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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest April 2017 Reviews

Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, UK| Bown's Best

A Relais & Chateaux property

To stay in The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath is to stay in a work of art. Of all the manifold architectural achievements in the 18th century of this most beautiful of English cities, the acknowledged masterpiece is The Royal Crescent. This 500-foot curve of tall stone houses, designed by John Wood the Younger in 1767, is so lovely that to look upon it for the first time gives anyone with an aesthetic sensibility a momentary shortness of breath. And right in the middle of this monumental wonder is one of the most famous hostelries in England – The Royal Crescent Hotel.

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Bistrot de Venise, Venice, Italy | Bown's Best


How often do you encounter a restaurateur who is interested in academic subjects? Not often, I suspect. After all, the occupation of a restaurateur requires him to master the many skills which are involved in running a fine dining room. If he can master those, he already deserves the title of Renaissance Man. Is that not enough? Not, it seems, if you run the splendid Bistrot de Venise. There I found not only interpretations of Venetian recipes from the 14th to the 18th centuries, but also a programme of events which included both wine tastings and talks on intriguing aspects of art and culture. I say: Splendid!

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The Queensbury Hotel & Olive Tree Restaurant, Bath, UK | Bown's Best


There is no doubt in my mind that some of the very best food in Bath is now to be found at The Queensberry Hotel. And not just the food is good in the hotel’s Olive Tree Restaurant – so is the service, and so is the wine. Those responsible for this happy state of affairs are people who care about high standards and work hard to maintain them. They are the owners – Laurence and Helen Beere – the Chef – Chris Cleghorn – and the lady Restaurant Manager – Selam Nafekegu. The dining room is in the basement, but it is spiritually the heart of the hotel. And where there is a splendid dining room, there is – almost always – a splendid hotel. And that is what The Queensberry is: a splendid hotel. But why is it called The Queensberry?

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Francis Bown 2003
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