Need some fresh eating-out inspiration for 2023? Check out these cracking new restaurants worthy of a spot on your hit list
Beckford Canteen, Bath
This much-anticipated sister restaurant to The Beckford Bottle Shop – winner of Best Restaurant in the Food Reader Awards 2022 – soft launched in December and looks set to be a popular addition to Bath’s indie dining scene.
Chef George Barson (ex Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) heads up the kitchen of this restaurant housed in a former Georgian greenhouse (pictured above). The all-day menu is influenced by seasonality and sustainability, and most of the ingredients are sourced from Somerset and wider West Country producers.
Like the original venue on Saville Row, guests are welcome to pop in for a post-work glass of wine and graze on a couple of dishes, or to visit for a more elaborate dining experience of multiple courses accompanied by a deeper dive into the lengthy wine list (300 and counting).
It can be difficult to keep up with Bristol’s Rolodex of restaurant openings but this small-plates venue in Bedminster is the one everyone’s currently talking about. Those familiar with the city’s lively dining scene will already know chef-owner Mark Chapman who headed up the kitchens at Bravas, Gambas, Cargo Cantina and Masa + Mezcal before opening Cor, his first solo venture, in October 2022.
The experienced chef crafts food for good times, and while the presentation is suggestive of creative fine dining, the sharing format delivers an experience that’s unfussy and fun. The menu changes regularly, but expect to tuck into dishes such as Cornish cuttlefish cooked over fire and served with chimichurri and lemon.
Clare Lattin and Tom Hill are the latest restaurateurs to leave London for the serenity of the South West. Following in the footsteps of Tom Adams (Coombeshead Farm), Merlin Labron-Johnson (Osip) and Nicholas Balfe (Holm), the duo behind Duck Soup and Little Duck The Picklery swapped the big smoke for the big skies of Dartmoor when they opened Emilia in August 2022.
The family-style osteria serves the kind of soul-warming seasonal food you’d expect to stumble upon in the backstreets of Tuscany. From a tiny kitchen, the team craft supper-style Italian dishes using Devon produce. Homemade pasta (try the squash gnudi with fried garlic, sage and hazelnuts) is a staple alongside traditional plates like mutton chops with yellow turnips, spinach and anchovy.
Root’s original restaurant on Bristol’s Wapping Wharf earned an enviable reputation for its veg-led, small-plate format. It was such a success that, in December 2022, head chef Rob Howell and manager Meg took the winning formula to their home of Wells.
Together with owners Josh Eggleton and Luke Hasell, Rob and Meg have transplanted the sustainable and local ethos of the original restaurant into a roomy space in England’s smallest city. Sharing is encouraged, so round up a few friends with similar tastes, order as much of the menu as you can cram onto the table and tuck into dishes such as potato gnocchi with sprout tops and chestnuts, and buttermilk fried chicken with Korean barbecue sauce and kohlrabi salad.
Those who love the theatre of fine dining have a new find for their hit list. The debut restaurant from Jeff Lewis, Journey takes diners on a three-hour, 12-course tour of the chef’s culinary adventures around the world.
There are just ten tables in the intimate dining room of this Cheltenham restaurant, which has been designed to focus the guests’ attention on the food through the use of dimmed lighting and music that you can’t help but tap along to. There’s even a living wall of ferments, pickles and other concoctions.
Jeff cut his teeth in the kitchen of two-Michelin-starred Ynyshir in Wales, so expect dishes that deliver on flavour and creativity.
Casamia was a pillar of the Bristol dining scene for over a decade, so the sudden closure of the restaurant in May 2022 was a shock to its local and national audience. However, fans didn’t have to wait long for chef owner Peter Sanchez-Iglesias (pictured above) to reveal what was coming next when Casa opened in November 2022.
This new incarnation of the restaurant, set in the same cavernous space within The General development, sees the chef return to his roots: Peter started his cooking career with his brother Jonray at their family’s Italian restaurant, the original Casamia in Westbury-on-Trym.
Casa centres around a stripped-back menu of Italian dishes, which is split into sections including antipasti, formaggi, pasta, carne and pesce, and classic plates. Diners are encouraged to share dishes such as potato ravioli with lion’s mane ragu, braised beef cheeks, and astonishingly good tiramisu.
Fans of immersive dining experiences will want to make a trip to Falmouth to eat at this new restaurant from uber-creative chef Hylton Espey. At Culture, the former Rastella at Merchant’s Manor head chef takes diners on a culinary tour of the local landscape, culture and community.
‘I allow nature and the seasons to dictate the menu and not the other way around,’ says Hylton, who forages daily for ingredients for his beautifully presented dishes and sources other produce from local small-scale producers. The tasting menu is fixed – no substitutions or alterations are sanctioned – so visit with an open mind and be prepared to try some unique combinations.
Before opening Quince in Plymouth in November 2022, chef owner David Mann worked in some of the area’s most respected kitchens, including Boringdon Hall Hotel, The Treby Arms and Langdon Court Hotel.
While his experience runs the gamut from smart pub-dining to refined tasting-menus, at Quince David focuses on small plates of British and European cuisine. Expect to devour dishes such as smoked mackerel rillettes with dashi jelly, cucumber and parsley, and spiced pumpkin with buffalo mozzarella and lovage.
The Ring of Bells, Dartmoor
Devon producer Eversfield Organic is furthering its foray into hospitality (it already runs three successful restaurants) by relaunching popular Dartmoor pub The Ring of Bells in January 2023.
The team at Eversfield aim to build on the historic pub’s reputation for great food and drink by using 100 per cent locally farmed organic produce. Grass-fed beef, Brixham fish and vegetarian specials will feature on seasonal menus which reflect the local larder.
Jefferey Robinson, former head chef of New Yard Restaurant near Helston and one of the first chefs in the country to receive a Michelin Green Star, announced at Padstow Christmas Festival that he would be taking on the kitchen of harbourhouse in Flushing, Cornwall.
The pub is the latest addition to the beachhouse group, which currently comprises two beachside restaurants and takeaways in south Devon. After being bowled over by Jefferey’s cooking at New Yard Restaurant, we can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve for the new venture, which will open in summer 2023.
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