Review: The Muddy Duck Bath
The Muddy Duck, Bath: This recently refurbished country pub is nestled in the charming village of Monkton Fairleigh – a 10-minute drive outside the very centre of Bath. Standing calmly on the roadside I was surprised to hear that 1; it’s the most haunted pub in Wiltshire and 2; has been at the centre of local criticism after last year changing its name from the 18th Century “King’s Arms” to the “Muddy Duck”, in what has been labeled an insulting and tacky move. I hoped the same excitement could be found in the menu.
Once you arrive it’s everything you hope a countryside gastropub would be. Beautiful scenery, cosy interiors, a fire, friendly staff and a menu that caters to the no-nonsense rambler.
Pork crackling sticks & apple and chilli jam? It would be rude not to.
Other “nibbles” included Tempura Belly of Pork & Black Pudding and Chipolata Sausages & Bath Pig Chorizo. I would though easily recommend the above.
One of my pet peeves in when you can guess the soup of the day (you know you have pretty good odds with a tomato & basil, cream of mushroom or a leek & potato). First up on the starter selection was an “ever-changing bowl of MD soup”… I usually always ask what the soup is but 9.9 times out of 10 order something else. Theirs was spiced cauliflower soup and we ordered 2.
Served with cheesy toasted garlic bread and extra jugs, we were glad we did. Although I liked the idea of the second helping, I had to pour in the jug straight away as the soup in the bowl was far too little.
Other options included Seared Scottish Scallops or a Rabbit Terrine.
We settled on the Spiced Cornish Monkfish and Roast Wiltshire Duck for main.
The monkfish was served on greens with pickled shallots and cauliflowers, with a side of onion and bombay bhajis.
The Duck came with a potato fondant, beetroot, turnip and elderberries.
Both dishes were delicious and didn’t cut any corners. The monkfish in particular was exactly as I had hoped after a passionate description from the waiter had already built high expectations in my mind. Where possible, the food here is locally sourced – a map on the menu even tells you what is from where.
Other options for mains included a Burger, Fish & Chips, Butternut Squash & Ricotta Cannelloni and a Fish Stew.
Dessert. Sometimes the only way you (I) want to end a meal is with a chocolate fondant (cooked with the perfect level of sauce of course). This is exactly what I did.
Joining me in that was caramel, peanuts and salt who I welcomed with open arms.
The staff all seem passionate about the area and the food. The last thing this place will do is haunt you and if it is to be in the papers, it should be headlined for its exceptional food and commitment to the local area, and not its name. The “Muddy Duck” is something this village should be proud of.
£75 for two.
The Muddy Duck www.themuddyduckbath.co.uk
42 Monkton Fairleigh, Wiltshire, BA15 2QH, Bath