a properly lovely, get-away-from-it-all modern country house hotel oasis
If you’re yet to be fully cognisant of the delights that lie in store for you at Homewood – just a short (and rather beautiful) 10-minute pootle from Bath, along the A36 – you’re seriously missing out.
The house itself (think, Georgian in essence with delightful quirky Victorian-era updates on foundations that boast 13th Century origins, surrounded by acres of beautifully-manicured lawns and alfresco terraces, dining areas and chill out zones) offers visitors a characterful voyage of discovery from the off; we are, after all, on Kaleidoscope Collection territory here, and KC really is the sunshine brand when it comes to characterful contemporary hotels.
For those who intend to linger a bit longer than drinks’n’dinner, there’s a glamorous on-site spa and heated pool and a collection of luxurious, well-appointed rooms that offer the ultimate in elegant escapism at your service, while recent additions to the Homewood scene include a collection of nifty Dining Domes (one part space age pod, one part London Eye capsule booth, all parts a uniquely beautiful outside/inside experience) and chalets that offer super-stylish ways for up to six people to eat, drink and be merry in magical surroundings.
Meanwhile, at the epicentre of the whole affair: the Olio restaurant overseen by head chef Jamie Forman, who boasts a rather illustrious CV and whose ethos around adhering to locally sourced, seasonally-led and high quality product-driven menus gives a fresh blast of authenticity and gravitas to a statement that’s in serious danger of becoming careworn.
When you enter Jamie’s prandial playground (aka, the dining room) make sure you look up before you sit down: if you thought that having multiple chandeliers hanging from one fairly small ceiling could be way too much of a good thing, prepare to have your perceptions seriously challenged here. Jamie’s menus are challenging in their own right, too… as in, when a selection is this strong, it’s pretty difficult to know which direction to take your tastebuds in.
Our most recent at home at Homewood feast included sumptuous starters of super-savoury Salt Cod Brandade served with a luxurious saffron aioli, and a ‘substantial’ (sorry, couldn’t help myself there) Bath White Scotch Egg with a bacon jam that I’d happily spread on my toast every weekend morning from here on in. We maxed out on mains of super-fresh Brixham Sea Bass Branzino stuffed with a succulent, deeply umami melange of black olives and lemon, and the most enormous portion of Stokes Farm Fillet of Beef that I’ve ever seen served with earthy woodland mushrooms and sweetly smoky burnt shallot. And to go with all that? This is one restaurant where I don’t find the necessity for side orders opportunistic, and actually welcome the opportunity to go your own bespoke, mix’n’match way; when you’re mixing and matching from options including samphire and lemon, or thyme and garlic roast/lemon and parsley new potatoes, or a dish of creamed sprouts with nutmeg and pancetta lushly treatsome enough to tempt even the most serious sprout-averse to vote green, you want to audition the supporting cast for yourself.
So yes, there’s lots to catch you eye and many difficult decisions to be made as you study the glorious menu. But underpinning the whole shebang at every turn is a selection of super-simple, non-fussy combinations that turn the spotlight on seasonality, quality produce and a kitchen with both the skill set and the respect to know exactly when to leave a good ingredient alone… by turning it into something spectacular. Am I being confusing, or contradictory? If so, think about what I’ve just said again, because I really shouldn’t be.
Of course we opted for dessert, despite the fact that we’d made full use of the divine homemade bread that arrived unbidden at the start of our feast and portions across both courses, thus far, had gone large. But if there’s honeycomb ice cream with chocolate sauce on the menu and proper sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream up for grabs (and Mr Pig grabbed it with both hands) then why not?
I really like what Jamie Forman’s doing in the Olio kitchen: confident, down-to-earth, highly accomplished; assertive without being pushy, and imaginative in a refreshingly accessible way – he’s definitely a rising star chef-to-watch. As for Homewood overall: it’s a properly lovely, get-away-from-it-all modern country house hotel oasis, chilled out or super-glam according to the occasion, staffed with genuinely nice people who make you feel genuinely welcome. We felt very at home there; we know you wood too.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities