Plead guilty to gluttony at this new contemporary cafe within Glastonbury’s former police courts, suggests Kathryn Lewis
What’s the draw?
All‑day brunching with a Mediterranean‑meets‑Middle‑Eastern leaning.
Friends and colleagues Daniel Nixon and Dominic Bell (pictured below) met while working in the hospitality industry and FARA, which opened in May this year, is their first collaborative project. Their aim was to create an unforgettable dining experience, and when the town’s old police courts became available they knew they’d found the perfect setting for their unusual venture.
From the outside, the historic grey‑stone building looks small and dark, but step through its grand arched doorway to discover a dynamic, bright and inviting space. A sprawling skylight above the bar drenches the dining room in sunlight, while white walls hung with vibrant artwork create the illusion of roominess. There’s also a garden for alfresco brunching.
FARA is already a popular haunt of locals who stop by for well‑prepared Easy Jose coffee (roasted nearby in Shepton Mallet) and Lievito Bakery almond croissants (delivered daily from Castle Cary). However, its menu of classic and not‑so‑classic brunch plates makes it worth a trip for out‑of‑towners.
Head chef Dominic works his magic in the kitchen while front‑of‑house whizz Daniel oversees a bewitching team.
Dominic’s style of cooking is influenced by Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Modern European cuisine, yet the abundance of impeccable produce on his doorstep means each dish is also steeped in its Somerset surroundings.
What to order?
The FARA menu is split into breakfast, sweet and signature dishes, but it’s worth skipping over the first two sections and heading straight to Dominic’s most creative work – unless you really can’t resist the call of a full English flush with the local butcher’s piggy bits.
We followed Daniel’s recommendations and dug into the green shakshuka (herb‑laced seasonal greens bathed in butter, topped with pickled fennel, Somerset feta and poached eggs) and mushrooms on sourdough (a thick slab of Lievito sourdough piled with baharat‑spiced mushrooms, chermoula‑doused seasonal greens and an outlandishly delicious miso cashew cream). Each mouthful was packed with flavour without being overpowering, while the freshness of the locally sourced ingredients was discernible in the dishes’ vibrant colours.
If you can squeeze in a second course (servings are generous), select a slice of something sweet from the counter. All the cakes are baked by Daniel’s other half and we continued the Middle Eastern vibe with a wedge of Persian rose sponge and a tahini‑drizzled brownie.
While brunch is the headliner at FARA, the cafe also has a restaurant feel thanks to its cocktail and wine list. Bar manager James Mills draws on his Hawksmoor and Som Saa experience to fashion offbeat cocktails and curate an off‑piste list of memorable pours. Try pairing the green shakshuka with a Bloody Mary made with Wyborowa Vodka, fino sherry, harissa‑spiced tomato and pickled cucumber.