Spelt Bampton

Paul and Donna, who are our chef-patrons, are celebrating 15 years of serving up meals and hospitality in Bampton. 

The pair opened The Swan, which is our sister restaurant/pub, in 2011 and we opened in 2019. Before that, they ran The Quarryman’s Rest in the village.

Donna, who heads up our team here, said: “I have always been passionate about good food and dreamed of owning my own restaurant and now, in the blink of an eye, we are here 15 years later with a pub at the heart of the community and a neighbourhood restaurant that is thriving, despite a difficult two years during the pandemic.

“I am really lucky to be able to do the thing I love as a job, so on my days off you’ll still find me in the kitchen. I can’t get enough of it really.”

The couple also say they have learnt a lot in the past 15 years, including the art of delegation and being sure to have time away from the pub to re-charge their batteries.

Donna added: “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.”

The Swan and we were also featured in the 2021 Michelin Guide.

Paul said: “We believe the secret to our success and longevity in the town is offering the very best in seasonal, regional ingredients alongside top-notch customer service. It’s been proved to be a winning combination as we have received multiple awards, most recently The Swan being listed at number 25 in the Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards. We also made the list in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“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. We also regularly have locally-farmed salt brisket, Exmoor Ox cheek, Exmoor lamb and local pigs’ cheeks on the menus too.

“What also keeps us going is the fantastic community we are surrounded by here in Bampton. The people are so friendly and would do anything for each other. This was made even more obvious when the pandemic hit and there was nothing too big or small anyone could do for their neighbours.

“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.”

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