The Fountain Inn, Wells

This delightful gastropub is at the bottom of St Thomas Street, in a conservation area a short walk from Wells Cathedral and Vicar’s Close.

Owner-chef, Tessa Hennessey, took over the business a decade ago having arrived from South Africa where she had run a successful bistro. Breathing new life into The Fountain Inn, Tessa has put her stamp on it, from the warm welcome you receive on arrival to the wonderfully quirky traditional which combines English antiques with design details from Africa.

The menu is just as individual, devised by Tessa and her daughter, Megan, who was trained by local notable chef and restaurateur, Adam Goodfellow. Everything is freshly prepared by the mother/daughter duo, and their passion for quality and originality shines through with a varied menu that changes with the seasons. ‘We have our pub classics but also include lots of seasonal specialities,’ says Tessa. ‘A grilled duck breast served with summer cous cous is very popular at the moment and then going into winter, we will introduce favourites which include a lamb shank recipe, but with a twist.’ There are also plenty of dishes to cater for different dietary requirements which certainly don’t look like an afterthought.

In addition to the cosy downstairs restaurant, there is more space in the equally inviting first floor restaurant and The Fountain Lounge, an attractive function room. This also doubles as a daytime room for remote workers to base themselves, providing a ‘small bites’ lunch option. It is this forward thinking that will keep The Fountain Inn as popular with local customers as it is with tourist visitors.

1 St Thomas St, Wells BA5 2UU