I spent last weekend in Bath visiting my little sister at Uni. We got to enjoy a few days walking, eating (*loads*), chatting , drinking and shopping, it was my idea of the perfect city break. On Friday we enjoyed some beautiful views of bath skyline on a long six mile walk, after stopping at the impressive Gloucester services on our drive down where I enjoyed a gorgeously buttery almond pastry made by Bertinet bakery. The bakery which is situated in Bath is owned by French chef and baker Richard Bertinet, selling a variety of different pastries, breads and cakes. The Almond croissant was to die for. But the breads also looked delicious; the more unusual raisin and caraway sourdough sounded seriously appetising. The bakery is made one of kind by the fact that it offers cookery courses which take place in its second home, slightly off the beaten track, on the outskirts of the city centre. I seriously fancy the English baking course demonstrated by Richard himself. (The courses cover all different styles of cooking, teaching various skills. They range from £195- £600, with the more expensive lasting up to five days!)
Anyway, after a long walk we were all pretty tired and in much need of some good food. We had booked French restaurant Allium (in the Abbey Hotel) as it had received lots of good reviews. Initially I was unsure as the decor was pretty old fashioned and there was only one vegetarian option on the A la Carte menu. However, after speaking to our (very attentive) waitress who said it was possible to order off the set menu despite it having time restrictions, I was looking forward to my choice of Polenta fritters with smoked aubergine, roast mushrooms, balsamic onions and aubergine compote.
Before we tucked into our mains we couldn’t resist sharing the whole baked Camembert which was wonderfully gooey and rich. The crispy home baked bread-sticks, capers and gherkins were unusual accompaniments but their flavours contrasted nicely with the creaminess of the cheese.
Once we got round to our mains, I was seriously impressed with the Polenta fritters. I’ve tried using polenta before and failed miserably, it’s hard to get right. I ended up with a lump of flavourless stodge when I attempted it. This polenta however, was deliciously crispy and was lovely with the smooth texture of the aubergine compote and the hint of sharpness coming from the balsamic onions. Yummy.
Pudding for me had to be something with chocolate. I went for the warm chocolate sponge with pistachio mousse and lemon and pistachio ice cream. I’m not normally a fan of fruit flavoured ice cream because I find it tastes false and not really like the fruit its trying to be. However, Allium’s lemon and pistachio flavour was gorgeous. The lemon was just the right strength and the complimented the richness of the chocolate sponge, meaning it was too sickly and I could easily demolish the lot!