We tried a top vegan restaurant in Bath but were disappointed

Veganism is a buzz word at the moment, some people are giving up meat altogether for January and the supermarkets are really pushing their plant-based food on TV adverts.

Restaurants in Somerset have really improved their vegan options on menus, it has become really popular.

So we thought it would be a good idea to try a restaurant in Bath famous for its vegetarian and vegan food.

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Oak restaurant in the little cobbled streets behind the Abbey in North Parade Passage is where the famous Demuths vegetarian restaurant used to be, more recently it was called Acorn and it is still owned by well known chef Richard Buckley, although he no longer runs the restaurant .

I have eaten in both Demuths and Acorn and really loved it, Demuths was a real institution at one time.

Oak is in the same premises, they have not made that many changes, it is still cozy cafe style, no fancy decor but friendly and ambient.

Very cozy in fact, tiny for these Covid times, there is no choice but to sit very close to the neighboring tables.

We went on a Thursday lunchtime and I have to say we were a little disappointed with the service.

I know times are challenging for independent businesses and there is a staffing crisis due to Covid, but this restaurant is rated among the best vegan restaurants and we expected better service.

And it is not cheap, but we know the food is specially prepared and is of a very high standard usually.

We were left waiting a good 15 minutes before anyone came to even offer us a drink of water.

We asked the waiting staff if there was a staff shortage due to Covid but she said no it was just everyone came in at the same time.

This in a tiny restaurant we thought should not happen.

The menu at Oak is a list of small plates, the waiter advised us to have two to three per person.

This turned out to be too much, as the portions are quite large.

We chose some chickpea chips with paprika mayonnaise which were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside which is how they should be.

This was a good appetiser and the rest of the plates arrived fast and furious.

Soup of the day was carrot and coriander, it tasted delicious, thick and creamy although was a little cold.

The calabrese broccoli with salsa verde, dakka and smoked almond emulsion was spicy and tasty, the broccoli was cooked superbly, a little bit crunchy but not too raw.

It is a nice dish to share, as it is too large for one person and was a very well balanced dish on this vegan menu.

We felt the salt baked celeriac risotto with hazlenut butter and chevril was a little stodgy, the sauce seemed too thick and the dish was very heavy.

There are also some delicious natural and local wines on the menu, quite unique.

The small plates were priced between £ 7.45 and £ 10.50 so not cheap, but beautifully prepared and cooked in some cases, it is bespoke vegan food with original, well balanced dishes.

Vegan or plant based chefs have to be really creative, they have to work the vegetables so much and so beautifully and we felt some of the dishes worked but some did not.

We got the sense the restaurant was overworked on the day we arrived, the tiny space was full and all the orders came in at the same time, even though we had booked in advance.

There was a sense of quiet chaos as the staff were clearly overwhelmed, only two serving staff.

Oak receives five star reviews on Tripadvisor but we felt we may have visited on an off day, which can happen.

We will have to return to give this independent business another chance as it has a really good reputation.

We were not offered any desserts, and we had three glasses of Sicilian Nero d’Avola 2020 at £ 8.60 a glass.

Our bill was £ 92.64 for two which we thought was a bit steep but we did order too many dishes.

As I say I think we may have visited at a time when the restaurant was somewhat overwhelmed and busy for a weekday lunchtime.

We will definitely return as we know this restaurant gets great reviews and we at Somerset Live are very keen to help and support our independents.

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