Allium restaurant at the Abbey Hotel
imagination, balance, integrity, attitude and character all skilfully represented and beautifully presented
A chic, contemporary eat, drink and be merry experience set against an appropriately chic, contemporary backdrop: the Abbey Hotel is a firmly established, sparkling jewel in the Bath food scene crown. A suitably smart, considerately heated alfresco terrace sets the scene on the approach, which opens during the warmer months of the year and magically transforms into the hotel’s unique Après-Ski Bar in the winter. Inside, discover all manner of stylishly quirky, fascinating merrymaking zones (including, of course, an elegantly chilled-out dining room) while in the kitchen, Head Chef Rupert Taylor works all kinds of distinctive, characterful magic, creating menus that put seasonal, largely locally sourced ingredients in the spotlight at all times of the day and night. Rupert also hosts monthly supper clubs curated to specific themes (global inspirations; vegetarian; vegan; etc) in the Igloo – one of the Abbey Hotel’s uniquely crafted events/private hire spaces that offers a much warmer welcome than the name suggests… and very lively, popular affairs they are too.
But for the purposes of offering an all-things-to-all-people perspective, we’re focusing on Rupert’s a la carte here. The two starters that we sampled on our most recent visit each had it all going on in terms of both substance and style: bold, sweetly robust beetroot terrine served with featherlight goats’ cheese mousse, sharp pickled beetroot and subtly punchy horseradish; salty/sweet/sour soused mackerel with toasty burnt orange, delicate shaved fennel and a softly piquant saffron vinaigrette – imagination, balance, integrity, attitude and character all skilfully represented (and beautifully presented) on two plates. On main course territory, a moist, soft chicken breast dressed in a crust of ground almonds and teamed with well-chosen accessories including softly charred roast celeriac and a spinach and potato rösti was simply delightful.
On the fish front, super-fresh, super-juicy pan-fried halibut with silky parsnip purée, earthy pink fir potatoes, and sweetly tart verjus sauce scaled stellar fish-fabulosity heights. Puds? Oh very definitely, yes indeed; if Rupert’s dark chocolate ganache with salted caramel popcorn and banana ice cream is on the menu when you visit, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Having said that, the chestnut and honey mousse with muscovado meringues and bitter chocolate sorbet proved to be a multi-sensual, multi-textured delight that hereby enters the annals of The Pig Guide’s all-time favourite desserts ever. So there.
Back down to earth, there are classics including proper burgers, excellent fish and chips and a variety of steaks on the menu too, keeping those who prefer a less adventurous route to satiation very satisfied indeed. Breakfasts are served from early on (we are, after all, on hotel territory here), and menus proper dominate the menu from 12 noon. The 2/3 course set lunch/dinner menus (2/£20, 3/£25) represent a skilfully scaled-down taste of Taylor, Afternoon Tea (12noon-5pm) is served with a side order of glamour, and Sunday Brunch (11am-3pm every Sunday, £19.95) is elegantly bountiful.
Meanwhile, the seductively stylish ArtBar is overseen by a team of smart but friendly wine, spirit and cocktail connoisseurs – what they don’t know about the top tipple du jour simply isn’t worth knowing, while the Bar Bites offer the most stylishly scrumptious nibbles in town But the main event delight, for us, has to be the main menu, flaunting dishes that shimmer with seasonality, imagination and joie de vivre, resulting in a unique, fresh-faced gourmet experience at a price that belies the quality on offer.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
Monday – Friday: 7 – 10am;
Saturday – Sunday: 7.30 – 10am
Monday – Saturday: 12noon – 5.30pm;
Sunday: 12noon – 3pm
Afternoon Tea daily: 12noon – 5pm
Monday – Thursday: 5.30 – 9pm;
Friday – Saturday: 5.30 – 10pm;
Sunday: 6 – 9pm
The Abbey Hotel dominates the North Parade/Terrace Walk axis, known locally as Bog Island
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