Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen - Bath
Oh you, Easter, delicious you! Undoubtedly one of my favourite times of the year. First things first, all the chocolate eggs were taste-tested within minutes, of course ;) and more tea than ever was consumed over the bank holiday weekend (I can't seem to tuck into a chunk of chocolate without a steaming hot mug of tea beside me). Just because I can't really mention Easter without bringing up the awful weather we had - what was that all about, I mean, really?! A rare four day weekend, and the heavens opened upon us. A thick, grey blanket covering the sky, brollies battling against the elements, and lots of wet, muddy walks. Well, we weren't going to let it get the better of us (and I hope it didn't dampen your spirits too!). We made sure we had a lovely weekend; visiting family, catching up with friends, and eating a year's worth of chocolate in 48 hours! After so many sugar hits, I was delighted to be invited over to Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath, to review their lunchtime menu on Easter Monday. The perfect way to conclude the festivities, and a welcome break from all that chocolate consumption...
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen resides within one of Bath's oldest buildings, dating back to 1622. Rich in history, it is said that "in 1719, Ralph Allen moved here and began revolutionising the postal delivery system. Within a few years he was administering the whole nation’s post from this building." What an amazing claim to fame!
Located on North Parade Passage, just a short stroll from Abbey Green and next door to the famous Sally Lunn's teahouse, Acorn has built an esteemed reputation, and it's not hard to see why. Chef Richard Buckley's menus are beautifully and creatively presented with finesse and flair, all bursting with colour and flavour. We knew we'd be in for a treat.
Given its popularity, I'd definitely suggest booking in advance. We noticed a handful of punters being turned away at the door due to a full lunchtime service. We sat at the front of the restaurant, tucked away in a cosy corner, with views out onto the busy thoroughfare of North Parade Passage. A great spot to watch the world go by!
Whilst finalising our choices...
... I couldn't help but cast a beady eye on this gorgeous mirror - I've spotted a very similar style in Hay on Milsom Street before. Adding to Acorn's trendy, smart décor, I'm sure statement pieces like this won't go unnoticed by any interior lovers out there!
Even at just gone midday, I felt it was a thoughtful touch to have candles lit on the tables too.
Back to the menus and some tasty tipples to start. Scott tried a Gingerella (£2.95) whilst I ordered a White Peony tea (£2.85).
Before our starters arrived, we were treated to an amuse bouche of 'chargrilled courgette, black sesame paste, sesame tuile and lime gel'.
I opted for 3 dishes from the 'Set Menu' (2 courses for £28.90, or 3 for £37.95) and began with the 'Oven roasted Jerusalem artichoke with a rich toasted sunflower seed butter, balanced with a touch of pink grapefruit'. It was utterly divine and an exciting introduction to the standard and quality of cookery served up here.
On the other side of the table, Scott enjoyed a dish from the 'Lunch Set Menu' (2 courses for £17.90 or 3 for £22.95).
'Donkey carrots cooked slowly then fire charred with pickled carrot, parsley purée, carrot and cashew purée and seeded spelt grain.'
Typically used ubiquitously in a recipe as a way of supporting or highlighting other flavours and ingredients, the humble carrot is given centre stage here. A very compelling dish, we both agreed.
We were a little disheartened to discover from our waitress that a temporary power cut in the kitchen meant our mains were running a bit behind schedule. Given how compact the restaurant is, and how frequently the waitresses passed us by, I was surprised that we had to enquire as to the whereabouts of our main courses, and that we had not been informed about the situation sooner. Waiting between courses is something I'm sure we all expect to happen when we dine out. However, almost an hour of sitting patiently is quite a lengthy amount of time to wait between courses, if you ask me! This may have been a one off, but it's worth mentioning this incase you're hoping for a fairly quick bite to eat during a busy service...
Onto our mains, and I sampled one of the newest dishes on the menu. 'One whole cauliflower, broken down and cooked in various ways; roasted florets, truffled purée, molasses pickled core and sautéed leaf - all served with almond milk croquettes infused fenugreek and onion. Spelt grain in a smoked almond emulsion and a tarragon oil.'
I am delighted to say that it was delicious!
A perfectly balanced dish that I'd return to in a heartbeat.
Across from me, Scott had the 'Slow cooked celeriac and smoked field mushroom on a bed of speckled lentils and spinach in a cider cream.' Flavours and textures he would revisit again too.
Thankfully, puddings arrived with more haste, and soon we were diving into an intensely rich 'Chocolate and coffee ganache with an espresso parfait and pink peppercorn crumble'...
... and a deliciously delicate 'Saffron poached pear with light almond sorbet, almond crumb and lemon thyme.'
Aside from the hiccup over a slow service, we really enjoyed each course, appreciating how creative and exciting cooking with vegetables can be. So whether you're a veggie or not, Acorn is a real cracker, and you simply must go!
I'd like to thank Nicky Hancock from Hancock Communications PR agency for inviting us over to review, and to Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen for their generous hospitality.
Make sure to book a table over here, and let me know what your favourite dish is off the menu next time you pay Acorn a visit. On the savoury side, I'd put my money on the 'Donkey Carrots,' followed by the 'Whole Cauliflower', and then the 'Chocolate and Coffee Ganache'.