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It’s only a mile from the city centre, but Michelin-starred Bath Priory is the epitome of cosseting country-house comfort – all velvet lawns, well-stuffed sofas and gilt-framed portraits. Executive chef Sam Moody is reckoned to be “every bit as talented as his mentor Michael Caines”, and he delivers the goods in creative, confident style. Sourcing and timing are admirable – witness starters of confit Cornish cod with cauliflower and hazelnut couscous or boudin of local quail with pickled mushrooms and truffled haricot beans. Multi-part ‘plates’ of meat and game feature among the main courses (think Madgett’s Farm duck with rhubarb or Wiltshire lamb with heritage carrots, pearl barley and lamb jus), while desserts such as pistachio and olive cake with blueberries and white chocolate crémeux are also beautifully balanced. Service is suitably “smart”, and the brilliantly researched wine list deserves lengthy scrutiny.
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