At the Chapel, in the magical town of Bruton, in the south-western English county of Somerset, is a restaurant with rooms, bakery and winestore, created by restaurateur Catherine Butler and designer and furniture-maker Ahmed Sidki, in a Grade II Listed, 17th-century building. Through the centuries it has been a coaching inn (in the 17th and 18th centuries, the site was known as The Swan Inn). In the late 18th-century, the local cloth industry was replaced by silk and during this period the building was used as a Silk House, part of the extensive silk production of the town which, by 1798 had several silk mills and a factory for spinning. Later, the building became a congregational Victorian chapel (the last service, held in the 1960s, was the organ master's funeral), and even a Sixties' hippy commune and sometime recording studio, reputedly used by Tangerine Dream and Genesis.
Falling into disrepair, it was brought back to life after painstaking restoration between 2002 and 2008, when it opened as At the Chapel. The stunning, double-height, galleried Restaurant, with its awe-inspiring 20ft (approx 6m) arched windows at one end, is a meeting place for local inhabitants and visitors from all corners of the globe to eat and relax, in atmospheric, convivial surroundings hung with curated modern art. A medieval well can be seen in what is now the Club Room (a residents' lounge, dining for large groups, and event space). Eight contemporary bedrooms styled within this ancient building are available for overnight stays.
At the Chapel is tucked into Bruton's narrow high street, which is packed with independent shops and ancient houses, many dating back to medieval times. sits above the meandering River Brue. The restaurant, and some of the rooms, enjoy a southerly outlook. In summer the sun-dappled, south-facing terrace, which looks out across a timeless pastoral scene to Bruton's iconic ruined stone Dovecot, a mysterious, solitary 16th-century structure on a distant hill.
The all-day restaurant and bar is open every day, to serve breakfast, coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails and dinner within a soaring, convivial space.
The kitchen uses only the best West Country produce and brings a relaxed Mediterranean approach to British food. Fresh pizzas from the authentic stone-built wood-fired pizza oven are served in the restaurant and also available to take out. Autumn signature dishes: Chargrilled rose veal chop, anchovy butter, sage. Stokes Marsh Farm entrecote steak, Bearnaise, sea salt, potatoes, heritage carrots.
In summer, you can sit outside on the jasmine-scented, sun-drenched terrace. Michelin has consistently awarded the restaurant a Bib Gourmand since 2010 and again in 2015.
Breakfast 8am-11am . Lunch Midday-3pm. Sunday lunch Midday-8pm . Afternoon tea always available. Dinner 6pm-9.30pm. Pizzas from the wood-fired oven served all day.
At the Chapel has eight contemporary and luxurious bedrooms above the restaurant. Because this is an historic building, no two rooms are exactly the same but each offers a tranquil space to retreat into with original modern artworks. Bedrooms have kingsize beds and Egyptian cotton bedlinen, either a marble-wrapped bath or shower room containing REN toiletries.
The two largest rooms are an attic suite beneath the historic eaves which has a large bedroom with kingsize bed, and a sitting area with a soafbed for one extra adult or two children. There is also a garden terrace room which has a free-standing bath and French windows on to a private, south-facing terrace with views of the Saxon Church of St Mary's and the 16th-century stone Dovecote. Fresh croissants are brought straight from our Bakery to each bedroom door each morning.
All rooms have HD Smart TV, i-Pod dock, tea and coffee-making, safe, free WiFi. Check-in from 3pm, check- out midday.