Restaurant Review: The Hare & Hounds

Perched right at the top of one of the hills that surround Bath, the Hare and Hounds has one of the best views in the city – or at least, it does if you don’t turn up on a night when the valley is filled with heavy, grey rain. We were undeterred though, because the restaurant was so cosy – fat pillar candles burnt beside every tall, leaded window, banishing the gloom outside, and the air was full of the cheery sounds of cutlery clinking and people having a lovely time.

Following consultation with our waiter, I opted for a glass of Verdicchio Classico, a lovely floral Italian white, to wash down my seafood starter of clams, bacon and samphire in a creamy marinière sauce. My dining companion chose a glass of the house homemade lemonade and the soup of the day, which was asparagus, but frankly I can’t give you any more information than that because I just have to go back to my starter and how absolutely incredibly delicious it was. The flavours in the marinière sauce were gorgeous – rich, creamy and deep – and went perfectly with salty bacon and meltingly soft clams. I knew it would compromise my ability to eat my main course but I couldn’t resist asking for more bread to mop up every single drop.

Having admitted that my starter had filled me up rather a lot, it was probably a mistake to order an 8 oz. rump steak next, but I’d heard such good things about steak at the Hare & Hounds that I felt honour-bound to try it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed – the meat was perfectly cooked and served with delicious garlicky, buttery mushrooms and beautifully crunchy chips. My dining companion went for the house veggie burger, made with chickpeas, mushrooms and onions, and served with halloumi and chilli jam. Although he’s not a vegetarian, he does love a veggie burger, so he’s something of an expert, and he really enjoyed it, but I must say that while I liked the flavours, for me the smooth, soft texture was just a bit wrong for a burger.

Entirely stuffed, we soldiered on to dessert – I took restaurant manager James’ recommendation and tried the grilled pineapple with brown sugar, rum, mint, and coconut ice cream, which was gorgeously summery, especially the ice cream. My dining companion opted for the citrus posset with shortbread – not my kind of thing, but he assures me it was top notch. We finished with a cheeky little Courvoisier – I do love a brandy after dinner – although I should mention that my first choice would have been the 10 year-old Somerset cider brandy, which is normally available and definitely worth trying. Full marks for effort, though, to the waiter who went down to the cellar to double check for me that they didn’t have any left.

In short, the Hare & Hounds ticked all the boxes for me – excellent service, a great atmosphere, good booze and even better food. Heartily recommended.