Beautifully cooked plants have been on the menu in this little building on North Parade, Bath for some time; the restaurant was formerly Rachel Demuth’s vegetarian place, and it was a dinner-time destination for vegans in the South West for years before now.
A couple of years ago Demuth’s head chef Richard, and his business partners, bought the restaurant and Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen grew from some solid principles: using local ingredients, serving mainly plant-based dishes and food ‘prepared with skill and served from the heart’.
Bath is often packed full of people, it can feel pretty hectic, and for me Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen is a really relaxing nook where you can step away from the crowds and into a lunch haven. The interior colour palette is soothing, the tables are nestled together, and there’s even a booth for a ‘private party’ setting within the tiny restaurant. That’s cool because the place has the capacity to create a great evening atmosphere as well as being inviting during the day for hungry peace-seeking vegans like me!
The Kitchen gives you the option at lunch to gather together and enjoy little bites of the best bits of the menu, served as small plates, so you can have a taste of everything. This really excites me and my lunch pals because it’s often a surprise to find a long list of vegan dishes on a menu! Needless to say, we ordered quite a few small plates…
Polenta Chips and Seasonal Ketchup
Aged Cashew Puree with Wedge of Sourdough
Beetroot Tossed in Thyme oil and Dukkah
Garlic Broccoli, Carrot and Cashew Paté
Local Leaf Salad with Toasted Seeds and Seasonal Dressing.
The Carrot and Cashew Paté, with it’s cute carrot ribbon curled up on top, had this gorgeous thick, creamy texture and was more cashew than it was carrot to me, which is a great thing when you have secretly been hoping for something cashew cheeze based! I loved the little cubes of pickled kohlrabi on the side (pickle habit: satisfied), the paté was delicious and went down really well on a piece of sourdough.
Okay, so what I neglected to list earlier was that we had two small plates of the Aged Cashew Puree with Wedge of Sourdough (above: top right and bottom left). I have had the pleasure of this piquant dip once before… some dear friends took me to Bath for one thing they could count on to help ease my troubled mind at the time: great vegan food. And gin. But that cashew puree! It certainly soothed me.
So I definitely didn’t want my dining pals enthusiastically scooping it all away this lunchtime. It is sheer wonder this puree, a comfort food, an unusual food and a must try for every vegan (and vegan-curious) human out there! It’s like a melty cream cheese but way more delicate and flavoursome.
And so to dessert…
Oh dessert, you glorious feature of a greedy vegan’s ordinary life, you! Pictured is the delightful Vodka Steeped Cherries with Pistachio, Cacoa Chocolate and Cherry Sorbet. The sorbet was rich and tart, and the whole thing perfectly textured with the inclusion of the pistachios, and oh, those cherries!
And there is vegan Salted Chocolate Tart with Peanut Butter Sorbet. I have had the pleasure of this chocolatey slice before now, so when my dining pals ordered it I felt completely comforted by the knowledge that they would never again know life without peanut butter sorbet!
The proof of an outstanding vegan menu is in the pudding, or some such dessert-based cliché. But really. A good vegan dessert that does not resemble a fruit salad can sometimes be hard to find. I am one of those humans who can’t wait for the dessert menu, if I so much as suspect there might be a vegan option, and The Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen’s small but perfectly formed sweets list was a superb one.
The restaurant has seasonal cocktails on offer too, including a tempting summertime Rhubarb and Vanilla Martini, but as we were going to row off our lunch at the Bath Boating Station, I thought better of it. No one likes a drunk cox.
At The Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen there is a selection of non-plant-based items on the menu, but these fall away in the presence of so much awesome vegan food. The beating heart of this dining concept is that Plants Taste Better, and, of course, I thoroughly agree.
The Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, 2 North Parade Passage (just off Abbey Green), Bath BA1 1NX