We're loving the Roth… and we don’t mean the lead singer of Van Halen! :) We mean the Roth Bar & Grill in Bruton. You can find it in the redesigned, beautifully renovated cowshed of Durslade Farm, in the landscaped grounds of art gallery Hauser & Wirth (a must on the list if you're visiting our beautiful county).
Roth Bar & Grill is definitely Somerset cool and as it’s part of the arts centre, you’d expect contemporary art to be mixed with eating and drinking… and you’d be right. The restaurant itself is full of eclectic treasures - artworks from Hauser & Wirth featured artists, some characters hiding on the shelves (we'll leave you to discover those for yourself) and a fab collection of funky mirrors.
These sculptures greeted us when we arrived and we're all for that!
The bar is the place you’re naturally drawn to first... well we were, so maybe that says a lot about us! :) It’s relaxed, friendly, vibrant and open throughout the day (Tuesday to Sunday) so you can grab coffee through to seasonal cocktails - yum!
The bar menu showcases local craft producers and distilleries, but if you’re doing ‘Dry January’ and want a healthy juice or cordial, there’s plenty of those on offer too, made with ingredients from the kitchen garden.
The bar itself was designed by Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth (hence the name, obviously :)). It’s a tribute to Björn’s late father, so you’ll see lots of scavenged materials used in its’ creation as they were at the heart of Dieter Roth’s work.
On Fridays, it comes alive with guest DJ’s, musicians and special events (check out more details here) but for us on a Tuesday lunchtime, we bagged a stool, a hot mulled cider and had a first look at the menu and a nosey at the hustle and bustle of the open kitchen.
I don’t eat meat and as meat features fairly heavily (well, it is a grill after all) you might think it wouldn't be the first restaurant we’d think of for a bite to eat. There’s some ace stuff for veggies though, as well as for us pesky Pescatarians, so I was happy (nothing to do with the prosecco in my hand... honest! :)
Anyway, all produce is sourced locally, with a focus on using ethical British produce. The restaurant features in the Michelen Guide 2017, the Waitrose Good Food Guide and for us, it felt like an effortlessly cool and relaxed place to while away a few hours over some “honest, simple and seasonal food" - that’s how they describe their own food and that description’s spot on!
We started with some gorgeous, simple, flavoursome crispy squid and the brown shrimps, fennel, dill and capers. We both wiped our plates clean, so that pretty much tells it's own story!
Continuing his quest for the best local burger, Graeme tried the 'RGB' (Roth Grill Burger) with pickles, onions, home cured bacon, Godminster smoked cheddar (one of our favourite local cheeses) and chips. He was pretty quiet during the eating, which is definitely the sign of a great one!
I had some beautifully fresh Red mullet, watercress, baby gem radish and green sauce. Again, absolutely nothing was left on our plates and we really enjoyed the simplicity of the food and savoured every little bit of flavour!
Of course there was room for pud - the awesome, wintery comfort food that is apple and pear crumble with pouring cream - YEAH BABY! Best crumble combination ever! And, even though we were a bit stuffed, we had to try the chocolate salami with our coffee... purely for research purposes obviously!
So, all in all, the Roth Bar and Grill serves a couple of purposes brilliantly. It’s a great place to rest your weary legs if you’ve spent time checking out the art exhibitions, the beautiful landscaped grounds, or if you’ve been browsing in the shop there (and to be honest, I could probably buy up that whole shop if my bank balance would let me). It’s also a destination in it’s own right if you’re looking for a relaxed place to eat, drink and chat in the heart of the Somerest countryside, yet just a stone’s throw away from Bruton. It does get busy of course, so probably best to book if you want a spot in the lovely restaurant.
Our review in 3 words - Effortlessly cool eats!
P.S. There’s also a lovely outdoor terrace so if you visit in the Summer, make the most of that! :)
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a place to stay, the six-bedroomed Durslade farmhouse is just across across the courtyard from the Roth Bar & Grill and is available to rent for mid-week, weekend and longer stays. Hoping to blog about that in more detail soon, ‘cos it’s a little bit special!