I have been to the Roth Bar & Grill
in Bruton countless times now and I still haven’t managed to post a review. The bottom line is, whenever I get to this most uncountrified hangout, I start having such a great time that I can’t be bothered to think about what I’m drinking or eating, other than that it’s always pretty good.
Last Friday we arrived at the bar, where two DJs were already blasting out an infectious mix of Soul and R&B, ordered a couple of cocktails (something with blueberries is all I can say) and instantly rewrote our plan for the evening (ie quick drink, something to eat, home by 9.30).
This is what happens at the Roth Bar. You arrive intending one sort of night and end up having another. Suffice to say that by 7.30 everyone else’s parties were well under way by the looks of things. Crowds of friends hoovering cocktails and cackling with laughter, pitchers of rosé being hustled through to the restaurant and not a spare seat in the house.
It took a while for our table to become free which didn’t matter in the least because there’s the bar with every conurbation of drink under the sun, properly loud music (a rarity in these parts) and good people watching. Don’t come for a quiet, romantic night, bring the party spirit – later you’ll be dancing.
We both ordered the grilled chicken with aioli and skinny fries and although this took an age to arrive, it was perfect when it did, the chicken succulent on the inside, crispy on the outside and chips that give the impression of being vaguely wholesome. I'm going to stick my neck out and say it's pretty much always worth having the chicken no matter what's on the menu, it is the signature dish.
On various visits I’ve tried the whitebait – sensational – various salads, featuring roasted roots and leaves from Charles Dowding, some kind of fish which I now can't remember and slow roast pork with apple sauce. My kids always have the burger which comes, as they must, in a brioche bun and being absolute conoisseurs of this food form, they still say this is the best place to get it.
I’ve had Bloody Mary’s that contend for best ever, coffee that knocks the spots off anywhere else in the hood.
During dinner (think serious volume) we had the treat of seeing tray after tray of martinis and cosmopolitans being delivered to a large table of serious partiers - I always get a kick out of seeing other people larging it, particularly when I'm not indulging myself.
The food is simple and effective, the drinks are strong and delicious, the art on the walls is strident and attention grabbing but not in a way that means you’ll need to sit there philosophising about it. No, this place is all about good times.
We’re lucky to have it, basically.