Steph and I recently had a week off, and rather than explore a new and exotic city as we normally do when the opportunity presents itself, this time we decided to stay at home and enjoy some of the wonderful places and activities closer to home (read the full account here). It also gave us the chance to try some of the local restaurants we’ve been meaning to for a while. One of those restaurants is the Mint Rooms which specialises in Indian cuisine with style! There’s one in Bath, and one a convenient 20 minute walk from home, situated between Clifton Village and the Triangle.
The restaurant feels classy, but not pretentious, and you get a warm welcome as you enter. Hanging on the walls above the tables are a selection of old bicycles which are a fun departure from the normal art restaurants default to and which is so easily overlooked. The nicely designed heavy cutlery adds to the feel of class.
The menu has a handful of familiar sounding dishes, but for the most part the names are new and you need to use the descriptions to guide you, and of course, the friendly staff are happy to talk you through any queries and give recommendations based upon your preferences.
There were lots of tempting options on the a la carte menu and we could easily have satisfied ourselves, but there was another option: A seven course tasting menu which gave you the opportunity to sample a range of what the chefs at the Mint Rooms can do. We were sold!
We started with a twist on poppadoms, and a light and fresh amuse bouche of pickled vegetables to get our taste buds tingling.
A cumin and curry leaf flavoured tomato sauce with potato fritter and coconut foam was our first proper course; a subtle zing added to a familiar dish with a crisp fritter which gave a great texture contrast.
Our next two courses, the fish dishes, came together. I’m not a fan of fishy tasting fish, but I’d taken a calculated punt on these two, hoping the delicate but meaty fish wouldn’t overpower the flavour of the dish. I was rewarded with two delicious pieces of ideally cooked fish which flaked apart and had a great flavour balance. The lemon sole cured in malt vinegar in a spicy batter was crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. The tandoori grilled monkfish in a cashew and almond yogurt marinade had a gentle satay flavour.
Mains of chicken in a bell pepper and chili sauce and slow cooked lamb in a caramalised onion, tomato and ginger sauce were served with yellow lentils, rice with cumin and saffron and garlic naan bread. The chicken dish would have been my choice had we gone a la carte so I was delighted to see it on the tasting menu, and delighted further still when I tasted it. Both dishes had punchy but not overpowering flavour and had everything you’d want from your curry fix – don’t be put off by the unfamiliar names.
We just about managed to make our way through the generous portions of side dishes and buy this point the prospect of dessert seemed a little daunting, but the light and fragrant tandoori cooked honey-glazed pineapple with rose ice cream was well judged to finish a great menu.
To accompany our wonderful meal we had more than our fair share of cocktails; twists on some of classics which worked really well and did the trick perfectly!
I’ve had Indian food before which tried to be too fancy and it didn’t quite work. The team at the Mint Rooms have worked in Michelin star kitchens and it shows; the food was perfectly cooked and the flavours delicately balanced. It struck just the right balance between beautiful presentation without being over the top or having unnecessary garnishes. The front of house team were fun and attentive without being intuitive or pushy. In summary, everything was perfectly balanced and we loved it!