Dan Moon at The Gainsborough
A quiet serenity underpins the luxury on offer at The Gainsborough. This impressive hotel and spa spans two Grade II listed buildings in the heart of historic Bath. We were instantly enthralled by the subtle opulence and elegant styling that greeted us. On our arrival we took a seat in the Gainsborough Bar, which is tucked away from the main lobby for an intimate atmosphere. Our friendly mixologist offered us a taste of the bespoke cocktail service; after just five simple questions we heard the satisfying clink of shaken ice and our cocktails were soon served. My lychee-infused Tequila Sunrise was enhanced by lashings of lime and an edible flower garnish. As our glasses emptied, we perused the restaurant’s enticing menus; a difficult choice between the five-course, seven-course and à la carte offering. We opted for the seven-course tasting menu – a stunning arrangement of esteemed head chef Dan Moon’s specialities – and accompanying wine flight. Each wine pairing is explained in enlightening detail by the expert front-of-house team.
Seated in the restaurant, we welcomed the arrival of a selection of miniature loaves of bread with assorted butters, which preceded that of the rich chicken tea amuse-bouche, which was poured from a pretty Japanese teapot. The Jerusalem artichoke velouté that followed was creamy beyond belief and elevated by sumptuous goat’s curd, black truffle and sherry vinegar gel. Smoked fillet of beef was next on the agenda; it came topped with foie gras, horseradish cream, fennel and a pané quail’s egg. The dish was beautifully constructed and revealed from under a smoke-filled cloche for added theatre. Leading up to the main of roast Creedy Carver duck with confit spring roll, plum and sesame was my personal favourite: sautéed scallop with sumptuous shellfish risotto, king prawn, delicate beads of yuzu and seaweed. Dry and fruity chenin blanc matched the zesty yuzu and cleansed the palate between each delightful mouthful. The duck was followed by the highly anticipated dessert of chocolate delice with salted caramel ice cream, vanilla mousse and hazelnuts. Decorated with cranberry sorbet, lemon balm, meringue and passion fruit sauce, the triumphant finale came in the form of a stunningly presented lemon mousse. The cuisine at this three AA-rosette-awarded restaurant is exquisite; each dish is presented with confidence and served with abundant knowledge.