May 4 2019
And so it came to pass that we went to Nourish for supper.
For those who aren’t keeping up at the back, Nourish (formerly the Beaufort pub, on London Road) is to Bath what Mildred’s is to London, or The Allotment is to Manchester, or Veggie Republic is to Liverpool: a thoroughly modern eating out experience that showcases thoroughly modern, meat-free food in – yup, you guessed it – a thoroughly modern environment.
Instead of cluttering up the bright, airy dining room with unnecessary flourishes, fixtures and fittings, owner Robbie Tack has created a modern art gallery feel that’s thoroughly reinvigorated the site’s former gastropub sensibilities: clouds suspended from the ceiling; bright (but not uncomfortably so) lighting; fascinating art from local artists on the walls; smart attention to detail such as pink rock salt candle holders on the tables. All in all, the space feels clean, and welcoming, and very well taken care of. There aren’t any sanctimonious diktats muddying up the smart, neat menus, nor huge shockers raining on the price-tag parade at the finishing line. And what goes on in the kitchen most definitely doesn’t stay in the kitchen; there may not be a hint of meat, fish, egg or dairy products tucked away in the fridges or the larders, but the southern-fried burgers, ‘duck’ pancakes and ‘fish’ and chips just keep on coming.
Yes, southern-fried (seitan) burgers, ‘duck’ pancakes and ‘fish’ and chips – that’s the way witty plant-based menus roll these days, isn’t it? There are seared king oyster ‘scallops’ too, made from marinated slices of mushroom stalk and served with truffle pea puree and coconut bacon that tasted just like… well, bacon dust. Meanwhile, steamed Chinese bao buns are served stuffed with chilli- and garlic-infused mushrooms instead of the traditional pork, laden with rainbow-hued vegetables and cushioned by soft, yeasty, clam-like pillows of joy. A third starter of artichoke ‘scampi’ was satisfyingly crispy without and moist within – the perfect sidekick, may we suggest, for a G&T enjoyed at the bar.
Banana blossom: a fleshy, purple-skinned flower that grows at the ends of a banana fruit cluster (thank you, Alexa.) When battered and fried, however, it bears a striking resemblance to white, flaky fish – and I have the Nourish kitchen to thank for this revelation. It’s slightly sweeter than, say, cod and, as your ‘fillet’ cools down, it becomes a little bit stringy. Served with proper chips, minted pea puree, and lush tartare sauce, though, it’s a super-satisfying familiar treat: fish and chips like you’ve never had before. Similarly, our tofu ‘duck’ pancakes – a generous pot of marinated tofu nuggets, served with all the proper duck pancake fripperies including juliennes of cucumber and spring onions and rich, sweet/savoury hoisin sauce for you to assemble at the table – tasted, to my mind, even nicer than one of my Chinese restaurant fave-raves for not being made with often over-fatty, over-fibrous remnants of duck. Winner winner, duck dinner, found in a veggie/vegan bistro – ah, I love 2019.
And I love Nourish, too; it’s a gently reinvigorating, youthful, happy kinda place that makes you feel gently reinvigorated, youthful and happy. Hoorah!
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