In this Somerset town known for indie shops, a makeover of a former grocery has fabulous French food and fuss-free rooms
St Catherine’s Quarter in Frome looks like the set for an English rom-com. Winding cobbled streets lead towards the river, flanked by old stone buildings or pastel-painted antique shops – no chain stores in sight. There’s a working gas lamp dedicated to St Valentine, with a renovated George V postbox attached, and a love seat nearby, all clearly waiting for Richard Curtis to call “Action.”
At the top of the hill, on Catherine Street, the words “Grocery and Provision Stores” are scrolled in gold on the facade of what is now a restaurant. Step inside and all signs of English market town disappear: Bistro Lotte is a decidedly French affair. It’s Friday lunchtime and the boho clientele (I spy a man with a Dalí-esque moustache, while others have popped in after walking the dogs) are tucking into moules-frites and carafes of wine.