THERE is a poem by W H Davies entitled Leisure.

You might have heard of it and to jog your memory here is the opening and the ending of the poem.

“What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows..........A poor life this if, full of care,We have no time to stand and stare.”

Everyday thousands of motorists travel along the A38 between Wellington and Taunton and see The Blackbird Inn.

It is a landmark building on the road, and yet to create a new line in the poem, How many of you have stop to stare and taken time to go in?

I have driven past many times but had never gone in, then I did and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, who I met and what I saw.

The new head chef is definitely a local boy, Johnathan Shorney, he grew up with his family in Wellington but is now from Taunton, where he lives with his own family.

The 34-year-old, started our working at a two rosette restaurant in Langport, he has worked at the Merry Harriers which won Pub Guide Awards and also at the Sidmouth Arms in Honiton for five years.

He has been at the Blackbird Inn since December 22, 2018, and he has relished the challenge of creating a new menu for the pub.

As a chef he wants to use all the best ingredients from Somerset and wants to make sure all this seasonal variety and rich flavours are incorporated into each of the dishes he freshly prepares.

He wants to give customers the WOW Factor through the food, he wants them to enjoy a welcoming atmosphere when they come into the pub and come back again and again to enjoy the country pub.

Johnathan said: “What I want to do is use honest ingredients to produce tasty food.

“But what I want to do is give people something hale and hearty. I want them to enjoy the beef Ragu lasagne, I want then to tuck into a Steak and Ale pie with short crust and containing Ottery Beer.

“I want to surprise people with the quality so they get a WOW factor and a high class dining experience.

“They can either go into the restaurant area or enjoy their food in the bar area.

“I want to help create an eating experience which is not the ordinary.

“I hope people come and visit us and then want to come back.

“I used to work in IT but have always enjoyed cooking. So when I decided to become a chef it was the job for me.

“I enjoy being creative and creating what I want on the menu.

“I enjoy giving people the satisfaction of having a good meal and chatting to the customers.

“It is nice when people give me compliments for the cooking but my challenge is to get people to come here.”

In order to bring in the customers, Johnathan has being working on a brand new menu.

The new menu will include:


- Homemade chicken liver pate with sour dough toast and onion chutney

- Smoked salmon with avocado and lemon salad

- soup of the day served with crusty bread and butter

- Charred goats cheese salad with pickled red onion, beetroot and candied walnuts

Main course:

- Beer battered fish and chip served with peas and homemade tartare sauce

- Butternut squash and pea risotto with crispy sage

- Slow roast pork belly served with mash and seasonal vegetables.

- Homemade beef and ale short crust pastry pie served with chips or mash and peas

- Homemade curry served with poppadoms, rice and homemade lime pickle:chicken or prawn or vegetable and lentil

- Butchers sausages and wholegrain mustard mash, served with caramelised onion gravy

- Warming butter bean, sweet potato and beetroot stew with crusty bread

- Slow cooked beef ragu lasagne with side salad and garlic bread

- Ploughmans lunch of ham/Somerset cheddar, homemade coleslaw, crusty bread and butter and side salad.

- Lamb Shoulder slow roasted with mint peso, served with creamy mash and seasonal vegetables.

- A selection of different burgers served in a soft brioche bun, sliced tomato, lettuce and gherkin and skinny fries and onion rings

- Steak from the chargrill including 8oz Sirloin, 8oz Rump, 8oz Ribeye and 10oz Gammon Steak served with onion rings, mushrooms, grilled tomato and chips.

There is also a ‘Specials of the Day’ board. Allergen information is available upon request.

Johnathan added: “Don’t drive past as we have got long term plans.

“Come and try it and even hear the chef sing.

“Come and see what we are all about and enjoy some food and drink.

“I hope people come along and enjoy nice good quality food.”

If you are looking for something new at a familiar landmark then it might be time to visit The Blackbird Inn.

You will find The Blackbird Inn, Taunton Road, Wellington, TA21 9HX.

Tel: 01823 461273.