Started by three friends at the height of the pandemic in 2020, The Scenic Supper has established itself as a unique dining destination with fantastic seasonal food and cocktails.
As it gears up to open its new winter venue at The Stone Barn near Stow-on-the-Wold, SoGlos spoke to The Scenic Supper team to see why Gloucestershire foodies will want to snap up a table this winter.
The Scenic Supper was set up in July 2020 to offer socially distanced fine dining with incredible views over Gloucestershire. With an ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes served in reconditioned glasshouses, it offers a unique foodie experience, washed down with some of the best gin cocktails in the county – made with its own King Stone Gin.
Brand-new for winter 2021, The Scenic Supper takes up residence at The Stone Barn at Fir Farm, just outside Stow-on-the-Wold, before returning to its usual home at Todenham Farm in spring 2022.
For more information, visit thescenicsupper.co.uk.
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Toby Baggott, Sam Lawson-King (me) and Sam Idoine are the three current minds behind The Scenic Supper. Scott Sullivan – one of the founders and now shareholders of the business – has taken a back seat down in Cornwall to work on his other business.
Toby keeps the ship sailing in the right direction – with a background in fine art and events, as well as running his own events styling company before Covid-19 hit in 2020. He has the creative eye and experience we need to give The Scenic Supper its edge. He’s a keen foodie, loves dining in the best restaurants and pubs locally, and is a keen mocktail enthusiast.
Sam Idoine is our man in the kitchen, who came onboard in March of 2021. He’s a creative genius when it comes to food, with a long-standing background in the hospitality industry, where he’s worked in the kitchen since he was 16. Having worked at several Michelin-starred establishments throughout his career, he encapsulates everything we stand for at The Scenic Supper and has worked with us to curate our menus – a great addition to the team.
I (Sam Lawson-King) look after the everyday running of the restaurant and bar. I have a long background in hospitality, working directly with guests at many Cotswold-based restaurants and pubs. I have a professional background in wine and spirits, with my own gin, King Stone Gin, taking centre stage on our cocktail list. I am passionate about the drinks industry and you can often find me at some of the best cocktail bars in Europe.
What inspired you to start The Scenic Supper?
The adversity that came from the pandemic forced us to think outside the box and come up with a new way of dining.
It was also a collaboration of three friends that had discussed at length the possibility of working together in some capacity. We each had our own field – design, food and drinks – and Covid-19 gave us the opportunity to at least try to build something together after being directly affected by the pandemic.
We are all driven by seasonal produce, sustainable working practices and supporting local producers.
Why is using local, seasonal produce so important you?
The question should be ‘why isn’t using seasonal and local produce important to some people’? It’s the foundation of our existence and history – use what is available, when it is available. Cut the carbon footprint by not buying strawberries in January. It’s a very simple, but important working practice. We are also very privileged to live in a region that has such great fertility and a climate for growing top-end ingredients.
How do you come up with your monthly menus?
It really all depends on what the year so far has given us. For instance, asparagus and rhubarb play a big part early on in April, as that’s what’s available – but sometimes the year has been late, like 2021, so produce is behind. We want to curate the menu around the season. Spring is about fresh tastes, greens, reds… Autumn we want to be a little heavier – comfort food that warms you to the core.
The food we serve is good looking, handsome, technical and sometimes it says one thing and does another. It’s a sensory experience at the end of the day.
Sam Lawson-King, you make your own artisan gin, which is stocked in The Scenic Supper bar – tell us a bit about that.
When I was growing up, I didn’t understand gin, certainly not like I do today. My nan would drink Gordon’s and Schweppes – the smell of the sweet juniper is something I can still smell to this day. Or maybe it was her perfume.
The wine and spirits industry really made me appreciate gin and its complexity – there are no rules, apart from the core of a gin must be juniper. I was sick to death of drinking over-the-top, too intense gins that had every botanical under the sun thrown in and distilled in the most complicated of methods. I wanted purity, citrus-based, herbal and premium gin that you can drink lots of. So, King Stone Gin was born.
Distilled in a single shot method on a 30-litre pot still, it’s about as traditional as you can get. The gin is also fully organic, with all botanicals and base spirit from sustainable, organic sources.
How do you come up with the recipes for The Scenic Supper’s famous gin cocktails?
I drink a lot of cocktails! The whole cocktail industry has spent the last 20 years being ‘lazy’ with minimal evolution of cocktails and methods. I have been inspired by the molecular mixology world we live in today – creating everything that goes into the cocktail from scratch.
Most cocktails follow a basic principle of alcohol, sweetness and citrus. I let that be my guide and then go wild. Winter at Fir Farm will see some of the best cocktails I have ever created, using sensory immersive techniques like foam, smoke and fermentation.
You’re about to open your new winter dining venue at The Stone Barn at Fir Farm, near Stow-on-the-Wold – what’s going to be on offer there?
This really is the best venue we could have hoped for – secret, beautifully refurbished and the views are spectacular.
We will be offering both lunch and dinner at Fir Farm. Lunch is a five-course set menu. For dinner, you can choose between a five- or seven-course set menu. Five courses is £55, seven courses is £70.
Will there be a festive menu on offer during December?
Of course, we will be getting festive in December! We are looking forward to taking a few classic Christmas dishes and spinning them on their heads, The Scenic Supper way.
We will have our Christmas tree up, Santa is prepped and there might just be a Christmas song or two.
What can diners expect from your return to Todenham Farm in spring 2022?
We are taking Todenham up a notch for 2022. There are a few alterations to be done to the glasshouses, making your experience in them more enjoyable.
There will be some additions to the site itself, to make working and dining easier – a path, for instance, as we experienced some pretty bad weather this year; and reworking the kitchen and bar, giving us the best environment to produce outstanding creations.
Oh and the addition of two large glasshouses, which can seat eight people. Exciting times!
Do you have any more exciting plans for 2022?
We have a few things up our sleeves for 2022. One that’s set in stone is that we will be at Elephant Camp at Forsley Park in Northamptonshire from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 July 2022, running a pop-up restaurant for the weekend. That one will be a blast!