Last Saturday, Jon and I were in Bath for an afternoon of R&R at the Thermae Spa, and to fortify ourselves for the tough task of undergoing spa treatments and lounging in the steam room and pools, we needed lunch.
Despite its mention in the 2009 Michelin Guide, The Marlborough Tavern didn’t make a good first impression. Like most buildings in Bath, the Tavern’s stone exterior looked stark and forbidding in the cold, winter gray. But once we were inside, servers were welcoming, and the fireplace warming.
The menu choices were limited (i.e., a burger, a terrine, specials of the day and lots of sandwiches). But everything we tried showed a lot of care and attention to detail. And I much prefer a place that does a few things well, rather than a lot of things poorly.
My soup-of-the-day was a potato-leek with a suspiciously-dark-brown color. I’m guessing they caramelized the leeks to get it that brown, but however it was made, the soup was rich and creamy. Homemade garlic croutons and lots of minced chives were attractive and tasty finishing touches.
Jon’s veal stew was hot, fork-tender, but I thought my chorizo-and-pepper sandwich was the high point of our lunch.
I’d expected a Brindisa-style grilled whole sausage slapped onto a roll, but despite the pedestrian appearance of the Marlborough’s version, the sandwich was delish. The bun was toasted; the chorizo was grilled and thinly sliced in neat-to-eat layers. The baby/microsprouts salad on the side added color, crunch and lightness.
Most mains on the menu were £8-10, and I loved the pot of fragrant English Breakfast for £1.50. Our tab for two mains, a starter and drinks totaled £30 after service.
And then the rest of our day at the Thermae Spa was exactly what we needed. It’s been almost a year and a half since our first trip to the Thermae Spa, and I was glad to see things were still as clean and luxurious as I remembered, especially when you consider the high volume of visitors the Spa receives. I love the Thermae’s spaciousness and the fact that all the water is thermal (it eases my liberal-environmental guilt).
If it weren’t a two-hour train ride to Bath, I’d be down there more often. Especially during these cold, gloomy months.