My most recent commission from Food Magazine took me to Olive Tree Restaurant at the Queensberry Hotel in Bath. I took along Rachel Demuth (of Demuths Restaurant and Vegetarian Cookery School) for a three-course lunch, having no idea what to expect, and feeling a little nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the standards of one of my all-time favourite vegetarian chefs.
As it turned out, Olive Tree Restaurant is one of the poshest restaurants in Bath. I called in advance and told them we were both vegetarians. When we arrived, there was a whole vegetarian menu with options galore.
Every dish was gorgeously presented, with such care and attention to detail. Think paper-thin slices of cucumber, with little decorative holes cut out; a train of gnocchi (the chewiest, most delightful gnocchi I’ve ever had) riding on a track of squash puree and balsamic; tempura carefully arranged to create an explosion of colour and texture on the plate; tagliatelle with the freshest peas and broad beans, wading in the richest gorgonzola cream sauce.
Needless to say, the desserts were equally impressive. The “blood orange bavarois with exotic fruit salad and blood orange curd” made me smile – do you think they deliberately tried to make it look like a snail?
And what words can really be said about the rich “Valrhona dark chocolate delice with raspberries and almonds”?
The amazing thing is, they price the veggie set lunch at £18.50 for two courses and £22.50 for three courses, which I think is a real deal. And they said they do a similar deal for veggies at dinnertime, making Olive Tree a great option for vegetarians looking for a flash dinner out in Bath. Word on the street (er, from their bartender) is they have an awesome bar upstairs with loads of interesting whiskeys to try. I will have to go back sometime for dinner, though Rachel and I both agree that the “ladies that lunch” aspect was incredibly appealing. We were there almost three hours, and finished with a civilised spot of tea.
So I guess I’ll need to buy a hat and a handbag, then. (Silly me showed up in ripped jeans and converse all stars!)
One last picture from Bath that really requires no caption: