A Foodie’s Guide To Somerset
The best west country restaurants, from Bruton to Frome
In recent years, the once sleepy region of Somerset has transformed into one of the UK’s trendiest culinary destinations thanks to a slew of buzzy hotels and restaurants. In 2014 Hauser & Wirth put Bruton on the map with the launch of Durslade Farm, and a few years later the owners of South Africa’s Babylonstoren opened one of the most talked about hotel openings of the past few years, The Newt. With its endless rolling hills, Somerset always had strong potential – and now chefs are making the most of its natural larder, serving excellent seasonal produce across farm-to-table restaurants, cosy pubs and neighbourhood cafes.
Here local chef Ana Ortiz shares her favourite spots in the area. Born and raised in the Galapagos, Ana’s earliest memories of cooking are in her grandfather’s fire kitchen, where they would prepare nose-to-tail style feasts for all the family. She now heads up Country Fire Kitchen with her husband Tom, a company which designs fire cookery rigs for chefs and restaurants, plus offers cooking courses teaching the Argentinian cooking technique of Asado, which she learned from her father.
Best Restaurants in Somerset: Ana Ortiz’s Pick
HOLM, South Petherton
We are so lucky to have this place near us! We absolutely love Holm – Nicholas and his team are so passionate and talented. Every time we go there are different dishes on the menu, something quite unique in the area. The way they create the dishes and the balance of flavours is outstanding.
28 St James’s St, South Petherton TA13 5BW, holmsomerset.co.uk
The Bell and Crown, Zeals
Our local and our favourite place for pub classics, which is not quite in Somerset but on the very edge. The service is always great and in the winter sitting by the fireplace is just perfect. They opened bedrooms last year which are beautifully decorated and makes for a very handy B&B for friends when they come to see us!
New Rd, Zeals, Warminster BA12 6NJ, bellandcrown.com
The Garden Café at The Newt
This is my favourite place to spend time with our daughter, Isabella, as she just loves it here. After long walks in their woods and around the vegetable gardens, we always finish the day at the Garden Café which has a wonderful menu of the most delicious dishes featuring ingredients grown on their grounds. I particularly love that they focus on the seasonal vegetables as the main ingredient for the dish, the star of the show.
A359, Hadspen, Castle Cary BA7 7NG, thenewtinsomerset.com
Rye Bakery, Frome
Perfect for a quick lunch when shopping in Frome. I love the pastries and coffee here.
Whittox Ln, Frome BA11 3BY, rye-bakery.com
Just in the village around the corner from us is the glorious Osip. This gem is a unique experience: the menu utilises ingredients from their allotments, the surrounding area and local suppliers. A real fave, it’s the perfect treat for special occasions.
1 High St, Bruton BA10 0AB, osiprestaurant.com
The Ethicurean, Barley Wood
This is a magical walled garden restaurant. After you go up the hill through the vegetable gardens you arrive at this cute old garden shed where the restaurant is. The cooking is beautiful and the exquisite food uses ingredients straight from the garden as well as their own preserves and fermented goodies. The drinks list here is outstanding, especially for non alcoholic options using botánica from the garden – so delicious.
Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington, Bristol BS40 5SA, theethicurean.com
28 Market Place Bakery, Somerton
The best bakery for the most delicious doughnuts and pastries. When we go for walks to this area we always make sure to stop there for a treat and a good cup of coffee.
28 Market Pl, Somerton TA11 7NB, 28marketplace.co.ukbrut
Upstairs at Landrace, Bath
Our number one stop whenever we go to Bath. We simply choose all the starters to share as it is too difficult to choose just one option. Everything is so tempting! Super comfortable and I love the intimacy of the space and how full of light it is.
61B, UPSTAIRS, Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BN, landrace.co.uk
Featured image: The Newt
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