Dining Out: The New Bath Hotel, Matlock Bath
PUBLISHED: 10:05 18 August 2017 | UPDATED: 19:43 29 January 2018
This extensively refurbished hotel in Matlock Bath is once again proving a stylish place to stay, dine and meet
The unique charm of Matlock Bath has attracted visitors for centuries. Its limestone cliffs and steep wooded slopes earned it the affectionate sobriquet ‘Little Switzerland’, whilst its warm thermal springs caused it to become a renowned spa resort, particularly in the late 18th century when visitors flocked to sample the healing properties of its waters.
It was following the discovery of the first thermal spring here in 1698 that the village began to develop. As the trend for ‘taking the waters’ grew, more thermal baths opened alongside grand buildings such as the New Bath Hotel, which was built in 1745.
Despite a long period of prosperity, an uncertain future loomed when the hotel was closed in 2012. However, a group of private investors spotted an opportunity and set the wheels in motion for a multi-million pound refurbishment project.
The New Bath Hotel has now been transformed into a chic, four-star boutique hotel and spa, with stylish interiors that give it the upmarket vibe of a trendy London hotel. Alongside a bright and minimalist reception area, there’s a calm and inviting residents’ lounge bar, spacious wedding and conference facilities, 54 luxuriously-appointed bedrooms benefitting from stunning views and the latest mod-cons, and a tranquil spa with three peaceful treatment rooms, an outdoor spring-water hot tub, steam room and sauna, plus quality ESPA products.
For those seeking refreshment, light bites and afternoon teas are served in the lounge bar alongside an extensive drinks menu, whilst the chic Sourced restaurant offers elegant dining in contemporary surroundings. As its name suggests, all ingredients on the menu are chosen from responsible sources as close to the hotel as possible.
Of the five starters on the à la carte menu, options included goats’ cheese mousse with Waldorf salad, or English asparagus with poached local egg and Parmesan crisp, whilst the six main courses ranged from Derbyshire corn-fed chicken cooked three ways to blue cheese gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce and garden peas.
Following an appetiser of homemade bread – served as warm spheres with olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (£3.50) – our starters were swiftly served. My coronation chicken terrine (£7.95) combined tasty Indian flavours, with its lightly-spiced ingredients complemented by a refreshing mango sauce. The contrast of sweet and savoury elements was delicious and the accompanying soft shell crab, delicately fried in crispy breadcrumbs, was a delight.
Plated like a work of art, my partner’s grilled mackerel (£7.50) had an inventive and unusual twist in the form of a tart rhubarb confit that perfectly counterbalanced the richness of the fish.
Head chef Jordan Leah clearly has a passion for creating new interpretations of classic dishes and my main course of pan-seared sea trout (£18.50) was bursting with flavour. The fish tasted so fresh it could have been just off the boat and was served with brown shrimp, caper butter, cauliflower purée and roasted Jersey Royals that had a feather-light yet crispy outer shell and a soft, fluffy centre.
My partner’s Derbyshire lamb (£19.50) showcased the quality of its ingredients, comprising a piece of rump that was plump, juicy and mouth-wateringly tender as well as succulent braised meat, fresh green vegetables and fondant potatoes.
Neither course was heavy so we relished the opportunity to have a dessert. My partner’s treacle tart, served with raspberry ripple ice cream, raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries, satisfied his sweet tooth. My banoffee cake was served warm with a caramel-glazed banana and thin slices of white chocolate melting in sticky toffee sauce – my highlight of the evening.
We were later informed by hotel director Alison Pye that Jordan hopes to achieve 2 AA rosettes by the end of the year. Indeed, renovations to the hotel itself are continuing – including work on the 1930s’ outdoor lido pool. The New Bath Hotel and Spa has clearly embarked on a bright new chapter.
New Bath Rd, Matlock Bath DE4 3PX, 01629 583774, newbathhotelandspa.com