Restaurant Review: Sunday Lunch at The Cowshed

Regular readers may remember that I reviewed The Cowshed’s Sunday roast offering a couple of years ago, when I first started in the restaurant critic business – and I believe that at the time, I described it as one of the best roast dinners I’d ever had. Naturally, then, when The Cowshed got in touch and asked if I’d like to come again and try out this year’s menu, it didn’t take me very long to say yes.

Don’t worry – I’m going to get to the minute description of every delicious thing we ate in mouth-watering detail any minute now. But first I want to talk about why I love The Cowshed so much, which has a lot to do with their brilliant approach to local sourcing. All the meat comes from their partners, the Ruby & White butchery in Bristol, which works closely with local farmers – so they’re in control of the whole process from field to fork, making sure that quality and welfare are of the highest possible standard. And it’s not just their meat that’s locally sourced – working with Total Produce and Growfair, at The Cowshed they make sure they use as much fresh, local fruit and veg as possible.

Okay, I know what you came for – let’s talk about what we ate. The Sunday lunch portions at The Cowshed are extremely generous, but I knew it was my duty to sample all three courses, so to start we shared an incredible stew of mussels, clams and scallops (left). The sauce was creamy and fabulously rich (we could’ve done with some bread to soak it up, although I suppose then we really wouldn’t have had room for our mains) and the seafood was cooked to perfection. I particularly loved the clams and the crispy scallop on top, which was full of fabulous flavour. We washed it down with frosty pints of Stoney Bonk, a brilliant cider mixed with ginger beer from local makers Honey & Daughter, which I would recommend in the strongest possible terms – one of my favourite local tipples.

Next, the staff brought us a great platter of roast meats, crispy golden potatoes and huge fluffy Yorkshire puddings, plus jugs of gravy and enamel bowls of swede mash, buttered greens and The Cowshed’s incredible cauliflower cheese. The menu has expanded a little these days, so as well as the roast beef (an absolute must-try, of course, with the Ruby & White beef connection) we also ordered the confit belly pork, and shared both (above). I do love a bit of pork belly because it’s just so full of flavour, but in this case the beef was the star for me – perfectly cooked and really juicy.

Finally, of course, we just had to sample the desserts. I had a warm chocolate brownie (right) topped with the chef’s own home-churned ice cream, which had a beautiful texture, but I think my dining companion made the best choice – a gorgeously light panna cotta with a tart red berry coulis. I’m a sucker for a good chocolate brownie but it was a bit heavy after such a big lunch, so if you’re going for a roast I’d really recommend the panna cotta afterwards.

Phew! Just writing about it makes me feel full again. If you’re looking for a roast lunch in Bath, I honestly don’t think you can do any better than The Cowshed. As the weather gets warmer, you can even enjoy it on their beautiful terrace outside, with a view across Bath. Look out for future events on the terrace, including Sunday barbecues – I can’t wait.