Last night, Ian and I had a mid-week night out…reckless I know! I had been really looking forward to this because we were going for dinner and then to see my favourite ever musical, Blood Brothers, at the Bath Theatre Royal.
I first saw this show in London about 4 years ago when I had a weekend away with my Mum for her birthday and I remember loving the music and the storyline, and keeping my eye out for it playing at a local theatre ever since.
Set in Liverpool, a city close to my heart, the cultural references to the places, shops and people are great and they have managed to capture that elusive northern humour perfectly. Although, I have to say that Marti Pellow’s scouse accent was questionable!
Due to a particularly attentive waitress continuously topping up my glass of wine during dinner, I was a bit tipsy when we arrived at the theatre (so cultured, ha!) which may explain why I had a good cry during the performance!
This show is on until Saturday February 2nd in Bath. I know tickets sold fast, but if you see this musical is showing at a theatre near you then I cannot recommend it enough!
Anyway, onto the food…
We ate at an old favourite of mine in Bath, the French bistro Raphael Restaurant. I have eaten here a few times in the past and have always enjoyed the ambience and food, and last night was no exception.
Being a stone’s throw from the theatre, they do a roaring trade in their 2-course pre-theatre dinner, priced at £14.95.
With 4 choices for both the starter and main course, there is a good selection of meat, fish and vegetarian options. I have to say that the menu is very classic, which is absolutely fine when they do it so well, but there were no real stand-out options for me so I just ordered what I knew I would like and played it safe with a savoury tart then chicken.
I just reread that and I think I sound completely pedantic and fussy but I do like trying new flavour combinations which this menu didn’t offer.
For my starter, I had a Leek, Pea and Ham Tart with a well-dressed mixed leaf salad and a delicious celeriac remoulade, which was like a lovely, refined coleslaw to accompany the warm tart.
Ian had warm salad of smoked mackerel on a bed of potato and dill salad with a herby oil drizzled all over. The flavours in this were well balanced with the creamy potato salad and salty smoked fish working really well. (Sorry about the poor quality photo!)
For our main courses, I had a pan-roasted thyme and garlic chicken breast which was served on a bed of green beans, savoy cabbage and bacon and a delicious creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce. All elements of the dish were perfectly cooked and seasoned and the sauce brought it all together nicely.
Ian had a proper winter-warmer of Madeira and porcini mushrooms with braised beef and shallots, served with parsley mash and a lovely orange-scented sauce. I have had beef and orange together in Asian dishes but I wasn’t sure how well this citrus fruit would go in a rich, French-style stew. It turns out, very well! The orange running through the sauce lifted the whole dish and is something I would think about trying out in my own cooking next time I make a beef stew.
Overall, we enjoyed two lovely clean, fresh courses which were full of flavour and well-balanced. The portion sizes were perfect for me too as it meant I had just enough room for an ice-cream during the interval!