Following several years working in kitchens across Europe, perhaps most formatively at Kobe Desramaults’ In de Wulf, Merlin Labron-Johnson was ready for a move to London. His first project, Portland, opened at the beginning of 2015 to critical acclaim, and the following summer Clipstone was born. Extraordinarily, Labron-Johnson received a Michelin star when he was just twenty-four, nine months after opening his first London restaurant.
After the success of his London projects, the chef is now embarking on his next endeavour in leafy Somerset with a “tiny” new restaurant in Bruton, also home to art gallery Hauser & Wirth’s countryside outpost. Named Osip, the eatery will offer a set menu as well as an a la carte option, comprising dishes created using home grown organic vegetables and food “sourced from friends.” For the space’s interiors, Labron-Johnson has joined up with Bill Amberg Studio, along with artisans such as KANA Ceramics and Owen Wall, while Studio Nicholson have designed the team’s uniforms.
For the food, fruits and vegetables will be grown on eight acres of land near Bruton or on an allotment just a short walk from the restaurant, and wild berries, flowers and herbs will also be harvested for Osip’s drinks offering. The restaurant is being created in collaboration with a small boutique hotel called Number One Bruton and a select group of organic farmers working in Somerset.
Collaborators include the charity and farm The Husbandry School in Devon, traditional Somerset cheesemakers, Westcombe Dairy and Wootten Organic Dairy. Osip are also working with organic growers such as Charles Dowding and Bengrove Market Garden along with local fine ciders from the likes of Fine & Foster and Pilton. Supplementing the famous Westcountry cider, the wine selection will be co-curated by sommeliers Honey Spencer and Ania Smelskaya.
Feature image: Merlin Labron-Johnson at Clipstone. Photo: Lillie Eiger.