Bath might be known for its Roman baths, picturesque Georgian buildings and association with Jane Austen but its culinary scene is increasingly attracting visitors from all over the United Kingdom and further afield.
Notable dining options
You might expect nearby liberal-leaning Bristol to be a hotbed of veganism but in Bath, you'll find Morso Vegan. They are an innovative plant-based cookery school, one of only a handful in the UK that are solely vegan in all their courses. It is run by personable husband and wife team, Matt and Georgia. They both exude a disarming charm that just makes the cookery class incredibly enjoyable. Their Indian street food course is particularly popular. You can learn how simple it is to prepare the likes of carrot and leek pakoras and aloo chana chaat in a half-day course. The most fascinating course to look out for is their patisserie weekend course. It is no simple feat to veganise classics such as cannoli and croissants filled with pistachio cream.
Indian cuisine is a mainstay of the restaurant scene in Bath. There's no finer example than the award-winning, The Mint Room. It is elegance personified as they offer a tasting menu that takes you on a tour of India. You'll experience everything from Rajasthani lamb chops to Keralan sea bass moilee. Only the most skilful kitchen team can handle the varied cooking styles across the vast subcontinent. They are a firm believer in supporting local produce, using Bath-based suppliers such as Bartlett & Sons to source their meats.
The Elder restaurant is another that focuses on area-sourced ingredients, in particular wild game. They are on first-name terms with the farmers and fishermen they work with. You might discover more left-field dishes on their menu such as hare ragu and pappardelle pasta along with pavé of Bathurst Estate fallow deer. It is a sign of the sophisticated palate of the residents of Bath that you get such eclectic offerings.
The design of The Elder resembles that of a country estate with a mounted deer head on the wall, Chesterfield booth seating and paintings showing the landed gentry in the countryside. It is situated in the boutique Hotel Indigo Bath (more on that later).
Bath might not be located next to the sea, but they have one of the freshest seafood restaurants in the country in The Scallop Shell. The family-run restaurant has won countless awards and has been endorsed by the likes of Marco Pierre White. On any given day, you won't be surprised to find the restaurant filling up quickly by noon with a healthy mixture of residents and well-researched tourists.
It is heaven for shellfish enthusiasts. Ordering scallops is a must. They are served in the shell with a hint of fresh herb and garlic butter to accentuate the umami flavours. Their shellfish plate gathers in the best from the morning markets and might include the likes of Colchester rock oysters and sea harvest Cornish mussels.
Bath's afternoon tea scene
In well-heeled Bath where socialites mingled even back in the 18th century, a popular activity to partake in is afternoon tea-ing. In the Victorian surroundings of The Roseate Villa Bath (more on that later), you will find one of the most sumptuous afternoon teas in town. There are soothing views of their serene and immaculately manicured garden from the restaurant. There is a harmonious balance between tradition and modernity in their offering.
The pulled pork sandwich is given an umami-boost with hoisin sauce whilst their grilled aubergine sandwich is packed with creamy hummus and spinach. Their Bath City blend tea is particularly appropriate, as it was developed in 1888 and deals with the hard water of Bath and has a high lime content. The pastries and scones are all freshly made by their in-house baker. They've also developed a vegan and vegetarian afternoon tea menu to cater for the varied needs of the modern-day diner.
If you want to finish off any of your meals with a light treat, then do check out Swoon Gelato in Bath. Their family has been making gelato for over 120 years. The higher melting point of gelato compared to ice cream makes it an incredibly smooth experience. They have numerous delectable flavours to entice your taste buds.
Where to stay in Bath
You might be wondering where is the best place to stay in Bath? If you are looking for serenity in a quintessential Victorian mansion, look no further than The Roseate Villa Bath. It overlooks the stunning 7-acre Henrietta Park. The homely experience you'll enjoy includes being welcomed by their resident dog, Muttley. You'll avoid the hustle and bustle of the high street of Bath yet you are still only a short walking distance away from all the main attractions.
Another option to consider is Hotel Indigo Bath if you want to be at the centre of all the action. It is situated in a Grade I listed building and oozes an abundance of style and individuality. The rooms are decorated in a modern style but pay homage to the colourful history of the area. You might find a bookshelf in your room filled with the masterpieces of the literary greats who were associated with Bath. They have the most fantastically comfortable Hypnos bed with smooth Egyptian cotton linen. The bathrooms are all spa-inspired to reflect on the local area. It always impresses hotel guests when you find there is a complimentary mini-bar.
Bath's culture dose
If you want to burn off all the calories from your culinary escapades, there is no shortage of sightseeing options from the world-renowned Roman baths to the city's first public art gallery in The Holburne Museum. At the end of your visit, you'll have both your body and your mind delightfully satiated.
Fares for London Paddington to Bath Spa start at £23.00. For the best prices and offers go to GWR.com or download the Great Western Railway app
January is by and far the most popular month to go teetotal, and for good reason. The start of a new year signals time for change, with many choosing to abstain from alcohol as a means of starting off on the right foot (read: with zero hangover regrets).
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