Osip

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Former Portland and Clipstone chef Merlin Labron-Johnson’s departure from the capital was a blow to London’s food scene but its loss has been Somerset’s gain, with his 30-cover restaurant establishing itself firmly as one of the best places to eat in the county.

While he made his name as a chef in the UK in London, much of Labron-Johnson’s cooking career has been spent in more rural locations, such as Belgium’s In De Wulf, so his move wasn’t a complete surprise. Neither is his philosophy at Osip, with the chef having created close links with local suppliers to champion the very best of local, seasonal produce.

As a result, no menu is presented to guests on arrival with dishes dictated by what the restaurant has been able to get its hands on that day. A meal will feature snacks and freshly baked bread with mains and a dessert and might include house charcuterie; egg ravioli with wild garlic; and brioche baked in herbs served with hedgerow butter.

Drinks follow a similar theme, with wines sourced from small-scale, sustainably-minded winemakers, ciders from local farms and homemade soft drinks, juices and ferments made from wild and homegrown ingredients.

Those that wish to can book an overnight stay with the restaurant’s partners at the Number One Hotel, which includes a farmhouse breakfast produced by the Osip team the following day. Starts to the day don’t come much better, or more wholesome, than that.

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