‘Just when I thought I could not have picked a more inappropriate venue for our relaxed evening of family bonding, they gave us the tasting menus. YES, TASTING MENUS. 68 effing pounds per sodding person.’
Friday 7th April
w/ Ross & Rachel
The Olive Tree, Bath
So, I went to my brother’s this weekend to see his new house. I say new, he moved in 2 years ago and I have only just got my arse in gear and planned a visit. Ross is the eldest of my younger siblings and definitely the most grown up by far. Not only does he own a house, he is also getting married next year which, I have to say, did throw me a bit when I found out. It wasn’t the text saying ‘Yo, Rach and I are getting married’ that did it, but just the thought that it is very possible all of my brothers will be married and having kids before I even get a boyfriend. I just have this terrifying image of me being the old crazy aunty that gets sympathy invites to 5th wheel their family get togethers. And I will have to decline because my 300 cats will miss me too much. FML.
I say that but, as long as Luke stays the way he is at the moment I am safe. There is no way anyone in their right mind would be willing to put up with him and his crazy, disturbing and borderline psychotic antics. Ah, that’s maybe a bit too harsh, he’s alright really. It’s not his fault he’s ginger.
Then there is Tom, the baby of the family who is currently ‘finding himself’ in New Zealand and, from his Instagram photos, he has become far too much of a Lad to settle down anytime soon.
Panic over. I’m safe, for now.
I was greeted at their little chocolate box house by a tiny real life teddy bear. Hugo is so small, I’m not really sure he counts as a dog. Ross did tell me Rachel has a habit of making eBay purchases without checking the dimensions to then receive a doll’s house size version, so it is quite possible that there was a ‘no returns’ policy with Hugo. He is very sweet though and obvs couldn’t get enough of me, until I mentioned the word ‘brush’ and he soon buggered off.
While Rachel was off at work, Ross took me out for brunch at a local café called Neston Farm Shop & Kitchen. In comparison to other farm cafes, I would say this place was pretty high up there. The mixed matched chairs and stable walls to divide the restaurant from the shop is a nice idea. The big hit for me was it being so bright and airy – you just can’t find this in London. Maybe I could build this in Brockwell Park. YES. With chickens in the garden. AND I could use fresh veg from Brockwell Greenhouses – doesn’t get more local than that! Boom, next project sorted.
We both had the Eggs Royale and because I was absolutely starving I also ordered the Scotch pancakes. I think my stomach must have shrunk that morning as I only managed the eggs. However, I did have a bite of the bacon and maple syrup pancakes to see what all the fuss was about but to be honest, I still don’t know.
SHIT I have just remembered I am supposed to be a vegetarian. Bugger.
Ooo, I must tell you about what I bought in the farm shop. They sell all the usual stuff that you would expect to see but was pleasantly surprised to find a cacao mill! Who knew! Elements for Life have made a pepper mill filled instead with raw cacao nibs so you can sprinkle them in your breakfast etc. Genius.
This will take my peanut-butter-banana smoothie to a whole new posh level.
I was later tasked with the responsibility of booking a restaurant, which shouldn’t be too difficult, you’d think. I do love The Pig-near Bath but they were full and I wanted to try something new so found an article on the Telegraph website. I thought that everywhere would be booked on a Friday night so decided I would take the first booking I could get. I should have probably clocked on when they said they would charge my card £50 per person if I cancelled that this place was going to be spenny.
I even wrote in my last blog that I must start checking the website and menu out first. I am clearly never going to learn.
I had only packed my usual black jumper, jeans and trainers (I did buy a green skirt the other day FYI – big news, I know!) so didn’t plan on going anywhere very formal. Which was really awkward when the 3 of us turned up to find out that this restaurant was fine dining and I couldn’t change my mind because they would charge my card. I very quickly realised this and decided to own it by switching on the rockstar confidence – I can wear anything I like, I am so rich and famous.
I think the fact that I was dressed so casually threw the waitress a bit because she asked us all if she could take our non-existent jackets for us. Slightly embarrassed, she walked us through to the empty restaurant and sat us at the biggest table of 3 I have ever seen. This was a table that could seat 6 people comfortably and was positioned in front of a small alcove banquette with a single arm chair on the opposite side. Not only was I third wheeling but I was sat approximately 3 metres from Ross and Rachel. And, as Rory will tell you, I am not one to shout across a table or enjoy the whole restaurant listening to my conversations.
Just when I thought I could not have picked a more inappropriate venue for our relaxed evening of family bonding, they gave us the tasting menus. YES, TASTING MENUS. 68 effing pounds per sodding person.
We could have had a main course from the menu for £26 each but for fear of it turning up to be a mouthful of food on a plate, we decided to commit, go all out and order the whole menu.
After placing our orders with the waiter, who was very funny and made us feel really comfortable – he had definitely realised the cock up I had made, Ross and I discussed what kebab we would be having later when we left still hungry.
The appetizers were insane and possibly one of the most interesting mix of flavours and textures my tastebud’s have ever experienced in one mouthful.
Alex, don’t go there.
Unfortunately, I can’t actually tell you what it was other than there was some blue cheese going on somewhere.
Call me arrogant but, I wish the waiters weren’t told to explain each dish to me when they serve it. Trying to talk to me when my food has just been placed in front of me in a restaurant is like trying to get your dog’s attention when you just given it their breakfast.
If I want to know what I am eating, I will read the menu or just ask you when you collect the plate that I have resisted licking clean. And, before you judge me, that drop left on the plate is costing me £5.
My favourite dish/mouthful was the quail. Ever since I had the quail dish at Merchant’s Tavern (which no one has beaten, until now) I have been the biggest fan. So many of my friend’s squirm at the thought of eating quail but it is SO good, you’re missing out if you don’t try it. Just get a grip, no one likes a fussy eater.
Dessert was pretty good too, it was like a posh Snickers choc-ice. As I have definitely said before, I am a sucker for anything with peanut butter in.
Just as we were finishing dessert the restaurant filled up, so for anyone booking the Olive Tree, make sure you book for 8.30 – 9pm, unless you enjoy awkward silent atmospheres.
And, I would definitely suggest avoiding this restaurant for dates with ginger Scotsmen, or any quiet restaurant for that matter. Or dates in general, actually.
My only criticism would be the lack of atmosphere, I think the music choice could help that though, it is a bit ‘hotel lobby’ at the moment.
All in all I thought that the Telegraph were right to put Olive Tree on their list. The service is faultless which is a big winner for me, the food is delicious and I love the decor. I need their green leather and velvet chairs in my life.
So, £300 later and the hunger pangs comfortably satisfied, we hit the town for a crazy night out. We had 2 espresso Martinis in Circo, got a cab back home via McDonalds and passed out before midnight, doesn’t get much crazier.
Post 3 done. BOSH.
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