Forget crisp table linen and three sets of cutlery: there’s a new breed of restaurant in town. They still champion seasonal ingredients and artisan craftsmanship, but with a more pared-back and contemporary approach. Browse five of our favourite modern-rustic restaurants for a thoroughly Instagrammable dining experience
New Yard Restaurant, Cornwall
Located within the Trelowarren Estate, New Yard Restaurant (pictured above) has a naturally beautiful setting which chef patron Jeffrey Robinson builds on via his elegantly compiled dishes and camera-keen interior.
Much of the produce on the menu is grown by Jeffrey and his small team in New Yard’s kitchen garden, which makes the refined barn-chic vibe a fitting backdrop to such homegrown treasures.
When the weather’s good, guests can dine outside in the walled courtyard. In winter, we’d recommend securing a table by the log burner and sipping a house cocktail before diving in to the superb tasting menu.
The Bunch of Grapes, Wiltshire
An ancient pub is an unlikely setting for cutting-edge cookery yet, at The Bunch of Grapes in Bradford-on-Avon, ambitious chef Tony Casey is making it work.
Whether you indulge in the globetrotting tasting menu or plump for one of the pub classics, every dish showcases impeccable local ingredients which are beautifully presented on statement tableware. Tony’s eye for detail and design extends to his choice in plate which often contrasts with the bright natural colours of the food.
From the exterior this may look like just another pub but, inside, statement decor (dark wood and bold colours) reveal it as rather special. Kick off your meal with a round of classic cocktails served in Mad Men-chic tumblers.
The Star and Garter, Cornwall
It’s hard to distract from the fabulous estuary views which line the back wall of this Falmouth dining destination, yet the on-point styling and refined rustic food make a fair bid for diners’ attention.
Becca and Elliot Thompson took over The Star and Garter in 2015 and completely revamped the aging inn, creating a cosy bar (complete with log burner) and contemporary dining area. As well as reimagining the restaurant, they also overhauled the kitchen and fitted it out with modern tech to allow the chefs to cook over open flame.
The talented team prepare everything for the daily menus in house and their skills include butchery, smoking and curing.
Lord Poulett Arms, Somerset
There’s a fine line between modern-rustic and down at heel, and it’s one which the team at Lord Poulett Arms in Somerset tread with aplomb. The vibe is very much classic country pub yet, look a little closer, and additions such as Aztec rugs and thrift-shop chic cutlery create a polished look that’s very much on trend.
Cooking by head chef Philip Verden is of the same ilk and the trad dishes such as potted ham hock with toast and pickles, and confit Creedy Carver duck leg, are crafted with modern finesse.
The Farmers Arms, Devon
Three beautiful rustic-chic dining rooms make a fabulous backdrop to Ian Webber’s excellent pub fare at The Farmers Arms in Woolsery. The team recently made the decision to move away from fine dining and are instead focusing on the equally delicious casual dishes which have always run alongside the more finely crafted options.
Many of the ingredients on the crowd-pleasing menu are produced on the pub’s own Birch Farm and, in season, the own-reared hogget served with tomato, courgette and rosemary garlic potatoes is a must-try.