Here at Taste of Bath, we’re not just about delicious local produce that you can enjoy at home – we also love to celebrate fabulous independent restaurants, particularly those that make an effort to use local produce on their menus! So last week, we sent some of the Taste of Bath team (resident blogger Sal, and admin wizard Emma) down to review one of Bath’s favourite Indian restaurants, the Mint Room. Feeling tempted? Check out our fabulous competition to WIN a dining experience for two at the Mint Room!
The Mint Room is seriously popular in Bath – so I’m ashamed to say that this was my very first visit! Having tried their outstanding food, though, I’m confident that it won’t be my last. It’s a classically elegant Indian restaurant, immaculately presented, with the incredible service you’d usually expect, but the menu is anything but predictable.
Although you can explore the a la carte at your leisure, to get a proper taste of the Mint Room we opted for their Tour of India tasting menu, inspired by the favourite flavours and ingredients of India’s many different regions, in particular the most popular street food dishes. With four sumptuous courses for only £39 (or £60 with a wine flight) it’s a seriously good deal and one that Emma and I would highly recommend. Not only that, but it’s a menu liberally sprinkled with fabulous local ingredients. The Mint Room source all of their meat from Bath butchers Bartlett & Sons, including Wiltshire lamb and Somerset chicken, and all of their fish from Charles Saunders Ltd, in Bristol, who supply fresh seafood from many Devon and Cornwall markets. Supporting local produce: tick!
Having filled our glasses (Malbec for me, suggested by our friendly waiter to pair with the food, and Sauvignon Blanc for Emma), we started with a selection of small appetisers. Our first was Pani Puri, a crisp pastry ball filled with spiced chickpea and potato, and served with a tamarind shot to pour inside. Our waiter recommended we eat it fast, all in one mouthful, after pouring in the shot, to avoid the liquid soaking through the pastry and spilling everywhere. I have to admit, neither of us made it look particularly elegant and we did get the giggles afterwards, but it was delicious! Alongside this tricky little taster, we also had Bhel Puri, puffed rice with toasted peanuts, tamarind and mint chutney, and Aloo Papadi Chaat, which combined spicy potatoes, chickpeas and creamy yoghurt with drizzling of tamarind and mint chutney. This last one we both agreed was our favourite, full of fresh bright flavours.
Next, we were served Punjabi Grilled Chops, and Aloo Tikki, a deep-fried potato ball filled with melted Brie. We were both rather excited about this second one, but although it was very tasty, we felt it was a bit light on the melted cheese, which didn’t make much of an impact. The Punjabi Grilled Lamb Chop, however, was the standout dish of the night for me – slow-cooked for hours, it was gorgeously tender, and the spicing was perfectly balanced.
For the main event, the waiting staff brought us a whole feast of different small dishes to share – taster-sized portions of four different curries, alongside braised rice and a basket of fresh naan bread (which was particularly good – light and fluffy, and flavoured with plenty of chilli and fresh herbs). I do love a sharing meal, because I always find it so hard to narrow my menu choices down, so this was ideal. My particular favourite was the Bengali Tawa Duck, a beautifully tender smoked and pan-fried duck breast served with a coconut and cashew sauce – the flavours were all quite subtle, but made for a delicious combination. Emma wasn’t quite so keen on this one (so I got to eat all of it, result!) but her favourite was Lamb Lal Maas, lamb cutlets seasoned with Kashmiri chillies and a traditional spice mix. We also both loved the Dehli Chicken Makhani, or ‘butter chicken’, in a rich creamy tomato sauce.
Finally, we made it to the dessert course. Although we’d tried all sorts of delicious dishes by this point, the portions had been perfectly judged so that we still (just about) had room for a little kulfi, traditional Indian ice cream, which came in a pretty little palette of pastel colours. We both agreed that our favourite was the pistachio, which was gorgeously creamy and delicious (forget the portion control, I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of this).
I’d have no hesitation in recommending the Mint Room generally and their tasting menu in particular – it’s a fantastic way to explore gorgeous flavours from all over India, and makes you realise just how much the cuisine varies across the country. Add to that the fact that the dishes are beautifully thought-out and presented, starring great local produce and served by staff who can’t do enough for you, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect foodie evening out.
Don’t forget, if this review has got your mouth watering, check out our brilliant competition to WIN bar food & cocktails for two at the Mint Room!