You might not have been aware of the previous incarnation of The Stable in Bath – it was tucked away in a tiny space on George St – but you’ll almost certainly have noticed it now, because they’ve taken over the old premises of Pizza Hut on Kingsmead Square, with a bright, airy restaurant that’s always packed to the rafters when you walk past. There’s something pretty darn ironic about the fact that they’ve replaced Pizza Hut, because they’re in the same game – but if Pizza Hut are playing in league two, The Stable are definitely in the premier league.
The space The Stable has taken over is almost unrecognizable – airy and spacious, with blond wood benches and lots of candles. The classic combo of exposed brickwork and exposed pipes is much in evidence, but it works, so no sneering. Long tables are shared between different parties, or you can grab a cosy corner if you want to be a little more intimate.
Once we’d placed our pizza order at the bar, cider supremo Jaz expertly matched each of us up with our perfect cider from their on-tap selection – turns out for me that’s Ashridge Devon Gold (sweet but not too sweet) and for my dining companion, Dorset Draught (medium dry, a bit stronger). Alternatively, if you’re not so sure about what you like, you can order a tasting board of five different ciders for £7.50 – a seriously good bargain, not to mention lots of fun.
Service was swift and cheerful, with our pizzas turning up about ten minutes after we’d sat down again. A chum had told me in no uncertain terms that I must try the garlic bread, which was fabulous, but I’m afraid my heart belongs to the Westcountry Porker pizza – a beautifully thin and crispy base, topped with Bath Pig chorizo and plenty of cheese, and finished off with rocket and Dijon dressing. My dining companion went for the day’s special – juicy chicken breast, wild garlic and field mushrooms, with tarragon aioli. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the flavours were huge – pizza, Jim, but not as we know it.
When it comes to dessert, once again, The Stable keeps it simple and sticks to a few good ideas. I couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie with clotted cream (a cliché, of course, but when it’s done well – as it is here – you can see why) and my dining companion went for one of The Stable’s funky dessert pizzas, topped with meringue, lemon curd and raspberry puree. I’ll admit, I was sceptical, but actually it worked really well – I’d definitely order it next time.To finish, I couldn’t resist The Stable’s selection of cider brandies – after another consultation with the bar staff (whose knowledge really is exceptional) I went for Somerset Shipwreck, from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company. Aged in weatherbeaten barrels recovered from a shipwreck, this incredible brandy tastes of honey, oak and salt, and just the aroma is enough to get you drunk. I’m already saving up for a bottle of my own…
The best pizza I’ve had in Bath for a long while, combined with great cider and a brilliant atmosphere – I think it’s probably safe to say that this was a good trade-off for Pizza Hut. We’ll definitely be going back.
Images Copyright Sal Godfrey / Sal’s Kitchen