Abbey Hotel, N Parade, Bath BA1 1LF. 01225 461603
Last week we were invited to try the cocktails at the Art Bar in the Abbey Hotel then on for food at Koffmann and Mr White's next door.
The Art Bar is just that, a bar with monthly changing art on the walls, which can be bought and is curated to suit the surroundings. In the run up to Christmas there will be a selection of affordable works on the walls to tie in with the Christmas market.
After deciding on an Old Fashioned and a Bramble, we soaked up the atmoshpere and had a quick look at the bar menu. You can order burgers, steaks, croque monsieurs, and salads, as well as small sides such as bowls of fries. The decor is lovely, and there is lots to see. It was buzzing when we were in around 5pm, with hotel guests and members of the public popping in for coffees and meetings.
Once finished we headed across the lobby into the restaurant, Koffmann & Mr White's. We were the first guests in so got to appreciate the decor and the beauty of the room, a lovely feeling of calm without feeling cold. A relaxed informal dining experience awaited.
Two menu options - the Express (2 courses £14.50, 3 courses £17.50) or the A La Carte, with options of dishes from both Mr Koffmann and Mr White depending on your tastes. We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir and perused the menus. To start we opted for the Escargot a la Bourguignonne (£10.50) and the Loft House Salad (£7.95). Snails are not my thing, but Mr PLB loved them, they were baked with garlic, butter, little croutons and tomatoes. My salad was a large romaine lettuce leaf filled with hard boiled eggs, Wiltshire ham, home made salad cream (I'm making this) and a sprinkling of Gruyere cheese. Both were delicious and we could not wait to get onto the main course!
We ordered Joues de boeuf en daube, grand-mère (braised ox cheek with pomme puree, smoked bacon, carrots and button mushrooms) £18.50, and Marco’s signature fillet steak, consisting of Leaf spinach, woodland mushrooms, toasted sourdough, garlic butter, soft herbs (£32.50).
The flavours of the ox-cheek were phenomenal. Braised for many hours the meat was tender to melting point, in such a rich and flavoursome jus. The pomme puree was the ultimate in indulgent creaminess and buttery flavours, and totally delicious. I could not fault the dish and would happily eat this every night. The steak was cooked to perfection and so beautifully presented. Crispy mushrooms, and soft melting steak made for a taste sensation.
Dessert consisted of the Boxtree Mess with banana and salted caramel (£6.50) and the Tarte au Citron (£5.95). Both rounded off the meal perfectly, and were indulgent enough to satisfy as sweet tooth without being over powering.
We cannot fault our evening at the Art Bar and Koffmann & Mr White's. The service was outstanding from start to finish. Nic looked after us so well and explained all the dishes and answered our questions. There are quite a few new dishes on the menu and the staff clearly understand the ingredients, cooking processes and details inside out, exuding enthusiasm when talking about them. Although this is a French brasserie, do not feel intimidated, all dishes have English descriptions and the staff are happy to help. A big shout out to Gareth for the expertly made cocktails, and Hannah Mc for serving us so well.
This is an experience we would be happy to repeat, and will be booking to go back soon as it's up there as one of our personal favourites now.
12/13 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ. 01225 465907
On Tuesday evening we were invited to Le Vignoble in Milsom place, to sample their menu and wines.
The concept is very clever, you are given a credit card that you pre-load with cash at the till, and it can then be used to dispense wine in a sample, small or medium sized glass. There are over 20 wines in dispensers dotted around the two rooms, as well as bottles available to buy.
The menu is tapas style, and very tasty. We had 3 dishes to share and they were more than enough to fill you up.
We had the baked brie with apricot and honey, the charcuterie board, and the baked tomatoes with blue cheese. There was plenty of bread served with all three dishes, perfect for mopping up the tasty pesto and baked cheeses. With one of us having a white and the other a red wine, the cheeses complimented both perfectly and cut through the richness.
Ona and Diane are so knowledgeable and talk with passion about both the food and the wine. They made us feel incredibly welcome and comfortable, and not at all intimidated by all the wine choices around the room. You might wander through Milsom Place and think this is a wine shop, which it is (you can buy the wine to take away), but there is so much more on offer. In the warmer months, there is a lovely outdoor terrace to enjoy so why not pop in for a glass and some nibbles, you won't be disappointed!
Husband & Wife living in Bath for over 20 years. All views are our own although we do get freebies along the way, which we will always tell you about.