Kathryn Lewis delights in a country farmhouse restaurant that’s a halcyon ode to plot-to plate cooking
Jane Bond and Sue Seaton have a rather special connection to their South Petherton restaurant with rooms. Not only do the sisters work together (Jane captains the kitchen and runs New Farm Restaurant with husband Crispin, while Sue covers front of house), but their “office” also happens to be the farmhouse in which they (and their father, grandfather and great-grandfather) grew up.
Jane and Crispin converted the family farm into a restaurant in 1993 and, for almost 30 years, the pair have served the best of the West Country crop to locals and passing visitors. The sisters’ commitment to their roots continues on a menu that strays no further than 35 miles from their birthplace.
VISIT for authentic (and unfussy) farm-to-table dining.
The restaurant’s location, not far from the county border, allows head chef Jane to make the most of both Somerset and Dorset’s fantastic food and drink producers, alongside eggs, fruits and vegetables from her own plot. A diagram on the back of the monthly menu details the suppliers and their distance from New Farm.
With such great ingredients at their disposal, Jane and the experienced kitchen team don’t overcomplicate the cooking. Dishes such as vegetable wellington, layered with vibrant veggies, saffron rice, flaky puff pastry and I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-milk vegan halloumi, are classic in style and hearty by nature.
DON’T VISIT for pared-back interiors and contemporary minimalism. Jane and husband Crispin have fully embraced the farmhouse theme (we’re talking chunky wooden tables, animal-adorned cotton napkins and poultry-shaped salt and pepper shakers) throughout the two dining spaces. Guests can even brush up on their chicken breeds via the ladies’ loo wallpaper.
WE LIKED the golden crispy-edged fillet of pan-roasted brill bathed in cider cream sauce and bejewelled with mussels and forest-green needles of samphire. Jane switches up the fish dishes daily, depending on the catch at Davy’s Locker in Bridport, though there are usually a couple of options to brood over.