From West London to Mid Glamorgan, these pubs have all been hugely acclaimed for their food.
With the likes of The Good Pub Guide’s dining awards and Michelin’s Eating Out In Pubs Guide, it’s easy to discover where food takes centre stage, whether it’s chefs promoting local produce and dishes, growing their own veg or rearing animals onsite. We round up some of the UK’s most consistently acclaimed dining pubs.
Horse & Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire
Awarded Pub of the Year by the Good Pub Guide 2016, this Georgian inn (pictured above) also won Best County Dining Pub for Gloucestershire and is a 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand for good-value cooking. For 10 years, it’s been run for by brothers Will and Tom Greenstock, whose parents owned the award-winning Howard Arms in Warwickshire.
They use local producers, feature local real ales, have an on-site vegetable patch, and a nearby allotment. The daily-changing menu features dishes such as wild seatrout, Dexter beef, ale and mustard pie, and blackberry and stem-ginger steamed pudding; most mains under £15. Tom Greenstock called the award “the icing on the cake… the award every publican dreams of winning”.
Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan
Voted overall Dining Pub of the Year by the Good Pub Guide 2016 and AA Pub of the Year 2014-2015, the Bunch of Grapes by the Glamorganshire canal has been family-run for 30 years.
Head chef Sebastien Vanoni’s creations include pan-fried cockles with laver bread, potted white wine and onion-braised rabbit, and Blaengwawr lamb, plus creative vegetarian dishes such as tortigiliono of sautéed morel mushroom, Wye valley asparagus and wild garlic pesto; most mains under £16.
A highly-rated two-course Sunday lunch costs £13.20/three-courses £16.20. Desserts include Welsh cheeses, toasted bara-brith (fruit loaf) and blood-orange cheesecake. There’s an onsite deli, bar menu and beers from their own award-winning Otley Brewing Co.
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire
Rated by the Good Pub Guide 2016, the Wild Rabbit (above) also won Michelin’s 2015 Pub of the Year, for its “first-rate food… seasonal cooking which is British at heart and full of flavour.” Owned by Lady Bamford, founder of Daylesford Organic Farmshops, this countryside inn stays true to the Daylesford ethos of sustainable and organic. Since opening in 2013, head chef Adam Caisley has concocted dishes such as ceviché of scallop with lime mayonnaise and kohlrabi, roast guinea fowl and steaks from the Josper oven,; mains £16.50-£30. Desserts include artisan cheeses, dark chocolate ganache, and English strawberry sorbet with basil granita.
Burts Hotel, Melrose, Scotland
Hotel, pub and restaurant, this is the Good Pub Guide’s County dining pub of the year 2016 and consistently awarded two AA Rosettes. The Bistro Bar serves ham hock and pistachio-nut roulade, and twice-baked cheese soufflé, mains under £15 such as Highland venison casserole, and North Sea haddock plus steaks for £23.50.
Head chef Trevor Williams replicates some of this on the restaurant menu, plus dishes such as Gressingham duck and garlic and coriander-crusted monkfish, with mains £13.95-£25.50. Desserts include Scottish and Border cheeses and plum and blackberry brûlée, and a dedicated whisky menu features 90 single malts.
Woods, Dulverton, Somerset
Recommended by the Good Pub Guide 2016, Woods also won Wine Pub of the Year and is rated in Michelin’s 2015 Eating Out in Pubs. Owner Paddy Groves breeds his own Gloucester Old Spot Pork and free-range chickens at Northcombe Farm.
From head chef Ed Heard you can expect dishes such as Woods cheese Ploughman’s (£9.50), crisp confit duck leg (£16.50), grilled plaice with crushed potatoes (£14) and wild mushroom linguini with Parmesan, rocket salad and truffle oil (£11). Desserts include West Country and French cheeses, and lemon tart with blood orange posset (£6.50). There’s a bar menu and Sunday roasts with Exmoor Sirloin or Somerset Pork for £9.95.
Wykeham Arms, Winchester, Hampshire
Winner of the 2016 Good Pub Guide’s Town Pub of the Year and recommended by Michelin and Hardens, the Wykeham Arms (above) serves homely, creative dishes such as truffled goat’s cheese and honey or ham hock rillette on sourdough.
Mains include red pepper and chickpea falafel in a sourdough baguette (£8), the “Wyk” cottage pie (£10), seared halibut with compressed pineapple, langoustine, potatoes, kohlrabi and salted halibut mousse (£21), and Hampshire ribeye steak with mushroom, tomato, triple-cooked chips and béarnaise sauce (£22). The pub offers five ales on tap, 70 specially chosen wines, and a selection of sherries.
Hinds Head, Bray
Michelin-starred and Berkshire winner of the Good Pub Guide 2016’s County Dining Pub of the Year, the Hinds Head is a 15th-century pub headed up by chef Heston Blumenthal, whose work with Hampton Court Palace’s Tudor Kitchen has led to creations such as oxtail and kidney pudding with real suet pastry and hash of snails. Starters include roast scallops with black pudding and curried cauliflower (£14.95), beetroot and goat curd with cider-poached pear (£8.75) and mains of crab and cod lasagne (£22.50) and Hereford prime steak fillet (£35). For dessert, there’s Quaking pudding (£7.95) and peach tart with yogurt ice cream (£7.95).
Many opt for the set lunch/dinner (£47.50) or Sunday lunch from £20.75. There are children’s and bar menus, plus real ales, quality wines and inventive cocktails.
The Pheasant, Keyston, Cambridgeshire
Awarded Cambridgeshire’s County Dining Pub of the Year by the Good Pub Guide and a Michelin 2015 Bib Gourmand for good-value dining, the Pheasant is a thatched inn with open fires, oak beams and herb and patio gardens.
Run by Simon Cadge and his partner Gerda Koedijk since 2012, the daily menus include roast wood pigeon with pearl barley, Savoy cabbage and crab apple jelly (£7.95), pan-fried sea trout with gnocchi and crab chowder (£16.95) and Jimmy Butlers free-range pork sausages with mashed potato, capanata, sage and red wine sauce (£11.95). There are desserts such as Marmalade queen of puddings or Lutton farm strawberry trifle for £6.95. Set lunch/early dinner costs £14.95 for two courses or £19.95 for three courses, and there's a three-course Sunday lunch for £25.
Hand and Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Opened in March 2005 by chef Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth, the Hand And Flowers (above) became the first pub to receive two stars in the Michelin Guide and also holds four AA rosettes.
Food is modern British-meets-rustic French with starters of crispy pig’s head with rhubarb, pancetta and chickweed (£11.50) and potato “risotto” with baked potato stock, cavolo nero and girolles (£14.50), and mains of Essex lamb “bun” with sweetbreads and salsa verde (£27) and Stokes Marsh Farm beef fillet (£38.50). Creative desserts, all at £9.50, include milk toffee tart with "old English spice" and roasted grapefruit sorbet, and chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream.
Princess Victoria, West London
London Pub of the Year by Good Pub Guide 2016 and an Inspector’s Favourite in Michelin’s 2015 Eating Out In Pubs guide, this grand corner pub in Shepherd's Bush, once a Victorian gin palace and tram stop, dates back to 1829.
Head chef Matt Reuther’s contemporary menu includes truffle mac ‘n’ cheese (£14.50), pan-fried hake (£16.50) and 28-day aged Sirloin (£26.50). Almost everything is made from scratch, including sausages and pies, and kitchen staff home-smoke and cure fresh fish and meat. Honouring its former gin palace status, they also serve over 40 gin-inspired cocktails.
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