Lunch in Bristol, Bath or Tetbury?

When did you last eat out for lunch? The average person takes less than 30 minutes to eat lunch, and according to a BUPA survey, it’s affecting productivity. So let’s get lunch back on the menu!

When you do have the chance to eat lunch, do you treat yourself? Taking afternoon tea as a treat just grows and grows, but why not lunch? We’ve found it an amazing way to try a Michelin-starred restaurant for under £30 or to try out another to see whether an evening meal will tempt us. Here are three different suggestions for lunch.

Singing for our lunch at Henry’s Bath

Well not quite. My husband had a choir rehearsal in Bath, so we wanted to eat within easy reach of the Abbey but not too full on. It wasn’t the day for a tasting menu. I found Henry’s in rather a round about way. I saw a review for a French restaurant that used to be housed in the same building on Saville Row, discovered it was closed, then read about Henry’s opening. The menu was simple and tempting – we booked.

Arriving a few minutes before 12, we were rather dumfounded at the large flowerpot in front of the door. The waitress seeing us hovering luckily rescued us, and ushered us in through a standard front door. I guess you just had to know where to go! Inside the room is simple and welcoming.

A two course lunch is £19. It has all the right emphasis on good British ingredients. A lovely surprise is that Henry adds occasional subtle asian flavours to the dishes, bringing something unexpected but at the same time absolutely right.

Mackerel tartare was a lovely surprise, such a fresh taste topped with a savoury Japanese paste. My crispy quails egg with truffle mash was comfort food at its finest. We both relished the lamb with the most flavoursome wild garlic sauce. And a very fine finish, chocolate fondant tart that oozed in all the right places, teamed with a Szechuan custard.

The chefs deliver the dishes as they are completed – a lovely touch. We certainly found a gem and almost by mistake. By the way, there is also a separate vegan menu that looked tempting

When the boat came in to Bath

Now based in Cornwall, Lee Skeet has previously worked at Hedone and with Gordon Ramsay and perhaps not unexpectedly his passion is fish and seafood. He brings the freshest fish to pop ups around the South West delighting diners such as myself! We had Sunday lunch at his pop up at Wilson’s in Bristol. How did we discover this one? On a tweet on Twitter.

Baked oysters with bone marrow and parsley; roast cauliflower, clams, grapes and chervil; ravioli of Cornish cheddar and yarg, Roast langoustine, Cornish duck and shellfish sauce at Lee Skeet's
Baked oysters with bone marrow and parsley; roast cauliflower, clams, grapes and chervil; ravioli of Cornish cheddar and yarg, Roast langoustine, Cornish duck and shellfish sauce at Lee Skeet’s

Imagine 9 different dishes! Cost was £45 each. It’s strange eating in a restaurant that has simply become a space for eating in. No looking at the wine list chalked on the wall deciding what to drink. You were reminded to bring your own.

I always look forward to eating oysters – it has to be when I am eating out as my husband is allergic. These were very slightly cooked first and had the most beautiful texture and taste. Other revelations included the ravioli – the contents were surprisingly liquid and very good. The meaty chicken jus was a perfect accompaniment to the langoustine and the fascinating combination of the shellfish sauce with the duck. Lee definitely knows how to make the most of Cornish seafood and his flavour combinations are not to be missed.

We were one of the first tables in. With a short break between services, Lee would be cooking well into the evening – a perfect Sunday lunch for me a rewarding but long day for him. Who needs roast? His next pop up in Bristol is on 16th April.

Eating within limits at Tetbury

We were chatting with Helen of Day’s Cottage producers of apple juices and cider and in season, some very fine apples. She mentioned that they supplied the Priory Inn in Tetbury – a place that aims to source 90% of its ingredients within a 30-mile radius. Having stocked up with flour from Shipton Mill, we headed off to the Priory to lunch. There’s a lovely potager-style garden outside which must look lovely when Spring has truly arrived. A welcoming fire greeted us (this was a few weeks ago). It’s a large space – we were seated in a slightly raised area

Eggs Benedict is one of my favourite brunch dishes, and thought this would be great for lunch. My husband plumped for a veal schnitzel – a true retro dish from a large menu that also lists pizzas. He struck gold with this dish – a great combination of tender meat, crispy crumb and a creamy mushroom sauce. My dish had curiously cold toast with cold ham on top. This was dealt with quickly and a hotter dish arrived. Seasonal vegetables and chips were welcome additions. We decided on desserts and rather wished we hadn’t – sticky toffee pudding and creme brulee. It may not be fair, but these seem to have the air of being bought it rather than home made.

Of Day’s Cottage juices there was no mention on the menu. We asked the waitress and she brought us some – how curious. This place has so much going for it, but it just seems to be trying a little too hard. Perhaps reduce the size of the menu and concentrate on a more limited number of dishes?

I wonder where we should have lunch next?

Find out more

Henry’s Restaurant, 4 Saville Row, Bath. Open Tuesday to Saturday 01225 780055

Check out Lee Skeet’s website for locations of his next pop ups. Follow Lee Skeet on Twitter or Instagram

The Priory Inn, London Road, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8JJ 01666 502251. Follow the Priory Inn on Twitter or Instagram

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