July 2 2015

Mini review: The Beaufort

By the time you read this, several small fluffy clouds will be floating around above The Beaufort‘s inviting, recently-revamped dining room. Not that there’ll be any hint of rumbling storm clouds gathering up Larkhall way; to the contrary, the innovative, creative cumulus are intended to soften noise levels when the space is packed with chattering merrymakers. Having said that, that room was pretty busy when The Pig went to investigate goings on at this lovely, lively neighbourhood pub, formerly known as One Beaufort, now in the capable hands of brothers Robbie and Jamie Tack and head chef Jack Scaterfield, a trio already known (and loved) by many for their work at the GPT Smokehouse… and noise levels were simply not an issue. But hey ho, it takes all sorts, eh? And all kinds of everybody will love the work of the new brooms that have swept through a pub that is, to all intents and purposes, a little corner of downtown Bath in what out-of-towners would probably refer to as the city’s suburbs but in reality is only a short walk from the city centre.

Taking inspiration from the Tack brother’s existing restaurant/diner/bar hybrid that’s already regenerated a little corner of the Lower Bristol Road, The Beaufort is a friendly, socially adaptable hostelry with unpretentious gastropub pretensions firmly at the core of flexible, super-seasonal, chef-led menus. On the evening we visited, Jack’s kitchen was flaunting starters of scallops drenched in moreish garlic butter served – hoorah! – in their shells (why oh why did any chef, anywhere, decide to quit such presentation in favour of that tricksy fad of balancing the molluscs on blobs of whatever puree happened to be trending that week?) and monkfish scampi that proved to be sweet, satisfying and even somehow slightly salacious – yup, this dish is well worthy of being described by all the grown up words for swoony. I was delighted to see chicken kiev nestling in the main course selection too. But scampi? Kiev? Are we looking back to look forward here? If we are, we’re most definitely not on dreaded “revisited/reinvented” territory. Just as the scampi has nothing to do with baskets, Jack’s kiev is nothing like the incarnation made popular in days of yore: imagine two huge slabs of well-sourced, moist chicken oozing garlic, chilli and rosemary butter and draped in generous slivers of Serrano ham… and then come here yourself and order your own ‘cos it’s just lush. Jack’s capable of some fairly frisky ways with fish too, as proved by a turbot fresh off the boat on what was probably the first day of the season, good enough to make you want to live on this dish, and only this dish, until they swim off again in late summer.

If, after all that, you still have space left for a little (actually rather large) something else, the menu comes up trumps again, with proper sticky toffee pudding, homemade ice cream, brownies and similarly people-pleasing treats offering satisfaction for all, while excellent service, thoroughly convivial surroundings and freedom from the tyranny that is Bath city centre parking all come as standard – come on Piggies: make some noise?

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