Review: Aqua Bath, lunch & early dinner menu
Total Guide's latest culinary expedition saw us taste the delights of Aqua in Bath, after we were kindly invited along to pass verdict on their lunch and early dinner set menu. Here's how Total Bath's Liz Ledger got on.
Situated in the middle of the artisan area of Bath on Walcot Street, and just a few minutes’ walk from Milsom Street and The Abbey, Aqua needs to be on your lunchtime list, if it isn’t already!
We were invited to review the new Spring/Summer Lunch/Early Dinner menu which offers two seasonal courses for just £10.95 between 12 and 7, Monday to Saturday.
My guest and I combined the review with a business meeting so we could put the mid-week lunchtime offering to the test. We explained on arrival that we only had an hour for our business lunch.
With the time limitation, we could then see whether the 2 course option was suitable for lunch breaks, business lunches or a quick bite in between a shopping visit.
As you’d expect from a converted Church House, the restaurant certainly has the wow factor. Despite the décor being cool and chic, the candlelit setting and interesting features make it cosy and welcoming.
We were greeted warmly and our drinks orders were taken as soon as we were seated.
We were then presented with the set menu and Ben talked us through the dishes.
I was amazed at the selection; being just £10.95 for 2 courses I have to admit my expectations weren’t very high and I thought we would have a choice of pizza, pasta or salad, so when I saw smoked Haddock Brandade and rump steak on the menu I knew I had been very presumptuous.
The menu had been clearly thought out to use seasonal ingredients and to cater for all tastes and diets. Although there were only 6 options per course (as you’d expect from a set menu), it was really hard to choose as all sounded delicious.
To help with this important decision, we took Ben’s recommendations. I ordered the Poached Egg with Sauted Leeks, fennel and truffle oil, followed by the Grilled trout with watercress and almond honey salad dressing.
My guest went for the smoked haddock followed by the slow roasted pork belly with cabbage, cranberries and sauté potatoes.
After ordering, we connected to Aqua’s free WIFI and got to work on our iPads.
After just 10 minutes our starters arrived.
Straight away you could see that just because this was a set meal, the team had cut no corners. The portion sizes were very generous and the presentation was beautiful.
My eggs were perfectly cooked with a soft and creamy centre; the drizzled yolk complimented the earthy sautéed leeks beautifully.
My guest’s haddock was soft, succulent and the brandade gave it a nice contrasting crunch. With no attention to detail spared, it was garnished beautifully and looked almost too good to eat.
Although the portions were generous, the dishes were light enough to get our appetites going for the main.
We were really impressed that although we were limited for time, the staff didn’t hang around our table making us feel like we needed to rush our starter so they could hurry out the mains. The team are clearly used to requests for speedy lunchtime turnarounds!
After another 10 minute wait the mains arrived. My trout was bursting with summer colours and flavours. And the salad dressing complimented the dish perfectly.
My guest’s pork belly was far superior to any pork belly we’ve had in the area (normally £20+!). It wasn’t swimming with fat and it had a thin layer of crunchy crackling with a generous serving of seasonal vegetables and gravy.
We even had time to spare, so feeling satisfied but not too full, we finished our working lunch with a cappuccino.
We could have quite happily stayed another hour to take in the surroundings and atmosphere.
I’m so glad we were invited to sample this fantastic early diner offer. The team have clearly put a lot of thought in to creating an interesting menu to make use of all the season’s best foods at exceptional value.
You’d be hard pushed to find this quality at this price anywhere else - and in such stunning surroundings.
As well as the beautiful restaurant, Aqua has a large terrace area outside the front of the building so you can enjoy the menu Al Fresco style taking in the buzzing atmosphere of Walcot Street.
To have this quality food for just £10.95 in under an hour is quite unbelievable. I’m just regretful I’ve been having a latte and panini for working lunches which costs the same!