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Donna and Paul dish up 15 years in Bampton

BamptonOur chef-patrons Paul and Donna Berry are celebrating this month (February 2022) after dishing up 15 years of meals and hospitality in Bampton.

The duo opened The Swan in 2011 and our sister restaurant, Spelt, also in Bampton, in 2019. Before that, they were at the helm at The Quarryman’s Rest in the village.

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 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.”

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

Paul added: “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.”

The couple opened Spelt in September 2019 as a new concept style restaurant offering a selection of dishes that have been developed for sharing.

Donna, who heads up Spelt, 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.”

We have retained our four AA Gold Stars as well as two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence for five years running and was named by the AA as the nation’s ‘Inn of the Year’ 2019.

We were also named Gold Tourism Pub of the Year 2018 at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards and was voted Best Dining Pub for 2018 in the Trencherman Awards.

Donna was also one of three finalists in the Devon Life and Trencherman Awards in 2018.

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