Ian Waller and his wife enjoys a wonderful meal out at a hidden gem of Bath cuisine
Yes, we were excited – this was our first meal out together for ages and we really wanted it to be a success. We’d heard great things about Bandook in Milsom Place so with the babysitter booked, we couldn’t wait to make the most of our table for two.
Bandook describes its food as ‘Deliciously fresh and exciting food that fuses traditional Indian street food dishes with modern twists and original creations’. Managed by the same team as the extremely popular The Mint Room in Bath, as well as another Bandook in Bristol, we were confident that the quality of the food would be good, but we were also hoping for something a little more exciting that the usual Indian restaurant style and setting.
Right from the start, things were looking really good. You can find Bandook in the stylish and thoroughly European-style setting of Milson Place at the top of Bath, which combines a funky setting for shops and restaurants across a number of floors and courtyards. The greeting at Bandook was warm, with general manager Mohan offering us a choice of indoors or outdoors tables.
All of the early impressions were so promising, from the modern, bistro style setting and decor, to the spacious layout and enticing menu full of alluring and fascinating feasts. Mohan suggested that we go for a starter each, along with two small plates and two mains, and then see how we go – so far more like a tapas bar than more familiar Indian restaurants.
Following Mohan’s recommendation, we started with Bengal Jhalmuri – puffed rice shallows, raw mango, coriander chutney and fresh pomegranate (£4.50) and Pani Puri – puffed semolina shells and chickpeas, served with jal jeera water (£4.50). Wow, what an amazing start! The freshness and flavours were fantastic – crunchy, fresh and tangy and just a perfect way to set up the meal. To be honest, if we’d have carried on with several more orders of these dishes alone, we’d have gone home happy!
The starters were swiftly followed a selection including Taco Dosa – traditional South-Indian pancakes – served with Chettinad pulled duck (£12.50), Kerala Moilee – a gently spiced Keralan favourite with aubergine in coconut milk sauce (£11), crispy chilli squid (£7.50), Bombay Prawns marinated in caraway, peanuts, sesame and tomato salsa (£8.50) and pilau rice (£3).
I mean, seriously, this was just amazing – without a doubt the best Indian food we have tasted and possibly the best meal out we’ve ever enjoyed in Bath! Throughout the flavours are exciting and enticing, from the spicey tang of squid, to the gentle creamy sauce with the moilee, which acted as an ideal complement to freshness and spice of the prawns, in turn benefitting from the crunchy texture of the peanuts.
And then there’s the duck – again, great flavours which were brought alive by the tomato chutney, all tasting of quality ingredients perfectly prepared and served in an attractive manner.
Throughout, the service was excellent – attentive and knowledgeable waiters always at hand, happy to discuss the dishes and offer suggestions for the next choice.
This was a meal out a long time in the waiting and we couldn’t have been happier in the outcome. Bandook is a star of Bath dining and a great place to take the chance to meet up with friends or treat yourself to a special meal out for two.