Chez Dominique has only been open a short while, and although I’d already ogled their menu on Twitter I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out in person – so when my good chum Helen (check out her deeply fabulous foodie hampers at www.taste-of.co.uk) told me we simply had to go there for lunch, I didn’t need much persuading. Chez Dominique is a lovely little French restaurant at the quiet end of Argyle St, across Pulteney Bridge. The décor is simple and elegant, with clean colours and lots of light, and the menu is short and sweet. It reminded me exactly of all my favourite lunch spots when I lived in Paris – family-run, a chef confident enough in his choices not to need a huge menu across which to hedge his bets, prix fixe at a seriously reasonable price, good service and great wine.
To start, I went for Cornish mussels, with cider and Ventreche bacon. I’m not always a huge fan of mussels, but I knew these would be fabulous and they were. The smoky richness of the bacon was the perfect addition, whilst I gladly soaked up the broth with fresh bread and demi-sel butter (oh, how I miss demi-sel butter). My dining companion, meanwhile, chose devilled lambs’ kidneys on toast, which she pronounced very good indeed. To wash it all down, we asked the waiter for his own wine recommendation, and he brought us chilled glasses of Viognier Cuvée du Brieu 2015, which made me think of apples and vanilla – lovely.
For our main, we both chose an onglet steak marinated with rosemary and thyme, served with a dressed salad, frites and Roquefort butter. Few things make me as happy as a really good steak frites – it’s comfort food with a bit of class – and this was really good. Served blue to make the most of this wonderfully tender cut, it was melt in the mouth and fabulous with the Roquefort butter. The chips were also fantastic – you might be tempted to think chips are easy, but it’s amazing how often they’re really quite bad.
I was feeling a little too full for dessert but couldn’t resist a spoonful of Helen’s (she said I could, honest) – a beautiful chocolate hazelnut mousse that was dark and rich instead of sweet, and served with a lovely flourish.
The prix fixe menu at Chez Dominique changes regularly, so you might not come across these exact dishes, but it always looks extremely tempting to me. As you would find in France, it’s extremely reasonable – two courses will cost you £13, while three courses is just £16, which is an amazing deal, particularly when you consider that you can also get it for an early dinner in the evening between 5.30 and 6.30pm. You can also check out the regular a la carte menu on the Chez Dominique website here. I have absolutely no hesitation saying I’ll be going back – everything was perfect, a proper little piece of Paris in the middle of Bath.