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 chill out zones) offers visitors a characterful voyage of discovery from the off. For those who intend to linger a bit longer than drinks’n’dinner, there’s a glamorous on-site spa and a collection of luxurious, well-appointed rooms that offer the ultimate in elegant escapism at your service; we are, after all, on Kaleidoscope Collection territory here, and KC really is the sunshine brand when it comes to characterful contemporary hotels.
Meanwhile, at the epicentre of the whole affair, there’s a 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.
After aperitifs including a perfect Manhattan (trust me when I tell you that Mr Pig knows a perfect Manhattan when he meets one) in the subtly seductive bar, we took to the dining room – and hey, wow, 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.
And so it came to pass that I opted for the oven-baked scallops, their inherent sweetness offset by subtly nutty Old Winchester cheese and a soft kiss of garlic butter. Meanwhile, Mr Pig swooned over a plate of silky but characteristically muscular beef bresaola with little balls of lesser-spotted crispy mozzarella bringing a novel beat to the party and a smart, subtly sharp salsa verde enhancing the vibrant rhythm on the plate. Oh Jamie, you’re gooood…
Attention levels duly sparked by my superb scallop foray, I dived into duck for my main course: soft, gamey Creedy Carver, served with neat little discs of roasted sweet potato, a generous smattering of fresh baby sweetcorn slivers (chargrilled, I think?) and a red wine jus soft and mellow enough to drink by the glass. My choice was, overall, one of those super-simple, non-fussy combinations that turned the spotlight on 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.
On t’other side of the table, Mr Pig opted for a classic combo of rib-eye steak (250g! That’s massive!) served with textbook-perfect triple-cooked chips, super-sticky slow-roasted onion and peppercorn sauce that properly popped with proper pepper. We shared a dish of rainbow carrots caramelised by a splash of honey and nuttied-up with a smattering of fennel seeds too – seriously, honestly, I could have had a stand-alone main course portion of those carrots alone, and been just as salaciously sated as I was by our full-on feast.
But 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 rich, oozy After Eight chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream on the menu (that may sound like too much of a good thing, but honestly, it’s not) and proper treacle tart with clotted 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 Homewood 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 (in fact, we didn’t want to leave) – we know you wood feel the same way too.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities