What’s in a name? Pub, restaurant, gastropub, bistro, dining pub … they’ve all become a bit mixed up lately. The Bath Arms’ owner and chef Dean Carr is determinedly sticking to the ”pub” moniker though, asserting that his place is, ‘A public house, open to everyone, whether it’s for a pint or a nice meal.’
It’s that kind of understatement that makes The Bath Arms such a lovely place, because while you’d be thoroughly welcome to turn up in wellies with dog in tow for a bucket of chips and mayo, the menu also provides the opportunity to eat the best kind of good British cooking – which is smart as any you’d find in a more chi chi gastropub.
Specials such as fillet of black bream with smoked haddock, parsley and leek showcase a beautifully seasoned and cooked piece of fish – and in portions that blokes won’t moan about. The house favourite though is sticky beef with braised red cabbage, which is so beloved that it even has its own special Sticky Beef Night where homage is paid to this slow cooked featherblade cut. Dean says, ‘The beef takes about 20 hours from start to finish, once you count the time it takes to make the stock.’ This stock forms the basis of a sauce which is finished with a little redcurrant jelly and red wine to create a rich, umami sea in which the beef sits – soft enough to eat with a spoon. Dean brought this dish with him from his previous head chef post at Avenue in Mayfair where it was a favourite, and he says he now can’t take it off the menu at The Bath Arms either.
It’s been ten years since he returned home to the area after working at places like Avenue and Langan’s, so he’s celebrating with a refurb of the bar and the restaurant areas this year, but don’t expect it to get too swanky – it’s most definitely a pub after all. JR