This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
( new restaurants )


The Pantry


‘Casual dining’ in a Michelin-starred setting? Can it work? LAURA ROWE heads to The Bath Priory to see if Sam Moody can translate fine dining into relaxed eating


THE WORDS WE use to describe eating out are so easy to misinterpret. ‘Fine dining’ demands


anything from suited-and-booted to smasual, but if you turn up most places – Golden Arches aside – so ‘relaxed’ you’re in your joggers, you’ll be marched out. Confusing, no? Which brings us to the new foodie offering at The Bath Priory. This gaff is best known as Bath’s only Michelin-starred


restaurant – and that’s nothing to be sniffed at. The world-famous guide calls the hotel “elegant” with “refined and accomplished” cooking offering “robust flavours in interesting, classically based dishes”. And it’s all that and more. It’s a place to get dressed up all fancy and eat sophisticated plates of food – think truffles, quails’ eggs, duck liver – cooked by one of the South West’s most talented kitchen teams, headed up by Sam Moody. But, as of February, the hotel has added another culinary


string to its bow – one that’s more ‘cosy and casual’ than the main restaurant, and is available from 9am till late. The Pantry has taken over the space previously


occupied by the old overflow area for the restaurant, right next to the library, and has seen a new bar installed, along with an eclectic art collection, courtesy of owner Andrew Brownsword. The tablecloths have been stripped off, there’s comfy (but still classy) leather seating and simple floral arrangements. This is ‘casual’ – but Priory style (i.e. wearing torn jeans would be a real faux pas). In terms of everything else, however, there’s little


different. It’s the same kitchen, same chefs (including Sam), and the same waiting staff. The menu, though, is definitely more affordable (dinner in the restaurant, proper, can set you back near-on £100 per person before you even crack into the wine), though The Pantry still couldn’t be considered cheap. The ‘could be starters’ waver around the £8-10 mark


for the likes of a tomato and red onion salad or Valley Smoke House salmon with lemon and capers, or soup of the day. There are also ‘somethings on toasts’ (namely potted shrimps and wild mushrooms) for £8; sandwiches


hot and cold (the £12 croque madame is really rather special), for anywhere between £6-14; and brasserie- type classics, including mussels in cider and parsley (£8 for a starter) and a (posh) fish finger sandwich with brioche and tartare for £12. We start with homemade breads and the brightest


yellow Cornish butter (£3.50), which kept us going while we waited for mains. Mrs Belson (teacher type, so can’t possibly refer to her by her first name) opted for the breaded plaice with chips, peas and tartare (£14) to share between her and her mini-me, 16-month-old Ms Darcey Bear. It wasn’t the biggest of portions, but both Mrs and Ms seemed to enjoy the golden goujons of plaice and crispy hand-cut chips, making quick work of the plate. I toyed with the idea of the roast duck leg and lentils for


£8, but was won over by the sound of The Priory burger for £12. It just comes as is, so if you want chips and salad (as I did) you’ll need to pay another £8 on top (it’s £4 for every side). The patty was juicy, the sauce piquant, and the bap fluffy. But was it the best burger I’ve ever had – or worth £20? Probably not. But, of course, The Pantry isn’t just about the food.


There is definitely cheaper (and arguably just as good, if not better) food of this type out there, but you’re buying into an experience here. You’re getting Michelin-starred staff serving you, Michelin-starred chefs cooking for you, and a beautiful setting and grounds to wander around. Mrs and Ms demolished with equal fervour the warm


and fudgy chocolate brownie (£7) with Chantilly cream. My sticky toffee pudding (£7) was packed with dates but still surprisingly fluffy and light, while the sauce is the sort you want to smear over your face, Nigella style. The accompanying salted caramel ice cream didn’t have quite enough salt or caramel for me, though. The Pantry isn’t the textbook ‘casual dining’ venue


(whatever that is), but as a way to sample life at The Priory without investing in a £95, seven-course tasting menu, it’s definitely worth a visit. Maybe just polish your shoes first…


✱ THE PANTRY @ The Bath Priory,


Weston Road, Bath BA1 2XT; 01225 331922; www.thebathpriory.co.uk


84 crumbsmag.com


Afters


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92