In the ancient British settlement of Bruton, and situated in the old cowshed at Durslade Farm, is The Roth Bar & Grill.
I had the pleasure of ending Cocktail Week with Mariusz who took me on a step-by-step cocktail making journey with a twist on the traditional as, having met him, only Mariusz can do!
From carefully crushed frozen raspberries, to perfectly peeled and shaped lemon rind, there is an art to cocktail creation. This artistic flair can only be matched and elaborated upon when you have all the tools neatly at your disposal; every part of the cocktail bar was organised – from vast quantities of crushed ice, to bar spoons and strainers, to measures and shakers. Like every artist and creative might tell you, when you have all you need to hand, the imagination flows; and in this case it was into a double-shot measure from a great height!
At the Roth Bar & Grill’s centre is its bar; created by long-term friends of the gallery, Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth. The specially commissioned bar is a tribute to Björn’s late father and is comprised of scavenged materials. The bar is open and welcoming with an unusual edge that keeps you intrigued – it’s cosy and informal, but with a sense of being somewhere very unique and eccentric.
All the drinks served at the Roth Bar & Grill focus on local craft producers and distilleries and they make homemade cordials using produce from their coveted Kitchen Garden. Mariusz’ favourite British gin is Jensen’s, but their seasonal cocktails showcase a variety of local drink producers, including Black Cow Vodka from Dorset and Somerset Cider Brandy from Julian Temperley’s distillery on the Somerset Levels. They have a wide range of house infused spirits, like the raspberry gin we used in our Raspberry Daisy cocktail, and it’s all from their Kitchen Garden produce; who knew cucumber and dill went so well with gin, and carrot with vodka!? They also offer an eclectic collection of wines and local artisanal beers.
The Roth Bar & Grill really does combines gastronomy with contemporary art. It’s vibrant, informal and serves honest, simple and seasonal food; not only is the food exquisite, but the service standards are impeccable. Every part of the evening was a delight and a credit to husband and wife team Steve and Jules Horrell, who run the restaurant.
I think my cocktail shaking left much to be desired and as a result my Espresso Martini didn’t have the same smooth consistency as Mariusz’, but I did manage a rather splendid lemon-peel twirl to top my Raspberry Daisy. You can’t be good at everything!
So we wholeheartedly suggest you find your way to Bruton, whose name and existence is owed to the river Brue which meanders its course from Selwood forest to the Bristol channel, and visit The Roth Bar & Grill where it’s colourful, stylish quality is a hidden gem and one Somerset is lucky to have.
Photo credit: Bethany White
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