Light streams through bay windows into an uplifting space where posies of flowers colour-pop from white tabletops, velvet-covered bench seating is dotted with bright cushions and walls are decked in bold modern prints and vintage plates. This weekend, the candles are lit and the fire is crackling.
Chidgey, a design guru who worked for The Conran Shop in London before upping sticks for the countryside, has cleverly removed and arranged tables to comply with social distancing regulations, while retaining the atmosphere of a stylish comfortable home. Tier 2 restrictions mean non-householders can’t eat at the same table, but Chidgey hopes groups of family and friends will still make bookings for the same time. “Although socially distanced, they can still be in the same place with one another,” she says.
Titcombe’s kitchen exudes similar good taste, informality and delicious surprises.
Co-founder and original chef of pioneering modern British mini-chain, Canteen, his Italian-slanted menu features local seasonal ingredients prepared with flair and precision. It’s a design and culinary double-act that works seamlessly.
Chidgey always wanted to run her own business, one that merged design and hospitality. At university, she wrote her dissertation on iconic designer and restaurateur the late Sir Terence Conran, and ended up working for the great man, rising from assistant to senior buyer at The Conran Shop.
Keen for experience in hospitality, she then worked for Conran’s son Tom, managing his dining pub The Cow and eponymous delicatessen in Notting Hill. By then one of the UK’s leading retail creatives, she moved to consultancy, using her exceptional eye and aesthetic to predict colour trends for forecasting giants WGSN and Stylus.
In 2012 Chidgey and Titcombe decided the time was right to take the plunge and start a business together. Originally, they looked for premises in London but stumbled across the pretty Beaminster building, previously the restaurant of MasterChef winner Mat Follas, while on holiday. “Everything just snowballed from there,” Chidgey says.
The couple opened Brassica Restaurant in 2014, quickly winning glowing reviews and gongs for Titcombe’s food, and scooping awards for Chidgey’s design. Soon after the restaurant opened, Chidgey opened her homeware store Brassica Mercantile in an adjacent building, where she sells a carefully edited collection of covetable homeware, books, food and wine. Her style is influenced by modern designers like Hay from Denmark, but she also adores classics like Moroccan textiles, French linens and Italian tableware.