British restaurant The Ethicurean is getting ready to re-open its door. The past six months have been difficult for all hospitality venues, with the future still very unknown. For brothers and owners of The Ethicurean, Matthew and Iain Pennington, the forced pause gave them time to reflect, to consider and to imagine. After 10 years of existence, they have decided to design the kind of experience that they have always wanted to give their customers.
The restaurant is situated in a bountiful Victorian Walled Garden set against the backdrop of the Mendip Hills. Guests are invited to slow down, to take time to be guided around the garden, to be curious and reconnect to the land.
The fully immersive experience takes guests on a unique culinary journey. Following a walk through the walled garden, guests are welcomed by the team, then led into the cosy restaurant. Bunches of dried herbs cover the walls and dried flower arrangements sit along the windowsills and tables.
The recently refurbished space drew inspiration from the local surroundings.
Matthew and Iain worked with local craftsmen and kitchen fitters to refurbish and create a new environment that highlights the sustainable principles of the business.
With ingredients sourced from the garden, nourishing and homely food is served alongside wild libations. Naturally curious and guided by the seasons, The Ethicurean offers an ever-changing menu that draws on the freshest ingredients, with most of the vegetables and salads coming from the walled garden.
Mark Cox, who has been working the land within the walled garden since 2008, is committed to organic principles and a 'no-dig' approach. Focusing on heritage and heirloom varieties of plants, Mark produces the vegetables that are used in the restaurant. The meat and fish is sourced locally from producers who lead the way in sustainable practices. Techniques such as curing, pickling, lacto-fermentation and smoking feature heavily across both the food and drinks menus.
Pairing flights of natural and biodynamic wines, and an alternative no or low flight which includes non-alcoholic cocktails, cider vinegar shrubs and kombuchas are offered to compliment the meal. Bottles and jars of their inventive creations adorn the shelves of the restaurant. They become a talking point for guests and allow for curiosity to take hold.
The autumn menu draws on the bounty of summer where insect pollinators, for a few months of lockdown, had the run of the place. The uniquely warm spring - blossom in abundance, busy bees, moths and wasps doing their uninterrupted work. This culminated in the most remarkable year for wild fruits, berries, cobnuts and garden growth that the restaurant has ever known.
Much of the joy for Matthew and Iain has been capturing and preserving this harvest to serve a menu that reflects a sense of what is possible when nature and the natural cycles are given space and time.
After a slow meal full of wonder and enjoyment, guests are invited to have a warm fireside sweet treat out on the lawn nestled into the Mendip hillside. This is field to table dining at its best. A unique culinary adventure that provides nourishment for the mind, body and soul.
Booking for The Ethicurean Experience opens on 20 September launching on the 9 October 2020 and full details can be found at www.theethicurean.com.
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- Matthew Pennington
- Bristol Ethicurean Ltd
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