Restaurant Review: The Mint Room, Bath in Somerset
For an exquisite array of textured, flavoured and perfectly spiced food I don’t think you can beat Indian food. I am not ashamed to say that it’s not often a week goes by where the other half and I haven’t gorged on this wonderful cuisine. So when I get the chance to review an Indian restaurant I snap it up!
The Mint Room in Bath aims to combine tradition and modernity to offer you an experience with their food. This can be seen in the Taste of India – a tasting menu that takes you through the wonderful variety of cuisine available from the country. From traditional street food through to gourmet delights, Nick and I certainly enjoyed the culinary journey we travelled.
We rocked up one rainy January evening, a little too early – not recommended if you can help it as there isn’t a bar/waiting area set up – but we were very well taken care of. We soon got to our corner table, ready to be transported. The menu states: “Let us take you on a culinary tour of our vast continent, where flavours, spicing and style of cooking vary widely by region, from the rich, tomato and lamb based dishes of the north and east to the coconut milk and mustard seed flavoured seafood of the south. Let us transport you to our vibrant colourful country with a selection of tasting dishes from every corner of the continent.” We were eager to start.
First up came a selection of street foods, which were served with some interesting explanations and consisted of crispy light popadoms with tomato and mango chutneys, pani puri – a filled puff ball with spicy chickpeas, potato and pomegranate seeds, bhel puri – a puffed rice cone with lots of textures in the peanuts, puffed rice and Bombay mix and aloo papadi chaat – a Dehli street food that Nick and I love. Potato, chickpeas, crushed pastry balls are mixed in with creamy yogurt then drizzled with tamarind and mint chutney to create a little bowl of deliciousness.
Next up was a crispy tempura king prawn, Punjabi grilled lamb chop and an aloo tikki. I don’t often like lamb but this was lovely; it was well spiced and cooked well done, which I liked but Nick didn’t and the sauces and thin strips of vegetables were a good accompaniment. We both didn’t like the aloo tikki, which was a crispy deep fried ball of potato, cashew nuts and Brie; it was stodgy, not overly flavoursome and stuck to the roof of my mouth a little.
Our selection of main course dishes consisted of Bengali tawa duck, lamb lal maas, lamb dum biryani, Keralan seabass moilee, Dehli chicken makhani, raita and a chilli and garlic naan. The highlights for me were the tender, tandoor smoked butter chicken with lovely flavours, the delicate, meaty seabass with gentle sauce, the lovely, crisp naan with a kick of flavour and the lamb biryani with fragrant basmati rice, Somerset lamb, served under a sealed hot pastry crust. This banquet of main dishes utilised local meats, a variation of cooking styles and range of spiciness, which awakened our palates.
Leaving us a little full at this point we took a bit of time before the dessert plate to reflect on The Mint Room and our experience thus far. The smart, sumptuous and ultra glamorous décor offered a welcoming environment for the meal, reinforced by the very amiable waiters. Some might find the décor a little too glitzy – there’s a gold glittered feature wall tucked behind some alcoves – but I can’t say I minded. Low lighting from round ceiling fittings toned down said feature wall and the single, large room was split up by back to back banquet seating in cream with a transparent partition in between. Semi circle sofas in the alcoves lined the walls and our booth offered us a good view of the restaurant, which was decorated in browns, beiges and creams.
Our dessert plate arrived and looked very tantalising, holding a traditional Indian sweet dumpling, vanilla purée, coconut ice cream and chocolate ganache pudding. Sitting on a herby green sauce, which I really could have done without, the sweet, syrupy, dense dumpling was lovely, especially with the tasty ice cream, which I am a big fan of anyway. The layered chocolate slice looked nice but was a bit disappointing and we both enjoyed a cup of jasmine tea to complete the meal.
It’s safe to say we both thoroughly enjoyed the Taste of India menu and our evening as a whole. Lovely smiling, attentive staff made our evening with their friendly chatter every time they visited the table, the evening ran smoothly and we felt very well taken care of throughout the night. Other diners clearly feel the same as the restaurant was packed on an early January Friday evening. The atmosphere buzzed and The Mint Room clearly succeeds in bringing authentic Indian cuisine to a British audience, adjusting to the gentler palates and adding a layer of sophistication.
Address: Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Rd, Bath BA2 3EB / 01225 446656