The days when vegetarians struggled to find something fabulous to eat in the UK have long gone and HURRAH to that! Today, imaginatively designed vegetarian and vegan dishes sit proudly alongside their meaty and fishy counterparts sharing equal ranking and enjoying just as much care and attention to detail. It’s official, you don’t have to be vegetarian – or vegan – to enjoy plant-based food; it’s everywhere and it’s absolutely for everyone. The growth of vegetarianism is due, in part, to people taking an ethical stand and partly it’s in response to reports of the dangers of diets that are over reliant on processed food, especially meat. But mostly, it’s because vegetarian and vegan diets are having a moment with even dedicated meat eaters making the conscious decision to consume less opting for high quality products with a clear provenance when they do. I respect that so much. Take Roth Bar & Grill for example, the restaurant adjacent to Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, where owners Steve and Jules Horrell work closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners to make the best use of ethical British produce with a focus on sustainability. Yesterday, to mark Open Farm Sunday, Steve gave a demonstration on the art of butchery followed by a dramatically impressive BBQ in the yard. It would be mean-minded of me not to be in awe of him and the important lessons he is sharing with our kids all of whom observed everything he did with eyes wide open and murmurs of quiet respect. If people like him had been around 20 years ago I probably wouldn’t have become a vegetarian. But a vegetarian I most certainly am and so it was a reservation at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen that awaited us upon our return to Bath (hoping against hope that they couldn’t detect the essence of pure BBQ on our skin). Comprised of a couple of light and beautiful dining rooms positioned down a quiet and pretty street off Abbey Green, the chefs at Acorn are dedicated to the creation of generous plates of high quality plant-based food for people who want to go all out special with no compromise on style and substance. We chose from the 2-course set menu at £26.95 a head (3-courses cost £33.95 a head with wine matching for an additional £14 or £20 a head). Here’s what we ate:
As light as a feather: Chioggia beetroot slivers with aged cashew purée & beetroot viege, paired with a Trimbach Riesling from Alsace, France.
Zing fresh and complex: Wye Valley asparagus with a rich mushroom parfait, dill, hazelnut and a light pickle, paired with a Carrick Chardonnay from Central Otago, New Zealand.
Herby and darkly mysterious: Charred leeks with melusine cheese dauphinoise, leek & garlic sauce and smoked potato pastry, paired with Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, France.
Deeply savoury and satisfying: Smoked Winchester agnolotti with king oyster mushroom in a rich mushroom emulsion with celeriac and monk’s beard, paired with Barbera Amonte Volpi, Piedmont, Italy.
This is food that delights the palate and the eye. We shared, each of us revelling in our smart choices. The service was crazy good with a tiny spike of English eccentricity on the side. We liked that; it’s very English and it works. This is a restaurant to be taken seriously, delivered by a team who really love what they do. You must book, especially at the weekend and especially if you have something special to celebrate.
2 North Parade Passage (just off Abbey Green), Bath BA1 1NX