|Broad bean falafel with tahini miso dip|
One of my absolute favourite things about Bath is that it's so well-supplied with foodie experiences of all kinds - it seems there's nothing Bathonians like more than to eat & drink well. One of the trends which has really flourished in the city lately is the supper club, and I was intrigued to hear that Sol Kitchen are mixing this up a bit - their newly-established club serves a menu that is always vegetarian or vegan, and designed to nourish the body & make it feel good.
Sol Kitchen's current home is the Bear Pad Cafe up on Bear Flat, a cosy little space just big enough for two long white-clothed tables set with candles and fresh flowers in jam jars. Guests have the option of bringing their own wine, or pre-ordering from Wolf Wine - a little treasure trove of fabulous independent booze in Green Park Station - who provide vegetarian and vegan wines to complement the meal perfectly. Owner Sam chose a wonderful Spanish red for us, Gaznata Garnacha El Barraco, which was fruity, warming and a little spicy, and delightfully drinkable.
One of the nicest things about a supper club is that it feels more like a dinner party than a restaurant meal. Sky & Mirella, the ladies behind Sol Kitchen, welcomed everyone personally and came round to chat throughout the meal, as well as explaining at the beginning that tonight's meal would be geared towards boosting the immune system, with plenty of iron and vitamin B, as well as being vegan. I have to admit that while I love vegetarian food & frequently cook it myself, I'm always a little more wary of vegan cuisine, purely because it needs a bit more effort & creativity to be really good. In this case, however, I'm delighted to say my worries were unfounded. We started out with spiced roast chickpeas, served on crunchy celery with homemade houmous, which was full of spicy, fresh flavours, and followed that up with my favourite dish of the evening, broad bean falafel, with green salad and a miso and tahini dip. I've never had falafel made with broad beans before and I thought it was inspired - the dip was great too, full of really punchy savoury flavours. My dining companion actually ended up scraping out her dip pot with her finger to get every last bit, but I probably shouldn't tell you that, so I won’t.
|Roasted vegetables with cauliflower couscous|
Next up was something completely different - doogh, a savoury Persian yoghurt drink, made with mint and topped with cumin seeds, and I have to admit that while I loved the flavours I couldn't quite get used to the idea, although my dining companion loved it. Our fourth course was a mixture of Moroccan roasted vegetables, served with pistachios and cauliflower couscous, and harissa red pepper sauce on the side. I found this dish a little busy, with a lot of flavours going on, but I did particularly enjoy the cauliflower couscous.
Finally, for the dessert course, we were served a raw cacao brownie, thick with hazelnuts, and accompanied by plum sauce and coconut cream, which was extremely good - I'm not always a fan of chocolate and fruit but this combination was fabulous. We rounded off the meal with black tea and lemon - coffee I imagine being eschewed on health grounds - and both agreed that we felt much more full and satisfied than we might have expected from a vegan menu. All in all, I really enjoyed trying some dishes that were completely new to me, and it was a great way to shake up the usual meal out.
For more information on Sol Kitchen and future supper club dates (the club runs once a month on Saturdays, but not on a set date), follow Sky & Mirella on Twitter at @solkitchenbath or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Price per person is £30, and the wine we had retails for £10 a bottle - for more from Sam at Wolf Wine, visit wolfwine.co.uk or find him on Twitter at @wolfwines.