The farm to table culture is on the rise and restaurants are now producing, sourcing and even forging for themselves to ensure each ingredient is freshly picked and at it’s very best when it reaches your plate.
Produce-led, seasonal menus are key to a low carbon footprint and with many UK eateries favouring small-scale farming over big supply chains, not only is the food tasting better, paying respect to what’s grown around us is beneficial to the environment. The fields of Britain give up a cornucopia of wonderful produce, and where better to taste it than on the farms themselves. But which restaurants actually walk the walk as well as talk the talk?
We spoke to Chef James Harris at Beckford Bottle Shop, an award winning wine merchant and Bistro in Bath for recommendations on where those “in the biz” would chose to eat on their days off. James and his team create inspired small plates utilising the endless bounty of surrounding Somerset produce. Often found in a Somerset field, James often forages the abundance of local produce himself for the Beckford menu.
Here’s his top 5, starting of course, with…
Beckford Bottleshop, Bath
This charming Bath Bistro sits pretty on Saville Row, serving a relaxed dining environment perfect for long lunches, sumptuous suppers and the chance to enjoy fantastic wines from their shop. In the summer, diners have the opportunity to sample British cheese and charcuterie on the sun filled terrace, overlooking the honey-coloured Bath stone buildings. The menu boasts only the best produce sourced from the South West. With many top quality producers on their doorstep, local legends such as Larkhall Butchers and The Fine Cheese Co. ensure the menu is filled with flavours of Somerset.
The Ethicurean – Wrington, Somerset
Nestled into the fields of North Somerset, The Ethicurean is committed to regenerative agriculture. Acknowledging that the quality of their home grown ingredients starts with the soil, the team pay special attention to the health of where each of their elements grows, in order to produce the most incredible menu of produce either grown in their walled garden or sourced from nearby.
Terroir Tapas, Bournemouth
Terroir [ter-wah] is all environmental factors that affect a crop’s quality, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop’s specific growth habitat. The Bournemouth restaurant lives up to it’s name as an eco-aware restaurant by offering a tasting menu leaning firmly on an holistic approach to food. By doing everything they can to eliminate waste, chemicals and unnecessary carbon trails, Terroir aim to preserve & enhance what we have on earth. Dishes are inspired by world wide cuisine but are made from completely British ingredients that are made or grown in house, foraged from the local area or sourced from the most ethical places around the UK. Awarded a MICHELIN Green Star in the 2022 MICHELIN Guide for both the quality of food and efforts towards sustainability, you cannot go wrong when you dine here!
Pythouse House Kitchen, Wiltshire
Pythouse Kitchen Garden is an enchanting 18th Century walled garden, restaurant, bar and events venue set in the stunning landscape of South Wiltshire. Served in the beautiful conservatory or on the covered terrace, Pythouse Kitchen offer menus inspired by their very own garden and perfectly suited to the season. All activity revolves around the garden. A south-facing paradise with a myriad of plants, fruit and vegetables to gaze at, smell, pick, and eat. At the heart of the operation is head gardener Annie Shutt, who can be found tending to the beds and borders.
Wilson’s Restaurant, Bristol
Wilsons has a garden producing vegetables, herbs, edible and ornamental flowers set on a 2 acre field in Barrow Gurney, just 20 minutes away from the restaurant in central Bristol. Informed by their connection to nature, the Wilson’s small holding not only provides the majority of the vegetables on the menu, but is also the inspiration for what goes on in the kitchen. Sustainability is at the heart of Wilsons and they endeavour to work with and support producers, growers and traders that use ethical and low impact methods. Wilsons has its own market garden where much of the produce used in the restaurant is grown.