This friendly continental-style café/bar started out as a tiny ground-floor establishment with a large ‘hidden’ basement, but such was its word-of-mouth success that Friends of Ham quickly expanded next door. The space is now big and open, with long wooden tables that are ideal for groups and seats at both the bar and window that make cosy date spots. The décor is simple, but this is in tune with the vibe at Friends of Ham, which is distinctly neighbourly and easy-going. Staff are always ready with a smile and nothing is too much trouble.
The impressive menu of charcuterie and cheeses includes hand-carved Serrano Gran Reserva, Jésus du Pays Basque salami with rum, and exquisite ibérico bellota alongside buttery Kirkham’s Lancashire, French Brie de Meaux or tangy blue Stichelton. The majority of products are available to takeaway and the team can also make up a hamper of your choice using any products in the deli, including over 100 bottled beers.
If you choose to eat in, we’d recommend the raclette dish, made using Ogleshield for a British version of the French classic, served melted over potatoes with sharp cornichons cutting through the richness. That said, you can’t go wrong with a simple ham sandwich here (served with Carne Salata, cheddar, pickle relish and whole grain mustard).
Brunch dishes are similarly inspired, with the likes of Bath chaps (hot-smoked pig’s cheek) with poached eggs on sourdough, Spanish smoked mackerel on toast with cream cheese and lemon, and garlic and truffle mushrooms on toast.
As well as charcuterie and cheeses, Friends of Ham also specialises in craft beer and wine. The reasonably-priced, predominantly European wine list is available by the glass, carafe or bottle, along with various lagers, ales and porters. Sharing platters make FOH ideal for groups, though booking for tables of four or more is advised.