Palate pleaser

Head chef Dan Moon’s use of lo­cally grown pro­duce is catch­ing the at­ten­tion of food­ies ev­ery­where.

YTL Life - - Life Feature - Words MARK LEAN

It’s just af­ter lunch at Dan Moon at The Gains­bor­ough, the ele­gant Ge­or­gian-de­sign restau­rant re­garded as one of Bath’s top ta­bles. The restau­rant is lo­cated at the award-win­ning The Gains­bor­ough Bath Spa, which re­cently added the Ho­tel of the Year (Eng­land) ac­co­lade at the 2017 AA Hos­pi­tal­ity Awards to its list of achieve­ments. Its head chef Dan Moon, who was born in Ex­mouth in the West­coun­try, knows the farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the area well. This home-grown ex­per­tise al­lows him to make the most of the fresh­est, the finest and of­ten un­con­ven­tional, pro­duce.

“I al­ways look at what’s in sea­son,” he says. His cri­te­ria for se­lect­ing ‘wow’ in­gre­di­ents in­volves “any­thing that meets vis­ual spec­i­fi­ca­tions; ba­si­cally, any­thing that looks and tastes amaz­ing”. Moon adds a dash of ap­ple cider vine­gar to the chicken liver, which he ex­plains is some­thing that bal­ances the flavours.

“I find el­e­ments that work well to­gether and place them on a blank can­vas,” he adds. Meats, ac­cord­ing to Moon, are used as a form of lan­guage; a method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that con­trasts flavours – the rich­ness of meat with pi­quant vine­gars, pick­les and yuzu. His main cour­ses fol­low a sim­i­larly in­ven­tive ap­proach. A crowd-pleaser, the Creedy Carver duck breast con­fit is paired beau­ti­fully with spring roll, plum and sesame.

He isn’t averse to pre­sent­ing smoked salmon with cu­cum­ber and bor­age – a type of lo­cal flower – ei­ther. The blooms are ed­i­ble and add colour, tex­ture and taste.

“All dishes at The Gains­bor­ough Restau­rant have been cre­ated with these con­trasts in mind,” Moon says. He adds that fer­mented beet­root when in sea­son is mixed with cau­li­flower, milk and whey. “I am al­ways de­vel­op­ing new and dif­fer­ent dishes that aren’t al­ways pre­dictable”.

The menu at The Gains­bor­ough Restau­rant changes sea­son­ally. How­ever, the items that steal the show are of­ten re­tained. “Those dishes stay on the menu longer,” Moon adds.

The win­ner of three AA Rosettes and The Caterer’s Acorn Award, this cre­ative chef is steadily carv­ing a name for him­self. The rea­son be­hind The Gains­bor­ough Restau­rant’s buzz both in the United King­dom and far­ther afield could well be due to Moon’s per­fec­tion­ist ap­proach. “I taste ev­ery item be­fore it’s served,” he says. “It is the se­cret to main­tain­ing con­sis­tent stan­dards.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.the­gains­bor­ough­bathspa.co.uk

Moon’s beau­ti­fully pre­sented feasts are a per­fect com­ple­ment to the so­phis­ti­cated decor of The Gains­bor­ough Restau­rant’s din­ing room.

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