Stretched Portmanteau in Milborne Port
Where once there were chalkboards now there are menu boards. In place of attendance lists are wine lists. After 115 years as the local school, the building closed in 1979 before being reinvigorated as a restaurant opening in 2019. The clock tower popping up from the roof and topped by a spirelet was restored. This former school was built by Sir William Medlycott of nearby Ven House and designed by Henry Hall. It’s faced with yellowy Bath stone. The entrance is set in a cloister style colonnade supported by Norman style columns is symmetrically terminated by gabled projections. Large gabled dormers above the colonnade flood the interior which is open to the rafters with natural light.
Mike Fisher, building owner and Creative Director of Studio Indigo, explains, “The creation of The Clockspire has been a thrilling and rewarding experience. This significant village landmark has been beautifully restored and now sits proudly once again at the heart of the village. New employment has been provided in the village and a new destination restaurant has been created in this part of Somerset. The village is enormously proud of this restoration project and the restaurant has been a tremendous success in a very short time.”
Mike founded his practice in 2005 with the aim to provide a holistic approach to architecture and interior design from yachts to townhouses. A recent project was the design of Mandarin Oriental Mayfair in Hanover Square London. His office of 40 staff is based on Lots Road, Chelsea Wharf London. He lives on the edge of the picturesque town of Milborne Port in the magnificent mansion of Ven House.
The set menu available at lunch and dinner has three choices for each course including the following. Starter: cod croquette, smoked cod’s roe, cucumber and apple salad. Main: Cornish pollock, summer vegetables chowder, seaweed sauce. Pudding: strawberry tart, chilled elderflower custard, honeycomb. An optional wine flight is available. Plate presentation by Head Chef Luke Sutton is as artistic as the restaurant’s address: Gainsborough. The Michelin inspector sums it up as, “Attractively presented modern British cooking using the local larder to good effect. Service is personalised and it feels as through they really care.” They do: General Manager Massimilanio Mannella sees to that. Restaurateur Alessandro Fasoli’s other establishment is The Woodspeen in Newbury, Berkshire, also recommended by Michelin.