On 27 April 2023, The Three Horseshoes with food from Margot Henderson OBE, behind the well-loved Rochelle Canteen, will open in Somerset. Located in the bucolic village of Batcombe, The Three Horseshoes is a 17th century inn thoughtfully restored from its origins and brought back to life as an elegant pub with rooms, offering glorious isolation and country comforts. Originally from New Zealand, Henderson is now one of Britain’s most respected chefs. After training in her home country, Henderson moved to London where she later opened The French House dining room with her husband and founder of St John, Fergus Henderson, who she met whilst working at The Eagle. For her latest venture in the countryside, Henderson and Head Chef Nye Smith have created a menu driven by seasonal ingredients from local suppliers.

Photo: Steve Joyce

Henderson tells Something Curated: “I am very excited to be part of this unique and wonderful team that are bringing this very much loved place back to being a working pub – a place that folk will be going to for another 200 years. The pub is a gem, nestled into the valley of Batcombe (valley of the bats). Its unbelievably beautiful and I am totally in love with this area. The team are all gems – great people that are passionate about hospitality. I’ve always loved feeding people and for me a pub is the perfect place. The whole team is a coming together of hard working people who love what they do. There is something about stepping into the history of The Three Horseshoes and being part of the story for whatever time that might be; I’m always so proud to have been part of The French House. The team is great, all bringing in their wonderful talents. The area is full and overflowing with wonderful producers, wonderful people, fun, and also lots of young folk who want to work in the trade. It just all makes sense.” 

Photo: Steve Joyce

Hauser & Wirth Somerset, which occupies a former farmstead in the neighbouring village of Bruton, has established itself as a hub for locals as well as becoming a point of pilgrimage for Londoners. Then there is Merlin Labron-Johnson’s farm-to-table eatery, Osip, which opened its doors in the same village in the latter half of 2019, quickly becoming a destination restaurant. Expanding on what drew her to the location of Somerset, and the village of Batcombe in particular, Henderson continues: “I’ve been coming here for years, we have great friends who have lived here forever. We would all come down for jolly weekends with our kids, and every weekend was full of the joys of Somerset and we’ve made lasting amazing memories. There is a great atmosphere. Look at what Hauser & Wirth have done building galleries, farm shops and restaurants in such a beautiful spot! They are incredible multitaskers.”

Photo: Steve Joyce

Sharing a preview of The Three Horseshoes’ culinary offer with SC, Henderson says: “We are working with lots of local suppliers for the menu at The Three Horseshoes, from family-run smokers Brown & Forrest and Westcombe Dairy to Marcus and Penn from Feltham’s Farm. Expect mince on toast, chickpea fritters, pork chop and swede mash, mutton bun, Welsh rarebit, braised courgettes and saffron, ricotta and chocolate cake, ice creams, rice pudding. Everything should speak for itself.” Collaborating with interior designer Frances Penn on the 17th century building’s renovation, Henderson adds: “Our approach, like the food, is let the building speak for it self as much as possible. Frances has worked her magic on The Three Horseshoes and created a simple, comfortable, chic and inviting place that’s for everyone. A place that feels like it belongs, that the local people of Batcombe will love as their own.”  

Feature image: Steve Joyce

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