Demuths has been established in Bath for over 20 years. Owned and run by Rachel Demuth, who has also published a number of vegetarian cookery books, it aims to be the premier vegetarian restaurant in the South West. I have not tried any other exclusively veggie restaurants in the region, but Bath itself is very vegetarian friendly with most places having a number of original and interesting vegetarian options. When we found the restaurant we had hoped to get booked in for the Saturday evening but as it is only a small place that was not possible unless we wanted to eat at 9.30pm. We did manage to book for 7.30pm on the Sunday evening however.
When we arrived on the Sunday, we were warned that they had a problem with their lights in the back part of the restaurant, so we had a choice to sit in the front with lights or sit in the back with lots of candle lamps and tea lights. We thought that would be quite atmospheric so decided to sit up the back in a corner. The restaurant is small - like a house - with two rooms seating 8-10 people per room plus a little alcove which had three people seated on the night we were there (I couldn't see if you could seat anyone else there). Stairs in the back room led down to the kitchens and the lavatories (the latter were cold, cramped but clean). The stairs certainly kept the two waitresses fit as they nipped up and down the stairs.
In spite of the electrical hitch we could still read our menus as the clocks had changed, and were impressed with the options. There were about six options per course, all were seasonal and vegetarian and were clearly marked what was suitable for vegans, nut allergy sufferers and gluten intolerant diners. The menu had a selection of Appetisers and other extras, such as side dishes (it is suggested you may want to have them with your drinks) but we went straight into the 'proper' starters.
My partner ordered the beetroot carpaccio (£6.95) which was very thin beetroot slices in an orange dressing with horseradish cream in between. It was served with a baby red chard, dill and walnut salad. He absolutely loved it, even though he isn't a big beetroot fan. I had a taste and thought it very good also - the sweetness of the orange helped the beetroot and worked surprisingly well with the tang of the horseradish. The salad was a pleasant accompaniment adding to the variety of textures. I chose the Devon blue cheese and chive tart (£6.75), it was a small slice of tart served with a fig chutney and watercress salad. Like all blue cheeses it was quite rich, and pleasantly creamy. The fig chutney worked really well in neutralising the tart so that the blue cheese didn't overpower and the watercress salad gave the dish some crunch. Overall we were thrilled with the starters.
For my main I chose mushroom rotolo (£14.25) mainly because I had no idea what one was and wanted to try it. Basically it was mushrooms wrapped in thin potato slices served on a bed of haricot beans with wilted spinach and parsnip crisps. This was accompanied with a parsnip purée and a mushroom red wine jus. I have to say I was a bit disappointed, there wasn't a great deal of flavour in the dish. The purée gave a little 'oomph' to the dish but the red wine jus was unidentifiable if I hadn't known what it was. The parsnip crisps were nice and everything was cooked well, but it just lacked a little something to make it an exciting dish as opposed to just a plate of well cooked (and beautifully presented) food. My other half went for the tamarind potato and aubergine curry (£13.75) and it was absolutely fantastic. The aubergine slices had been stuffed with tamarind infused potato and walnuts to give it an interesting texture and crunch. This was served with a mint yoghurt, cherry tomato relish, coriander pesto, herb rice and tamarind chutney. I so wished I'd ordered this, I did have a taste and you could pick out the coriander in the pesto and the curry had a pleasant kick to it, so I imagine the yoghurt and relish were very welcome if this got to much.
We decided not to have a dessert as we were fairly full. On the main menu there are 'wines of the month' and they also have a separate wines and drinks menu featuring a range of organic wines (starting at £14.95 per bottle). Initially I had a natural organic cola (£1.95) which was really nice and then some organic vodka (£5.25) to go in it. They also offered a range of organic beers and ciders as well as soft drinks and juices.
The service was good, the two waitresses were quite busy at certain times, but we didn't wait too long between courses - I guess we were there just over an hour and a half. In total our bill came to just over £50, so it is not a cheap, everyday restaurant. I was only visited as we were staying in the area, and despite my disappointment with my main course, I would come back here again if I visited the area. They do have offers advertised such as an early bird menu on Sunday - Thursday which could be worth checking out if you are around at this time. The menu changes monthly to keep up with seasonal availability, however the April 2010 menu was not very different from the March one, when we visited.
As a Vegetarian I have got used to there very often only being one or two options on the menu in many restaurants, but this doesn't mean I like it! I grit my teeth at yet another lasagne or unimaginative cauliflower cheese. How lovely it is to go to a dedicated Vegetarian Restaurant, where there is loads of choice and I can be comfortable that I can eat anything at all from the menu.
Since Demuths opened in the late 1980s it has become Bath's most famous and popular Vegetarian Restaurant, nestled in the centre of this most quaint and touristy of cities, within a stones throw of the Baths and the Abbey. It is a small, higgledly piggledy building, and booking is advisable. The decor is colourful and funky. The staff are relaxed - this is no fast food restaurant, but I would say that they could be a tiny bit more efficient.
So what about the food? I would rate the several meals I have had at Demuths as being amongst the best I have eaten. Demuths say that they draw inspiration from around the world, and concentrate on seasonal locally produced vegetables, cheeses and so on. This is very evident in their menu.
Demuths run very popular cooking courses (or at least they used to, I have not checked recently). Although I have never attended one of these I do own a recipe book written by Rachel Demuth, which is full of mouth watering dishes and sumptuous photographs.
Vegetarians will love this restaurant, and their meat eating friends will be pleasantly surprised.
Looking forward to a vegeterian experience? My husband and I were ... The young and unexperienced staff were very jolly, we were cosily tacked in the basement near the toilet, from where we could see the chef going outside to pick up freshly canned ingredients. Our food came very quickly. If you like your food overcooked, overseasoned, and overpriced, eaten in a crammed environment, this restaurant is for you. Seriously, this is one to avoid, unless you really don't mind what you eat as long as it is vegetarian.
You don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy a delicious meal at Demuths veggie restaurant on North Parade in the heart of Bath. I dined there with my husband last week whilst staying one night in this wonderful city. All the food is organic right down to the coffee and sugar.
Starters to tempt the tastebuds included delicious homemade soups such as spicy peanut, mushroom and parsnip or broccoli, pea and fresh mint. My husband chose "sushi nori rolls" which consisted of yellow split peas, fresh herb and chilli falafels with a mango, spring onion and cucumber salad. I had an excellent pate of red onions, olives, peppers and garlic.
For our main courses my husband had a Thai Green Curry served with Thai scented rice while I salivated over "Masala Dosa", a South Indian pancake filled with spicy potato curry, served with spinach and tomato bhaji and a peach and mango chutney.....excellent.
We were both too full for puddings but for those who weren't there was pistachio meringue, thai sticky pudding and apple and pear crumble to name but a few.
There was an excellent choice of wines, all of which were organic. Prices ranged from £9.00 to £16.00 per bottle.
Average prices for starters were around £4.50 and £9.00 for main courses, puddings were around the £4.00 mark.
The restaurant is very popular and booking is advisable, we ate there during the fuel crisis and the place was full.
After a meal such as this, you can't help but think that you have eaten healthily and for those veggie sceptics who think that all vegetarian food is "rabbit food", I challenge you to sample some of Demuth delights.