Montagu’s Mews


The five-star Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, arguably the finest city hotel in the South West of England, and located across two historic Georgian townhouses situated in the centre of the landmark crescent, has undergone an extensive redesign including public rooms, suites and the launch of a new restaurant, Montagu’s Mews. Having married at the hotel almost a decade ago, I was both eager and nervous to see the changes, yet the moment you step into the lobby, with its tiled floor and hand-painted wallpaper of a tranquil forest scene, there is a sense of excitement that leads you through to the hotel’s magical and hedgehog-inhabited secret garden.

Epicureans with a love of atmospheric fine dining would struggle to find a more enchanting setting; indeed there is a sense of anticipation in the fact that Montagu’s Mews restaurant is reached via a pathway through said garden, lending the experience an Alice in Wonderland feeling as you prepare to tumble down a culinary rabbit hole. If you think you spy the White Rabbit, it’ll most likely be one of the guests heading to the spa in their fluffy white robe and slippers.

The restaurant is named in honour of the first resident of No.16 Royal Crescent, writer and early feminist Elizabeth Montagu, who co-founded the intellectual Blue Stocking Society in the early 1750s. Shelley Reiner, Director of London-based interior design company has created a romantic and inviting three-part restaurant space, including a slick cocktail bar and tiled, potted palm adorned Garden Room (dog friendly) looking out over the manicured lawns and voluptuous borders, along with a peachy and amber toned dining room featuring an impressive wine display, table lamps, banquette seating and perfectly plumped cushions.

Transitioning effortlessly from a light-filled brasserie serving lunch and afternoon tea to an intimate environment come the evening with low lighting and well-judged background music, gone are the formal linens in favour of a cosmopolitan and glamorous setting which welcomes hotel guests and locals alike, while the new Montagu’s Mews heated dining terrace is Bath’s best kept secret during the warmer months when the hotel’s garden is at its elysian best and champagne corks pop as frequently as air balloons take off from neighbouring Royal Victoria Park.

Head Chef Martin Blake has been at the helm since 2021, prior to the refurbishment, and finally has the platform he deserves to showcase his 3AA rosette-awarded talents, creating a please-all, yet technically brilliant new tasting and à la carte menu of modern classics that is special but never pretentious. The fact that you can order a rib-eye steak and chips speaks for itself. My alcohol and gluten-free dietary requirements were meanwhile accommodated without any fuss, with the kitchen going so far as to produce delicious wheat-free versions of their fabulous treacle bread and canapés to ensure those with allergies and intolerances don’t miss out, and I particularly appreciated the care which the maitre’d took to inform me of all the dishes on the menu that could be adapted.

A starter of Waldorf Salad (cue the Fawlty Towers jokes) with chicory marmalade, confit grape, poached pear and candied walnut, proved a clever and utterly delicious reimagining of the legendary dish, while my lamb main course, inspired by the good old Shepherd’s Pie, featured perfectly pink Whaddon Grove Farm lamb cutlets with salt-baked beetroot, black garlic and a seductive lamb jus. To conclude, a masterfully tempered Valrhona chocolate dessert with decadent ganache layers and cocoa nibs, topped with silky ice cream, proved a sensational finale to what had been a flawless meal, the dishes on the à la carte and tasting menus going hand in hand with the sophisticated yet relaxed restaurant design, with beautifully presented dishes celebrating locally-sourced produce.

Hotel guests would be positively mad to order room service when they can dine in such a delightful setting, but regardless of whether or not you’re lucky enough to be staying at the Royal Crescent Hotel, Montagu’s Mews is not the kind of restaurant you need an excuse like a big birthday or anniversary to visit, it’s one that offers something for every mood and appetite from an expertly mixed cocktail and light bites, to an excellent value set lunch and elegant afternoon tea worthy of Ms Montagu and her cohorts. I recommend you clear the rest of the day’s agenda, however, as time goes at its own Lewis-Carrollean-pace here and you will assuredly wish to linger over this seriously classy dining experience.

Montagu’s Mews at The Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LS. Open for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner 7 days a week. For more information and reservations please see the website.