Wednesday, 22 March 2017

We’ve served up 10 years in Bampton

We’re celebrating this month (March, 2017) after dishing up a decade of evening meals and lunches in Bampton.

We have run two of the town’s pubs and the secret of our success is based on offering the very best in seasonal, regional ingredients alongside always trying to provide outstanding service.

Donna, who co-runs The Swan, said: “I’ve always been passionate about good food and I often fantasised about one day owning and running my own pub, and I really pestered Paul to do it. Now here we are, 10 years on, celebrating our anniversary in the same year that we have also had our pub placed in the top 50 gastropubs in the UK.

“We started out at The Quarryman’s Rest but took on The Swan in 2011and have never looked back. We recently posted a Wicked Wolf Gin and Thai Night on social media and sold out in 24 hours. We’re experiencing one of our busiest years so far and we’re only a quarter of the way in!

“We are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying their beef, rare breed pork, lamb and poultry and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest Brixham haddock for our beer battered haddock and chips with crushed peas. On the menu at the moment we have locally-farmed salt brisket, Exmoor Ox cheek, Exmoor lamb and local pigs’ cheeks.

“Our ethos has always been to provide good food, sourced locally wherever possible, while supporting other small businesses in the community too. It is a great feeling serving a dish and knowing the provenance of every ingredient.

“We have a small but dedicated team and we’re supported by the community here in Bampton, which is a bustling market town. Unlike many similar sized places, we still have a vibrant high street with a traditional butcher, a baker and greengrocers, and we use all of them.”

The couple also say they have learnt a lot in the past 10 years, including the art of delegation and being sure to have time away from the pub to re-charge their batteries.

Donna continued: “I am such a devoted foodie that I just love to go and see what everyone else is doing. It’s relaxing to be the one who is waited on for once too and it’s always great to try out different dishes, and see how other people are doing things. We’re not people who are too precious about our own brand and who don’t like to recommend others in the same industry. There’s room for everyone and we genuinely applaud the good work others do. Rising stars do so much for the sector and boost its profile, so it’s good for everyone.”

With 10 years under their belts, Paul, who also celebrates his 50th birthday this year, and Donna are now relishing their next decade in business.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

We’re named in Gastropub top 50

We’re celebrating this week after being named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country at an industry-wide awards ceremony in London recently (January 30, 2017).

We polled in at 50 and Paul says this is very apt as he is celebrating his 50th birthday this year too!

This is a major placing for us as we’ve always wanted to get into this elite group of pubs with chefs and teams who are at the very top of their game. We’re chuffed.

The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by a group with members including food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

We’re the industry’s choice and are delighted to be part of these awards for the first time this year.

The ceremony was organised by the publican’s publication The Morning Advertiser, which says the top 50 is the definitive list of the best gastropubs in Britain.

The Morning Advertiser’s Food and Drink Editor, Nicholas Robinson says: “Getting on this list is the jewel in the crown for foodie pubs across the UK. It’s the place to be seen.”

Thursday, 19 January 2017

We’re taking part in the Exmoor Food Fest

We’re very excited once again this year to be part of the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest, which runs from February 1 until 28.

It’s an event to showcase the very best the region has to offer diners and it is a celebration of all local produce and the culinary expertise we have here on our doorstep.

We will be running special menus as part of Exmoor Food Fest on Tuesday to Friday lunchtimes and Tuesday to Thursday evenings, excluding Valentine’s Day, during February with two courses priced £10 and three courses £15.

Paul and Donna will also be cooking at a special launch dinner for the 2017 festival at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster on January 26. They will be two of the seven, award-winning chefs including Olivier Certain from the Taste of the West top award-winning restaurant, Clavelshay Barn, joining the Luttrell’s Head Chef, Barrie Tucker to cook seven courses.

It’s a privilege to have been asked again to cook at this special event and we’re delighted to be working alongside some of the areas most talented chefs like Olivier. It promises to be a fantastic evening out for everyone who comes along.
Information about the Exmoor Food Fest can be found at

To book your table with us in February, please call 01398 332248 or visit

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The heart of Devon – a romantic place to stay

Devon's heartland is the ideal area for a cosy winter break complete with wood burning stoves, windswept moorland, rural idylls and delicious dishes to warm the soul.

If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away then why not stay with us?

There are few locations in Britain where you can get a mixture of wild moorland with lush, deep, wooded valleys, pretty cottages, rivers and acres of farm and woodland.

Bampton itself is a very pretty, traditional town with a thriving main street, which dates back to 700AD at least. The town’s centre has been declared a conservation area and has many listed buildings, some as early as the 17th century.

The townsfolk have greenfingers and have won the Britain in Bloom national award numerous times and even scooped a world win in 1999.

If you stay with us you can cuddle up in front of our log burning stove in the bar, dine by candlelight, star gaze, our area has amazing dark skies, and take strolls hand in hand to blow away the cobwebs. It’s all here!

The stunning Exmoor National Park is just six miles from the town and the beautiful beaches of North and South Devon are only a 40-minute drive away.

Exmoor is where English author Richard Doddridge Blackmore’s novel ‘Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor’ was first published in 1869.

But it’s not just legacy, literature and landscape, there’s plenty of foodie heaven here too as we offer seasonal dishes, made with love, using ingredients sourced at various wild and windswept locations nearby.

All of our rooms, which are non-smoking, are located on the top floor of this fabulous old building. With spacious, comfortable rooms you’ll find all the quirky character you’d expect from a town house. They’re perfect for a country break – renovated and decorated by our local craftsman – all three rooms include an en-suite, WiFi, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary toiletry products for a relaxing stay.

For breakfast, we offer a full English made with fresh, local produce or there is always a selection of cereals and lighter options available. Evening meals can also be arranged for staying guests.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

We’re backing West’s farmers, producers & suppliers

If you dine with us you are helping to support Westcountry farmers, producers and suppliers with every mouthful you eat.

We have pledged to source only from the South West’s farming, smallholding and supplier community and are offering our customers details of the provenance of the dishes we serve.

We source as many of our ingredients as nearby as possible and around 90% of all our suppliers are based within a 40-mile radius of the business.

Our ethos has always been to provide good food, sourced locally wherever possible, while supporting other businesses in the community too. Among our list of suppliers is the butchers in Bampton, which is owned by nearby farmer John Westcott.

They provide the joints for our popular Sunday roasts and Oakridge Pork at Oakford near Bampton rears the traditional breeds that go to make the lovely sausages and bacon we use here too. You can’t get any fresher or tastier produce than stuff reared nearby.

We also have a very close relationship with our suppliers, it’s a partnership really and we rely on each other. We share good, old fashioned, traditional values when it comes to offering the very best to our customers.