There's a distinct trend in chefs leaving London for the country life, to set up shop in the South West. We've had East London's Pavilion Cafe opening in Newquay, the Jolene team heading to Fowey along with ex Portland chef Merlin Labron-Johnson opening in Bruton in Somerset and Pitt Cue's Tom Adams behind the much-loved Coombeshead in Cornwall.
Some - like the Prawn on the Lawn team - are returning to their roots, and that's part of the story behind Nicholas Balfe's decision to open his next restaurant Holm, in rural Somerset. Balfe grew up in the area and is moving back to oversee the restaurant while his colleagues Mark Gurney and Matt Bushnell stay behind in London to look after their other restaurants - Salon, Larry's and Levan.
“I get to live every chef’s dream," says Balfe, "working directly with farmers, growers and artisan makers, whilst bringing the energy and passion of our London restaurants to a new community."
Holm's new home (sorry) will be the village of South Petherton. It's taken over the village's old bank - which has also been turned into a co-working space. There's plenty of outside space for an outdoor grill and dining terrace, as well as a kitchen garden. Inside, the dining room will seat 30 and they've cleverly repurposed the old vault to be their new wine cellar, packed with interesting biodynamic wines.
The all day space will start with must-try breakfast dishes like caramelised apple and miso buns and Montgomery cheddar croques. And the rest of the day's menu is every bit as exciting as you'd expect the team behind Salon, Larry's and Levan to devise:
- Brixham mussels with lovage, creme fraiche and cider
- Somerset ex-dairy tartare with pickled mushrooms and cured egg yolk
- Coal-roasted celeriac with garden brassicas and seaweed bernaise
- Wood-fired plum clafoutis and miso ice cream
Alongside wines from the bank's cellars, the Holm team will also serve ciders and perries from local producers along with cocktails and homemade soft drinks using herbs and botanicals picked from the garden. All of which makes it sound eminently worth a trip to the country for any Londoner looking for good food and drink.
More about Holm
Where is it? St James Square; South Petherton; Somerset TA13 5BT
When? Autumn 2021
Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @holmsomerset
Subscribe to be the first to get the news from Hot Dinners