35 Marlborough Buildings, BATH, BA1 2LY
Just round the corner from the famous Royal Crescent, this 18th-century pub once refreshed foot-weary sedan-chair carriers. Today's clientele is more likely to need a break from the rigours of traipsing around Bath's shops, for which the Marlborough is handily placed. The interior is contemporary yet retro, with an abundance of mismatched chairs, sturdy solid wood tables and scrubbed floorboards. At the rear is a walled and trellised courtyard terrace, a secluded little spot that's ideal for whiling away a warm summer's evening. Butcombe and Box Steam Brewery's Piston Broke are the prime ales dispensed in the spotless bar, with Orchard Pig cider also very popular; the wine selection comprising 26 sold by the glass offers something for everyone. The lunch menu pleases too by not straying far from popular and traditional pub classics, such as beer battered haddock with triple-cooked chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. Other light bites range from sandwiches served with fries and salad; a 6oz Ruby Red beef burger with fries, relish and coleslaw, to roasted tomatoes and rosemary soup with basil and crème fraîche. A typical three-course dinner may start with salt and pepper squid, garlic aïoli and dressed leaves; or pork rillette, apricot chutney, salad and ginger brioche. Next may come pan-fried stone bass, smoked haddock chowder, sautéed courgettes, samphire and crispy Parma ham; or duo of pork, crispy black pudding stuffing, broccoli purée, green beans, wholegrain mustard mash and red wine jus. Finish with lemon posset, almond crumble, candied orange and shortbread The must-book Sunday lunches might include roasted Berkshire Boar belly of pork with crackling, apple sauce and all the trimmings.