The Olive Tree at the Queensberry Hotel
“Classic Bath elegance and sophisticated modern cuisine” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's view
Built for the 8th Marquess of Queensbury in 1771, this truly magnificent and uniquely stylish Georgian townhouse is everything you could ask for in a boutique hotel. Bedrooms are boldly and individually decorated and it’s clear that owners Laurence and Helen Beere are driven by a passion for hospitality and a keen eye for interior aesthetics, while chef Chris Cleghorn’s cooking is sharply contemporary. The Olive Tree restaurant is down in the basement and revels in a sophisticated, minimalist look, with fresh flowers, unclothed tables and understated appointments. Two tasting menus are offered, of six or nine courses, or you can choose à la carte from these, a thoughtful and flexible approach that allows even those with a less robust appetite to experience his delightfully conceived and constructed dishes. (Vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free menus in the same format are also available.) Cleghorn has worked with plenty of top-flight chefs and his spot-on technical skill and creative abilities are amply demonstrated throughout. A winter meal might begin with raw Orkney scallops with horseradish mayonnaise, pink grapefruit and a good hit of aniseed from dill oil, the whole dish a perfect combination of clean, individual flavours. Salted lemon gel proves a successful counterbalance of acidity and saltiness to soft and creamy veal sweetbreads; nasturtiums bringing a good peppery kick. The main course might bring poached Cornish turbot with Roscoff onion, Exmoor caviar and a spicy citrus zing from yuzu kosho, while pink and tender Woolley Park Farm duck breast gets a kick from a punchy kumquat gel, with more big flavours from the accompanying duck bolognaise. End on a high note with a beautifully indulgent warm Tulakalum chocolate mousse with crisp chocolate ‘brittle’ and refreshing yogurt sorbet. The wine list offers an eclectic international selection that bears the owners’ hands-on stamp.
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 55
- Private dining available
- Steps for wheelchair: 5
- Assist dogs welcome
- Closed: false
- Wines under £30: 5
- Wines over £30: 126
- Wines by the glass: 31
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the area
About the area
Somerset means ‘summer pastures’ – appropriate given that so much of this county remains rural and unspoiled. Ever popular areas to visit are the limestone and red sandstone Mendip Hills rising to over 1,000 feet, and by complete contrast, to the south and southwest, the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels. Descend to the Somerset Levels, an evocative lowland landscape that was the setting for the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. In the depths of winter this is a desolate place and famously prone to extensive flooding. There is also a palpable sense of the distant past among these fields and scattered communities. It is claimed that Alfred the Great retreated here after his defeat by the Danes.
Away from the flat country are the Quantocks, once the haunt of poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The Quantocks are noted for their gentle slopes, heather-covered moorland expanses and red deer. From the summit, the Bristol Channel is visible where it meets the Severn Estuary. So much of this hilly landscape has a timeless quality about it and large areas have hardly changed since Coleridge and Wordsworth’s day.
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