Merlin Labron-Johnson’s restaurant Osip in Bruton, Somerset, is one of the select few to have been awarded a Green Michelin star by the 2023 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland, as well as retaining its existing star, which the restaurant first received in 2021.
The Michelin Green Star is an annual award which highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices. They hold themselves accountable for both their ethical and environmental standards, and work with sustainable producers and suppliers to avoid waste and reduce or even remove plastic and other non-recyclable materials from their supply chain.
Opened just over three years ago when Merlin left London to embark on his first solo venture and reconnect with his West Country roots, Osip is a celebration of the bounty of the Somerset countryside that surrounds the restaurant.
Working closely with local producers, neighbours and farmers, Merlin shines a light on the best of the area while also growing biodynamic ingredients himself at nearby Dreamers Farm.
“It is such an honour to have our efforts recognised by such a hugely respected guide,' Merlin shared. 'The team and I have been working hard over the last few years to connect with our surroundings on an even deeper level and to collaborate as closely as possible with our amazing local community, celebrating the incredible produce that can be found right on our doorstep so that each menu represents a certain time and place.
'In 2020 we embarked on building a farm and learning about biodynamic farming methods has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It makes cooking at Osip all the more satisfying.”
Guests at Osip are invited through the door to be served a series of simple and unpretentious courses, made using whichever produce was plucked from the ground or dropped on the restaurant’s doorstep that morning. Inspired by the French tables d’hôte that Merlin has encountered on his travels through France, the traditional menu is removed from the equation meaning their guests put their faith in the kitchen.
On arrival at Osip, guests can expect snacks such as Westcombe cheddar gougère with hay baked apple; a fried artichoke with black garlic and togarashi; and a root vegetable tea with burnt garlic oil. Up next could be a salad of leeks, smoked almond praline and Nashi pear; a potato galette with wild garlic and smoked whey; and a fallow deer dish with beetroot mole and fermented blackcurrant.
Sweet dishes may include a caramelised apple sorbet and Somerset cider brandy cream, followed by a Pump Street chocolate crémeux with leftover sourdough and black sesame.
The wine list at Osip is curated with a focus on organic, responsibly grown wines from small scale producers. No drinks list in Somerset would be complete without celebrating West Country cider, with local makers including Fine & Foster taking a starring role as well as Osip’s own cider which Merlin made in collaboration with Pilton.