bicycle maintenance to beadwork. The Folk House’s reputation is already secure, but the reputation of its cafe and bar is still growing.
For the last four years, The Folk House Café has been run by Liz Haughton, sister of Barny from Bordeaux Quay fame. Like Bordeaux Quay, the food is organic and local, with some of the ingredients coming from as near as the garden by the front door.
The café space is a delightful area. There are bottles of homemade jam for sale in one corner of the bar, 18 different types of tea are available for perusal nearby, and a mini grand piano sits in one corner of the room next to a battered old sofa.
The menu contains simple, organic food. My friend Tom, who was kindly buying me lunch (there’s a first for everything) plumped for the organic beef burger with homemade bread and salad (£6.95), and declared that he has never eaten anything that tasted so healthy, more used to burgers dripping in fat seved in processed buns rather than his own burger that came with tasty wholemeal bread.
My own selection was a Mediterranean lamb casserole with garlic mash (£7.50), a quite sublime creation; the lamb juicy, the mash like wispy clouds on a summer’s day.
For pudding, we shared two muffins,apricot jam and almonds, and banana, both heavenly, and even better in the Folk House Café’s special cake and coffee for £2.70 deal.
We both had organic lemonade to drink, but if we were feeling a little more adventurous we could have tried the Bath Ales Gem and Bounders on tap or bottles of Bristol Beer Factory Gold and Milk Stout. When these are the bottled selections, you know you have come to a fine establishment, even better when Ian Brown and David Bowie appear on the stereo.
If you haven’t already discovered the little alleyway off Park Street that leads to the Folk House, go and discover it now. And if Native American Hopi ear candle treatment is not your cup of tea, have a real cup of tea and try the food in the delightful Folk House Café.
The Folk House Café, 40A Park Street. 0117 908 5035.