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