The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

The Firehouse, Curry Rivel

Get the gang together for a long and lazy feasting session at Curry Rivel’s fun and foodie pub, recommends Kathryn Lewis

Kate Macey kept Curry Rivel’s residents on their toes when she acquired the keys to The Firehouse in 2014.

It took her almost two years to reimagine and then restore and remodel the pub and former forge, but in doing so she has created a modern meeting place full of character and quirky design. And, judging by the squeeze to get a spot in the car park on a weekday lunchtime, the Somerset locals think it was worth the wait.

VISIT for the kind of food you really want to eat. There’s something for everyone here: fussy kids who’ll only eat pizza (there’s a stone-fired oven spitting out thin and crispy slices), pub grub traditionalists (fish and chips, charred steaks and chicken caesar salad all feature) and adventurous eaters who like to tour culinary trends (for Middle Eastern vibes try the lamb cutlets with courgette and mint couscous, tzatziki, roasted red pepper puree and broad beans).

While the huge menu hops around the continents in search of inspiration, the chefs’ use of local producers unites the eclectic collection.

On our visit, a sharing board of homemade smoked mackerel pâté, garlicky king prawns and shoestrings of calamari with cooling mango and fiery chilli showcased the best of the Bristol fish markets’ bounty.

DON’T VISIT if you’re anything other than properly hungry. The portion sizes are generous and the line-up of seasonal puddings too tempting to turn down.

WE LIKE the opportunity to crank up the volume and unbridle the belly laughs in the collection of bespoke (and free to hire) private dining rooms. The Feast Room seats 12 around a gorgeous antique oval table. It’s also the venue for The Firehouse’s murder mystery dinner parties.

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