August 1 2013

Review: Salamander Supper Club

It’s often perhaps all too easy to overlook The Salamander when in search of hearty, honest-to-goodness sustenance. This lovely little Bath Ales venture has been an established part of the richly-textured fabric of life in Bath for such a long time that I’m guessing many of us take it for granted, almost as if just knowing it’s there makes you a regular. And even if you take a pint (or two, or three…) at the sturdy bar on a regular basis (and you’d be mad not too), when did you last check out the menu? Or indeed, the gorgeous, recently spruced up first floor supper room: cosy and intimate without being claustrophobic and offering lesser-spotted views across the nearby higgledy-piggledy rooftops from the tables by the windows.

The Pig made full use of one such table at the Salamander’s inaugural Supper Club event last Wednesday evening (July 31). The theme on the night we visited was meat to the max, and – while vegetarians were indeed very well catered too as well (tomato and chive soup; pea and broad bean risotto) – the menu proudly flaunted appropriate headline acts that resulted in a voraciously carnivorous carnival indeed. From a neat 3/3/3 selection, we opted for densely meaty potted beef cheeks with creamy, pungent buttermilk and horseradish puree; silky braised ox tongue with crispy fried capers; succulent slabs of salt beef brisket in a parsley broth that this little piggy wanted to dive into and bathe all night long; a sumptuous, juicy rib eye steak accompanied by peppercorn sauce and perfect chips; a rich but light dark chocolate and hazelnut terrine; a plate of perfect cheese (in this instance, Smoked Applewood) teamed with gloriously sticky chutney wrought from Bath Ales’ very own Dark Side brew…. all this for £25pp (plus a £5 supplement for the rib eye) – now that’s what The Pig calls a very good deal indeed.

In a similar fashion to sister venture The Hop Pole’s schedule of events, Salamander Supper Clubs will take place on a monthly basis from here on in – seriously, Piggies, you’d be crazy not to join in the fun next time around. But remember: the Salamander is for life, not just for Supper Clubbers. We may have been dining from a special menu in this instance, but the quality and style was generally indicative of the pace that sets the overall tone here: properly British food at down-to-earth prices served in characterful, convivial surroundings. Hoorah!

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