Sam’s Kitchen Deli, Frome
It's been described as Ottolenghi meets country kitchen - see what you think
People have been talking about the arrival of Sam’s Kitchen Deli in Frome for months – and at last it’s here. Owner Sam has top credentials, with experience at Soho House and At the Chapel in Bruton and of course, his award-winning Bath restaurant of the same name – so I couldn’t wait to try it out. It’s open from 8am for breakfast but I’m always in the gym first thing *coughs*, so a friend and I decided on lunch…
First up, it’s in a plum location, on the corner of Stony Street and Palmer Street at the bottom and looking up towards the famous cobbled Catherine Hill and all its quirky indy shops.
The urban feel of the exterior continues inside with stripped-back walls and floor, factory lighting, iron stairs, metal grills, plus some rustic roughly hewn wooden tables but the cushions on the banquette seating are covered in soft, brushed linen and very comfortably plump.
The chefs do their thang in the open-plan kitchen towards the back.
For one of the best views in Frome, head up to iron staircase to the loft-style first floor lounge/bar which has floor-to-ceiling windows all along one side, tall stalls to perch on and a sofa and comfy chairs for slouching. There’s a piano up there too, so if the mood takes you…
Sam himself was around, friendly and very hands-on: waiting tables, helping a mum with a pushchair, hugging plates…
Lots to tempt on the lunch menu, from a beetroot soup and a grilled chicken sandwich to a charcuterie and cheese board and a warming lamb tagine. I love lamb but someone had nabbed the last of the tagine, so I chose the lamb shoulder, melted red onions, feta and rocket pizza baked in the wood-fired oven – a good, deliciously cinnamony, decision.
Two huge and crispy ham croquettes stuffed with proper baked ham came with a home-made piccalilli of crunchy green beans, peppers, sweetcorn and courgette, which had just the right amount of tanginess to complement the sweetness of the ham.
The warm cauliflower, fennel, hazelnuts, coriander, cinnamon and pomegranate seed salad (Ottolenghi is an inspiration) was generous – throw in a hunk of bread and you’ve got yourself a meal. Loving the artisan bowls.
Puddings were ordered ‘for the blog’ (great excuse, eh?) and a lemon and berry tart with a good dollop of creme fraiche and a giant cube of sticky toffee pudding topped with ice cream swiftly arrived – and just as quickly disappeared. Yumyumyumyum.
Overall, a fab place: the decor and ambience are cool and I really enjoyed the lunch, so just looking in the diary to see when I can come back for dinner.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Breakfast on the way to work (or a breakfast meeting?). Shoppers – you’re right in the heart of town and the lunch menu’s perfect for sharing with a friend or two. There’s loads of room for larger groups around long tables. Parents with younger kids will like the relaxed no frills atmos and space (and they’ve got highchairs). Drinks after work or for an evening out in the funky upstairs bar and lounge.
Not for: This a feelgood place, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it here, although there aren’t many cosy corners for secret rendezvous.
£££: Good value. Lunch starts at £6 for a grilled sarnie and goes up to £10 for the tagine. Sides are £4. Mixed charcuterie and cheese board £15. Pizzas £9 and £12 (£6 kids). Puds £5.
Open 7 days a week for breakfasts, lunch and dinner, coffee and booze. Mon-Sat 8am-11pm and Sun 9am-5pm.
Sam’s Kitchen Deli 8 Stony Street, Frome BA11 1BU. Tel. 01373 466949. samskitchendeli.co.uk