Bruton restaurants: The Somerset town gaining an international reputation

The food culture in Bruton has 'exploded' according to those working in the industry Credit: Katharine Davies

It may be an old Saxon town with roots going back more than a thousand years, but the small town of Bruton is now gaining a reputation on the international culinary stage.

In just over a decade it has forged a name for itself as a great place to eat, with people travelling from far and wide to visit its restaurants.

From classic pub meals to a Michelin-starred restaurant, Osip, Bruton has a lot to offer for foodies.

Merlin Labron-Johnson, the owner and chef at Osip and the Old Pharmacy, said the produce available in the area was a big draw when he first set up his business in Bruton in late 2019.

Chef Merlin Labron-Johnson set up Osip in November 2019 and during lockdown opened the Old Pharmacy Credit: Maureen Evans

He said: "All the ingredients come from a ten mile radius, and that's not because we have a very strict concept, it's quite simply because we don't have the need. There's so much good stuff here.

"When you go to Osip, what makes it special is that you really feel where you are and you have a sense of the landscape, the local surroundings."

He believes the food culture in Bruton has 'exploded' over the last few years, with customers travelling from far away.

Merlin added: "I've definitely seen it become a hotspot for food, gastro-tourists and people who are travelling for food.

"And that's obviously because it has been a bit of a hub for people who come here for a few days and have lots of different food experiences that are really exciting."

According to others who run restaurants in Bruton, locals form a big part of their clientele, but people are also travelling from as far afield as New York.

Matt Watson set up Matt's Kitchen 12 years ago, converting the downstairs of his house into a dining area. He said the restaurant has been his 'labour of love'.

He told ITV News West Country: "It feels like quite an exciting place to live. There's a proper community, it's a lovely place to live.

Matt's Kitchen is one of several venues gaining an international following Credit: Matt Watson

"It's so funny because I'm sitting here and the phone rings and it's someone booking a table from New York, it's wonderful."

"It's amazing to have so many people in, including the locals."

Further up the road is the Newt in Somerset, a country estate which also attracts visitors from across the country and beyond.

For Jules Horrell, the manager at Roth Bar and Grill, Bruton's charm lies in its community and the diverse audience it attracts.

She started working there more than eight years ago and says its eateries put Bruton on the map.

She said: "Bruton itself has always been a really creative community and it's a celebration of farmers, makers, growers and creative people.

"I think the reason it's so special is, we're right in the heart of the farming community.

Roth Bar & Grill is a 'celebration' of local produce according to its manager Credit: Photo by Sim Canetty-Clarke

"We have a farm here, we farm a thousand acres in Bruton, we rear all our own beef, our own lambs, we grow our vegetables, we have a little vineyard where we make our own wine. We're really celebrating that land and that community around us. 

"The audience is predominantly made up of local people but also people who travel from further afield.

"You will get loads of people who will come down from London and visit Bruton because they've heard of it and they want to explore it. But also we get international visitors as well that will come for the weekend."

"There's lots of lovely eclectic places for people to stay at, from quirky places to five star hotels and everything in between. 

"For a small town of three thousand people there's a lot going on. It's a small town with a very big heart."