Spanish restaurant Forn opens in Exeter

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Forn owners Simon and Gemma Livingston (centre)
Forn owners Simon and Gemma Livingston (centre)

Related tags Tomato sauce Tapas Tomato

Independent tapas restaurant and bar Forn has opened its doors in Exeter.

Offering a menu of small plates as well as Sunday brunch, the Marchy Arches Street, 70-cover venue aims to bring a taste of the Balearics to Devon.

Owners Gemma and Simon Livingston drew inspiration from Mallorca, where Gemma grew up.

The menu includes tapas classics such as tortilla and croquetas, but also meat and fish dishes such as Albóndigas​ (meatballs in a tomato sauce); Calamar Frito​ (crispy squid and tentacles); Calamar Relleno ​(stuffed squid with sweet onion sauce); or Porc Moruno​ (morsels of spicy marinated pork loin with Parmentier potato).

The Sunday brunch menu ranges from Revuelto de Setas​(mushrooms and scrambled eggs) to Esparragos & Jamon “Soldiers”​(jamon Serrano-wrapped asparagus spears with boiled eggs), and Peruvian classic ceviche.

Weekly-changing menu

All dishes are designed to be shared, and the menu changes almost every week. “We want to keep it fresh and encourage customers to visit frequently and so need to keep adding dishes to ensure at each visit customers can chose a dish that they did not try the last time,” Gemma told BigHospitality.

Spanish and Portuguese wines, as well as sherries and ports, take centre stage on the drinks menu.

“We are also very popular for cocktails – we have taken some classic ones and added a 'Spanish twist' to some - for example we do a Bloody Margarita (like a Bloody Mary but with tequila and oregano), a Burro Russo​ (translated as a Russian donkey – effectively a Moscow mule) and another popular one is the Agua de Valencia (a typical cocktail drunk at gatherings across Spain),” she added.


The couple received a £240,000 loan from Lloyds Bank to buy the premises, with a 1 per cent discount as part of the government-backed Funding for Lending scheme, and a £120,000 grant from the Regional Growth Fund.

Martin Potts, relationship manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The restaurant and bar has helped the local economy by creating employment opportunities [10 jobs] and it is down to Forn’s team of new staff, and Gemma and Simon’s hard work, that the business is already attracting a more than healthy custom in Exeter. The Regional Growth Fund support was perfect for this venture.”

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