On Friday we had dinner at “The Circus” a newly reopened restaurant in the centre of Bath. First impressions are very good, the room is nicely decorated in a modern style, and the table settings are good, and the waiting staff very friendly and professional.
The menu looks interesting, and the wine list was good. Lots of good French regional wine plus a few Spanish and Italians that are very well priced – average price about £16.
Bread was presented in a large basket with a choice of good hunks of rustic white or brown, and butter is served very cold on a little plate. So far so good – expectations are high.
The menu has a lot of choice and some interesting items. We start with “Crab cakes made with Beesands crabmeat, spring onions, wasabi and fresh herbs, Served with pickled limes”. Sounds great, you expect spanking fresh crab from Devon set off with herbs and spiced up with a little wasabi. You get a Thai style fish cake, which is dense and rubbery served with an Indian style homemade lime pickle. Unfortunately not only didn’t the flavours mesh together – Japanese, Indian, and Thai – but none of the elements are executed very well. My partner had the “Duck liver parfait with toasted fruit bread” which was very well done, good bread, a well-flavoured and textured parfait and good homemade chutney.
My main course was “Crisp roast Somerset duckling with potatoes cooked in duck fat and a shallot, thyme, and red wine gravy”. I had put the starter down to good ambition that was slightly misdirected, however the main course confirmed that something isn’t quite right in the kitchen. Both the duck and potatoes looked like they had come out of the deep fat fryer. The duck was very crispy, but the meat was very well done, tough and quite tasteless – grey and chewy. The potatoes also lacked flavour, the crust was smooth, not really the crunchy texture you expect from a duck fat roasted potato. The sauce also lacked flavour; a sort of insipid onion and red wine mixture, rather than an integrated sauce.
My partner’s main was a fish special, a grey mullet with an interesting sauce, was well cooked. Simply grilled fish and a good-sized portion. The only negative was a lack of vegetables or potatoes; we hadn’t been told there was none served with the dish.
Desert was a “Dark Chocolate and salted peanut caramel tart with cream” this was very, very sweet, almost like a turbo charged mars/snickers bar – it was excessive, not subtle, but good.
We tend to rate our restaurant experiences in four categories: 1. We will return (lets book again on the way out); 2. Goes on the list to go back to; 3. OK but wouldn’t return, and 4. Bad. We can’t makeup our mind about this one; it hovers between 2 and 3. Good location in a historic part of Bath, two good dishes, but two really really bad ones, it is nicely presented and has good staff. Bill for two with one glass of wine was £42.20.