Earlier this month, I became a year older. It wasn’t a landmark birthday (nothing to see here, thank you very much) but I was treated to a little day trip to Bath, somewhere I visited a lot as a child but haven’t explored in ages. I love Bath, birthplace of Jane Austen and home to an abbey, Roman baths and a Christmas shop that’s open all year round. There’s also an established vegetarian and vegan scene which we were keen to check out and as time was short, (by the time we got there it was mid-afternoon) we focussed on filling our faces with food.
First stop was The Green Rocket for a slice of birthday cake. This is a lovely little café and restaurant that offers tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners and does a mean line in vegan cake, too. As it’s right bang in the city centre, it’s also a good spot for people watching.
After some deliberation, I settled for the chocolate and pistachio slice and Kie had a peanut butter and banana cake. Both were delicious and I’ll definitely be returning to try out the rest of the menu; I’ve got my eye on the Bloody Mary tomatoes on toast which would make the perfect brunch.
After a stroll by the river, some bookshop browsing and trying on specs at Boots Opticians (yes, really), we headed over to Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen for a celebratory supper. This cosy bistro features in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2016 and scooped the Viva! Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant title in 2014. Owner and head chef Richard Buckley goes by the philosophy that plants taste better and his menus certainly reflect that; he takes local, seasonal ingredients and turns them into magnificent meals. A three-course dinner is great value at £33 and the wine’s reasonably priced, too. Here’s what we ate.
To start, Kie had the split pea soup with salt baked celeriac and orange zaatar. He didn’t think to photograph this (stupid man) but said it was delicious – I tried some and can testify this. I opted for the oven roasted Jerusalem artichokes with toasted sunflower seed butter and pink grapefruit and it was out-of-this-world good. I really didn’t want the experience of eating it to end and no, my photo doesn’t do it justice.
It was pretty hard to choose the mains, but in the end, Kie had the slow cooked winter squash with pine nut risotto, shredded Brussels sprouts, garlic and lemon zest. Again, I tried some (obvs) and it was one of the nicest risottos I’ve ever tried.
For me, it had to be the sautéed cauliflower heart with cauliflower puree, onion bhajis, potato, cauliflower rice, raisin and lemon. While Kie was tucking into his food, I was busy photographing my food – cue the ‘amusing’ snap of me below.
I eventually put down my phone to enjoy my dinner. This is definitely one of the most imaginative meals I’ve had at a restaurant (take note, non-vegetarian chefs) and the different textures and flavours were a marriage made in heaven.
All good things must come to an end but not before dessert. Kie chose the salted chocolate tart with peanut butter sorbet and it was dreamy.
Excited to try my first rhubarb of the year (yes, I just wrote that), I had the Yorkshire forced rhubarb with almond amaretto cream, fennel sorbet and almond crumb. The shocking pink on my plate and the heady mixture of sweet and sharp flavours made it a pretty perfect pud.
What a dinner. If you’re after an extra-special dinner (whether you’re veggie, vegan or omni) give Acorn a try. You’ll be glad that you did.