Something a little different on Friday with a trip out to Wells in Somerset for a birthday meal. This was a hastily rearranged treat after the otherwise perfect Lettonie in Bath turned out to have closed down several years ago! So much for the Internet.
The second choice venue, The Old Spot, proved to be ideal: top quality seasonal ingredients prepared under the careful eye of Ian Bates, a former colleague of Simon Hopkinson, whose Roast Chicken and Other Stories is rightly fêted as a king amongst cookbooks. I'm looking forward to receiving Second Helpings in my Christmas stocking, mum!
The restaurant is informal, neat and tidy, the staff (there seemed a lot for a small place) friendly and efficient, and the food top-drawer. Highlights were a fantastic game terrine, a silky squid and chorizo combo to start and a leg of rabbit and lentils that hit all the right notes. Vegetarian options were limited to one per course but were none the worse for that (apparently). Prices are probably higher than most for Wells but at £25 for three courses will hold few scares for those dropping in from London. The wine list is short, interesting, helpfully annotated and also well priced.
It's a great spot, The Old Spot. Like Jay Rayner in the Observer, who made the trip in the summer, I'm not sure it's worth the journey from London, but if you're in the area - even vaguely - it's definitely worth a diversion. I, for one, will be back: apart from anything else it would be great to have a look round Wells in the daytime.
The Old Spot, 12 Sadler Street, Wells, Somerset. 01749 689 099