Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Bath


Last week my husband and I visited beautiful Somerset for a few of days away and i've been excited to share with you some of our amazing vegan eats whilst we were away. For my birthday present, back in December, my husband booked us a 2 night stay stay at Charlton House Spa Hotel which is about 40 minutes just outside Bath. We stayed there a few years ago and have always wanted to go back so it was great to have this to look forward to after Christmas. 

On our way down to the hotel we decided to make a little stop off for lunch in a small town called Frome. To be honest i'd never heard of Frome before and we didn't really know what was there but after a little bit of investigating on Trip Advisor I could see that it looked like a lovely little place to visit and, to make things even better, there were a couple of vegetarian and vegan cafes to choose from.

When we arrived in Frome we knew that we had made the right choice to stop off there. I really loved all the old fashioned cobbled stone roads and it was full of cute and quirky independent shops. Sadly we visited on a Monday and soon found out that many of the shops there are closed on Monday's and Tuesday's so we didn't get a chance to do any shopping. Thankfully one of the places I had researched, The Garden Cafe, was open and we couldn't wait to get inside to find out what was on the menu.

The Garden Cafe is a purely vegetarian cafe which also has quite a few options for vegans on the menu. We both decided to go for the avocado salad wraps with a side of roasted potatoes and it was absolutely delicious! The wraps were really wholesome and filled with lots of sprouts and chickpeas plus some tofu.


After this we couldn't resist trying the vegan flapjack with a nice soy latte. At first I was disappointed that we didn't choose to get some cake but the flapjack was really gorgeous and it was a great pick me up to get us through the remainder of our journey. I'd highly recommend stopping off in Frome if you happen to driving towards Bath from the East, it's well worth a visit. 


Soon enough we arrived at Charlton House and checked in. As we've stayed there before we knew what to expect and we were pleased to find that the hotel and the spa facilities were still as good as we remembered. There's nothing nicer than arriving at a hotel after a long drive and just being able to relax and use the spa. Our evening was set and we spent most of it in the hydrotherapy pool and the outdoor hot tub which was so relaxing. If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Somerset I really can't recommend this place enough, especially if you're looking for a romantic getaway with an opportunity for some R&R. 


The next day we set off to explore Bath and disappointingly the weather couldn't have been any worse. I had hoped to visit the old Roman Baths and the Thermae Spa but with the rain pouring down there really seemed little point. Instead we found ourselves dipping in and out of shops and cafes all day which wasn't bad at all and it kept us dry. The shopping in Bath is excellent and it's such a beautiful place to visit and walk around, even in the rain!

I had been requesting some vegan recommendations for Bath over the past couple of weeks and one place which kept coming up in tweets was The Green Rocket Cafe. We decided to head there for lunch and it was a really welcomed pit stop as by mid afternoon we were absolutely drenched! Sadly by the time we arrived at about 2:30pm a lot of the options on the menu had sold out. I guess this place must be a really popular spot for lunch so if you plan to visit i'd definitely recommend getting there early. 

For our starters we chose the vegan celeriac fritters which were really yummy and moreish. They were accompanied by a dill & tarragon remoulade which worked really well as a dipping sauce. 


I really wanted to try the mushroom burger with vegan cashew cheese for my main but this was unfortunately one of the popular dishes which had sold out. So instead I decided to go for the vegan mezze plate with tofu and my husband had the same but with halloumi. As you can see from the below photos this was a really colourful plate of food which was full of a variety of flavours. I especially liked the beetroot muhammara which was new to me. As a side dish we also ordered some onion rings with vegan mayonnaise which were so tasty. 




Overall I was pretty impressed by the Green Rocket but I think we just arrived at the wrong time of day and maybe didn't get to experience it at it's best. After lunch it was time to continue exploring the city and visit more shops. We made a stop at the Fudge Kitchen which i'd heard offers up some vegan dairy free fudge. A few people I spoke to said it depends what day and time you visit as to whether they have the vegan fudge available and disappointingly when we popped our heads in they wasn't offering any. However, they did inform us that the vegan fudge is a big hit and you can order some directly off their website so I think we'll be giving that a go. 


After another few hours of walking around and getting progressively more wet we were ready for dinner and i'd already made reservations at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen. Everyone i'd spoken to about Bath had spoken so highly of this restaurant so I knew that it really wasn't to be missed. I was excited to see if it lived up to expectations and I don't think either of us thought for one minute that the food would be just as magnificent and elegant as it was.

I really loved the general vibe of this restaurant. It was really relaxed and cosy with lots of cute features but it also felt perfect for a romantic meal or a special occasion. The menu was also pretty much 95% vegan which was pleasing to see and everything on it sounded really impressive and innovative. I'm not sure what we were expecting but I was quite taken aback by just how fancy the food was. And not in a pretentious or overpriced way but more so in it's ingenious originality.    


We ordered our food and was then surprised by the waitress with some bread and oil and an interesting amuse bouche compliments of the chef. Already our meal was off to a great start and we hadn't even got around to tasting what we had ordered! I really wish I had paid more attention to what the waitress told us the amuse bouche was but I can't for the life of me remember. It was however really diverse containing broccoli, cauliflower and some kind of pickled vegetable. 



For our starter we shared a parsnip risotto which featured pieces of parsnip cooked in different ways. Although at first I thought it was pretty small, it was actually a very good size for a rich dish like risotto. I've never tried a risotto like this in the past and it was nice to see something different than the usual mushroom or butternut squash offerings i'm used to. 


When our mains arrived I was blown away by the overall presentation, it looked more like a piece of art than a dinner! I think I just sat and looked at it for a good few minutes before deciding to ruin the beautiful display. This dish comprised of a slightly curried cauliflower with accompanying rice and some kind of potato croquet. Again, I wish I had paid more attention and without the menu to remind me I cannot recall exactly what everything was on the plate. It was however really tasty and flavoursome, as well as being quite stunning. I said to my husband that all of the food so far had reminded me of a dining experience we once had at London's Oxo Tower. I really wasn't expecting a fine dining experience like this for only £25.00 for 2 courses. 


Finally, and for our dessert, we shared between us a rich salted chocolate tart with sorbet. The menu had stated it comes with a peanut butter sorbet which I was really looking forward to trying, however the sorbet on the plate was more like a fruity raspberry flavour which really did go lovely with the chocolate, but I would still have liked to have tried the peanut butter flavour. Overall this was the perfect finish to an excellent evening where I could not fault anything. The location, service, food and general atmosphere of Acorn Kitchen was very much on point. 


I'm so grateful for receiving such excellent recommendations from my followers online. You guys really know your stuff and, even though we were only able to spend a day in Bath, I know that we definitely got to see the very best of the vegan offerings whilst we were there.

I'd really recommend a visit to Bath, there's so much to see and do and of course eat! I'm already looking forward to a return visit when the weather is hopefully a bit better than this time round and I am also planning on checking out nearby Bristol as I have so many recommendations i'm eager to try. 

Have you been to Bath before? What is your favourite vegan or veggie place to eat? 
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