5 of the best Michelin rated restaurants in Somerset and Bristol
- Credit: Mark Cleghorn
Let's take a closer look at some of the restaurants who are at the top of their game around here.
The Olive Tree, Bath
Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is a step away from the Circus, in a quiet Georgian street. It’s in the basement of The Queensberry, a long-standing independent hotel with a uniquely quirky character. The head chef is Chris Cleghorn, who has a highly meticulous culinary style, drawing out flavours in every ingredient and balancing them to create perfection in each dish. The restaurant is cosy and relaxed, but with immaculate, attentive service.
A la carte menus include those for vegetarians, vegans, dairy free, pescatarian and there’s a children’s menu. Dishes may include smoked Devon eel, Isle of Wight tomato and tarragon for a starter; with Wiltshire lamb loin, anchovy, celery, artichoke and Sarawack pepper as a main and Cheddar strawberries, coconut, Szechuan and basil for dessert.
Chef Merlin Labron-Johnson achieved his first Michelin star at the age of 24, just nine months after his London restaurant, Portland opened and he has achieved the same for Osip. He grew up in rural Devon and was later influenced by Kobe Desramaults at In de Wulf in Belgium, a chef who would only use ingredients from a half-mile radius.
Farming, sustainability and cooking with the seasons is what drives Merlin and was behind his move to Bruton to open Osip in boutique hotel, Number One, Bruton. There are no menus, guests are asked to put their faith in the kitchen. This is a small, simple restaurant, where dishes are created with whatever lands on the doorstep each day, from its allotment or local growers.
This Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant has a relaxed neighbourhood feel helped by friendly service - infact it’s not unusual for chefs to help serve at table. Set over two floors, it’s a comfortable and intimate setting in which to experience a superb tasting menu, accompanied by an excellent wine flight. Chef owner George Livesey was classically trained, sponsored by Albert Roux and subsequently worked in key restaurants before opening Bulrush in 2015.
He draws on Japanese and Scandinavian influences, using foraged ingredients, as well as preserving and pickling techniques, to create imaginative dishes. The reasonably priced, tasting menu, with a vegetarian alternative, may include a scallop, kohlrabi, smoked pike roe, seaweed and verjus main and a dessert of mirabelle and shiso sorbet, star anise and Wye Valley blueberry.
The Talbot Inn, Mells
Unpretentious pub food may be how they describe their menus at The Talbot Inn in Mells, but it’s nevertheless of a quality to attract a Michelin listing. This former coaching inn dates back to the 15th century and still retains its traditional pub atmosphere. The menus make the most of meat and game coming from local farms, fish from Cornwall and, with its own wine merchant, The Bottle Shop in nearby Bath, the pub has an extraordinarily good wine and drinks list.
Flavoursome dishes may include favourites like Lyons Hill fillet steak, with feta and walnut stuffed onion, cauliflower puree and bearnaise sauce; or clever alternatives, such as the vegan coconut rice pudding dessert, with poached pear, Calvados raisins and flaked almond.
Beef and lamb raised on the farm play an integral part in the menus at Roth Bar & Grill. The restaurant is at Hauser & Wirth, the international art gallery based at Durslade Farm in Bruton. Both the farm and walled garden provide seasonal ingredients for the restaurant which combines relaxed eating and drinking, and contemporary art, housed within the warm stone walls of the old farm buildings.
Headed by Steve and Jules Horrell, the restaurant works with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners who share the same sustainable food philosophy. Flavoursome dishes include mezze spreads, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, sausage and wild garlic or the ever-popular wagyu burgers. Sit among the repurposed characterful stalls of the old cowshed, or undercover outside in the former farmyard.