The Bathampton Mill has been revitalised and renovated to the highest specification during its recent period of closure, and what a pleasure it is to visit. Always a spectacular location for its waterside garden and terraces, the interior is now equally on trend fizzing with quirky design ideas such as the frescoed ceiling in the restaurant worthy of Leonardo himself. The long bar welcomes and we took the opportunity to give the gin bar a try, choosing our own botanicals (orange and lemon) from the range laid out and what could be better, sipping ice-cold gin and tonics on the terrace in the late evening sunshine before the promise of an excellent dinner to come.
The restaurant is beautifully kitted out with large and comfortable dining chairs, marble top tables and, always a good sign, ice-buckets on stands dotted around just encouraging you to order that celebratory bottle of bubbly. The menu covers a wide range of dishes : meat, fish, vegan, burgers and pizzas and runs throughout the day and evening with all sorts of delicacies to tempt you.
Studiously ignoring the calorie contents listed on each dish (tomorrow we may eat salad and actually I even gave the “nourish bowl” a quick look but moved on), to start we ordered pan friend wild scallops with ras el hanout, smoked haddock Florentine bonbons, celeriac purée, apple and fennel tartare, and for me duck parfait with apricot and ginger chutney and blackcurrant curd. There was one of our favourites, chateaubriand for two to share, as a main course with a choice of sauces but the king prawn, crab and chorizo linguine sounded too good to miss along with pan-fried sea bass fillets with roasted red pepper and onion confit, lentils, pea purée, and baby potatoes.
We loved every bit of our starters the scallops were the best and the pairing with the smoked haddock bonbons (small fishcakes) was ingenious. My delicate pink duck parfait was as smooth as velvet, and I liked the accompanying tangy chutney. The wine list is excellent and rather upmarket – with our main courses we enjoyed a good glass of Château Léoube rosé which went down a treat.
The dinner success story was continued with the pan-fried sea bass, perfectly cooked with nice crisp skin, and the linguine bursting with prawns and crab did a good gum work-out with its highly spiced chilli sauce. Portions are very generous, but even so we didn’t turn away the dessert menu – Sicilian lemon posset with sable biscuits and apple and rhubarb crumble with Bourbon vanilla ice-cream were the order of the evening and relished to the last crumb.
Service was faultless throughout and having seen a posh tempura prawn sandwich on the lunch menu
we’ll be certain to return!