A tentative "5" because the format might not appeal to everybody (lunch will take a couple of hours and it is a set menu though my veggie friends have enjoyed meals there too).
About a month ago I used the Tripadvisor app to look at restaurants in Bath (just out of interest, as a local). I saw the number of glowing reviews and thought "yeah, right"!...It didn't seem like a great location but made a mental note to give it a try one day when we had a couple of hours free. Yes, you will need a couple of hours+
On a very wet Thursday morning in April we were able to get a table without any trouble that lunchtime (but I would book to go again). The chef cooked for 5 (on 3 tables) that lunchtime. It's a small, thin, unstuffy restaurant on a bend on one of the main roads out of Bath and the chefs operate from one end of the room behind a 1/2 wall. I have never sat for more than a few minutes watching traffic before; it was strangely hypnotic (or was that the great food and wine?).
The 5 course taster menu (an absolute steal at £25, but I think the price is rising to £30) was fantastic. Wines seemed to hover at the £33-£40 mark (several were also available by the glass) and the waitress suggested that she selected glasses of wine to match the food (3 good-sized glasses came in at £20 - the couple next to us went for a desert wine too).
Apart from the smell of meat searing when we walked through the door (which we soon guessed would be lamb of some sort), we were left in suspense about what we were to be served until it came round from the kitchen. I'm guessing that makes the wine-matching option very popular.
We loved the food, and I would happily bring most of my friends here, but I can see that 30% of my dining companions might not enjoy having great food that didn't meet their faddy needs or would prefer just a couple of courses (there are plenty of other places in Bath that can meet their needs).
The flavours were strong; lovely flavour combinations (nothing spicey - just modern European) and the presentation was beautiful. The only weird thing was that we were served espressos from paper (espresso) cups - eh? We rarely season with salt (except on chips) so we did notice that courses were well seasoned.
If you love quality contemporary cooking, without the pretention, come here. If you want lots of pretention (and a very pretty garden), go to the Priory and remember to look a bit smarter.
If the owners are reading, please shift this place down to Widcombe!
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