May 17 2016

Pig Guide review: new menu at Graze Bath

If you take your food seriously, burger-cravings bring a whole range of problematic issues to be taken into account to the fore. For a start, your beefy bite must bring provenance to the table with it – if a kitchen can’t tell me where in the UK they source their beef from, I’m not going to place an order. Then there’s the bun issue: if it ain’t fresh, soft and elegantly poised to soak up all those meaty juices, it ain’t happening. And then there are the accoutrements: if you don’t want bacon, you don’t have to have bacon; if you want cheese, it shouldn’t (in my opinion) ever, ever be blue. Okay, I’m a nightmare to eat burgers with. Unless, that is, I choose where to go. And although there are indeed multiple brilliant burger choices at many of The Pig Guide’s favourite independent pubs and restaurants in Bath (lucky us!), I discovered another perfect one just last night, at Graze Bath: the contempo-elegant Bath Ales flagship venture featuring alfresco terraces adjacent to Bath Spa Railway Station platforms on one side and views over the SouthGate rooftops on t’other.

Despite the fact that the sun had been playing out all day, it was chilly when we arrived at the restaurant so we took a table indoors, close to the live-action open kitchen. Before we moved on to our meaty mains, we had starters of mussel and lobster bisque (which to my mind suffered a little from over-cluttered presentation, but tasted great when I finally dug my way into the heart of the matter) and a textbook perfect rendition of salt and pepper squid (both starters £7.50). For his main course, Mr Pig had a ribeye steak cooked exactly to his liking (£24), which he chose to accompany with a bowl of new potatoes, melting brie and roasted onion from an array of potato-based sides that are offered with all main course meat dishes. And yup, I got my burger, in this instance opting for the Smokehouse (£14), which I chose to team up with sweet potato fries. Provenance? Tick! Dry-aged West Country beef. Bun? Tick! Soft as a pillow, and absorbent as a Pampers nappy (sorry, hope that analogy doesn’t put you off your food). Accoutrements? Heck, I could have even added a fried duck egg had I wanted to, and if I’d wanted blue cheese, I would have gone for the Best of British options instead. As it was, I was more than happy with the smoked cheddar and sweet, sticky apple ketchup (yum!) that makes the Smokehouse what it is: yes indeed, a perfect burger. Oh, and by the way: I want to give a special little shout-out to our server Ellis here, who helped to find us the perfect wine to drink with our dinner (a carafe of Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese, £14) and was utterly charming throughout.

Despite the fact that there’s peanut butter parfait and peach and honey cake on Graze’s recently-unveiled summer menu, we didn’t opt for puds because portions are on the massive side of generous here. But hey-ho, there are some very tempting salads on the menu too; next time I visit, I’m ordering a Chicken Caesar followed by both of the aforementioned puds – if, that is, I haven’t got a burger-craving to contend with. And if I have, that Smokehouse most definitely has my name on it.

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