The Hare and Hounds, Bath
Enjoy a winter warming meal followed by a hearty walk – or vice versa – at this spacious, child-friendly gastropub on the edge of Bath
To the north of the city, high up on Lansdown Hill. Surrounded by far-reaching countryside views across the Charlcombe Valley, it’s hard to believe the throbbing metropolis – well, the well-mannered streets of Bath – are just two minutes’ drive southwards.
Said to be one of the first pubs to be granted an ale licence back in the 17th century, the pub’s Victorian Gothic and more modern additions mean that it’s filled with light. It’s simply decorated with wooden church chairs, wooden pews, wooden floors and a few carefully chosen artworks.
The views through the pretty much floor-to-ceiling leadlight windows are spectacular.
Sit by the open fire or in the more modern conservatory. For warmer days or hardy souls, outside there’s a large terrace and extensive lawns with loads of benches and tables and a play area for kids.
SCOFF & QUAFF
With the weather turning colder, the Hare and Hounds’ seasonally changing menu is now full of winter warming comfort foods like homemade soup, Venison liver pate, braised ox cheek, beer battered haddock, burgers, steaks and a Thai green curry. The starter of soft baked butternut squash, with pickled, wild mushrooms, some crispy kale and a hazelnut and truffle vinaigrette was beautifully Autumnal.
More exotic was the warm octopus salad on crushed avocado, fennel, lime and coriander, with chicory leaves and dotted with smoked salted almonds, black garlic and chilli to give a bit of fire.
The chargrilled fillet of Loch Duart salmon’s skin was nicely crisp, and sat atop a flavoursome crushed dill and smoked salmon new potato fishcake (which elsewhere might have been offered as a meal in itself), and served with roasted beetroot, cavolo nero and a creamy lemon butter sauce.
The dilemma of choosing between the veggie wild mushroom risotto (king oyster, shitake and chestnut since you’re asking) and something meaty was solved with the roasted Castlemead chicken, which arrived topped with crisp and smokey lardons, shavings of Old Winchester cheese and a tangy hazelnut and sherry vinaigrette, perched on top of … the risotto. The chicken was super succulent, the risotto creamy, earthy and full-flavoured. Good call.
Desserts are moreish. Here’s the dark chocolate brownie, with raspberry compote (a bit more please), salted caramel ice cream and honeycomb – mind your teeth!
Crème brûlée with homemade crunchy biscotti, raspberry coulis and raspberries. If you’re not up to full-sized dessert (wimp), there are mini desserts too.
Booze: great selection of gin, cocktails, draft beers, ales and ciders.
Yep. High chairs (including one of those Baby Bjorn ones suitable for babes from 6 months), children’s menu (hummus, spag bol, sausages, burger), activity packs and that whopper of a garden with a play area to boot.
ABOUT & ABOUT
Walks a plenty all around starting from the pub. Download their route guides or grab one in the pub and you won’t get lost. In the spring and summer, a mooch around Beckford’s Tower & Museum, a 120-foot high neo-classical tower, once home to one of the greatest collections of books, furniture and art in Georgian England and a retreat for William Beckford (who also built Fonthill Abbey) or a day at the races at Bath Racecourse.
Good for: Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. A very, very lazy Sunday lunch (they serve it until 8pm) with choice of roasts and sharing plates if you can’t decide. Hearty walk followed by a hearty meal or vice versa within easy reach of Bath. Veggie, gluten-free, meat eaters. Christmas get togethers: check out their Christmas menus.
Not for: Anyone wanting to make a weekend of it – there are no rooms at the inn.
The damage: Starters £6–£7.50; mains £13 – £23; desserts: £3.50 – £9.
Open Mon to Fri 8am – 11pm; Sat 9am – 11pm; Sun 9am –10.30pm (Sun lunch 12pm – 8pm).
The Hare and Hounds, Lansdown Road, Bath BA1 5TJ. Tel 01225 482682. hareandhounds.com