Talented young chef Henry Scott, who until recently worked as a sous chef at Allium Restaurant at The Abbey Hotel in Bath has had something of busy summer since taking over the well-established French restaurant Casanis on the owners retiring; rebranding it Henry’s while being careful to keep the informal bistro interior simple yet elegant. A lick of paint and a declutter as opposed to a complete overhaul has nonetheless worked wonders, and is a wise attempt to keep the former proprietors’ regulars on side during this transitional phase. You may even recognise some of the front of house team from ‘the old days’, adding to the sense of familiarity and warmth. While Bath locals like to support their independent restaurants, they aren’t too keen on change, yet Warminster-bred Henry is more a breath of fresh air than a headstrong tornado.
Alongside a well chosen and fairly priced wine and craft beer selection, the four-course tasting experience is selected each day by the kitchen (£42), while the seasonal à la carte menu offers three choices per course – no less appetising for being limited, however the descriptions do not prepare you for the flavoursome meal you’ll be presented with. Henry’s is a severe case of under-promising and over-delivering, (no bad thing I think you’ll agree), for his small brigade are already turning out heart-warming dishes such as my starter of confit rabbit with tamarind puree, coriander and crispy chicken skins, to a main of unctuous fall-off-the-bone lamb shank accompanied by perfectly cooked lentils, smoked cabbage hash and a heady fresh mint sauce. What they don’t mention on the menu is the clever addition of preserved lemon gel dotted around the plate, adding an exotic dimension to what might otherwise have been a rather homely dish and illustrating the skills Henry has picked up whilst doing stints at renowned restaurants such as The Bath Priory, Claude Bosi’s two Michelin-star Mayfair flagship Hibiscus, and the three-Michelin star Flocons de Sel in France.