Top 50 gastropubs 2020
There's only one question on our lips this week and it's whose roasted loins and perky pavlovas have got them into the gastropub hall of fame.
This year’s fierce competition for gourmet greatness has been hotter than a hot salmon parfait, but after lengthy scoffing and quaffing the much anticipated Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 is here.
The top spot this year was taken by The Harwood Arms in Fulham, but it’s a huge round of glass-clinking applause for ONE (slash two!) Gloucestershire gastro gems – The Bell in Langford, comes in at no.42, and we think it only fair to include the The Wild Rabbit in Kingham at no.47, being just the tiniest of tippy toes over the border of course!
So what are you waiting for? Tuck in and enjoy.
The Bell, Langford, Gloucestershire
The official line: Cotswold gents born and bred, Peter Creed and Tom Noest brought the Bell back to life in 2017, imbuing the pub with a warm welcome and hearty, classic dishes. Critics, including Giles Coren, Tom Parker Bowles and Marina O’Loghlin have lauded the pub, with Coren saying: ‘Best mouthful of the year? Best mouthful of my life more like.’
We say: The Bell Inn is a non-fussy, Farrow & Ball hued delight. We love the cosy nooks next to its roaring open fireplaces, perfect for whiling away a few hours. The pub grub is stylish but classic and their menu is always seasonal. Expect a modern country pub feel, plus the gorgeous location makes it a picture perfect base for touring around The Cotswolds.
Go for: Feast menu (designed to share) – Islington Saucisson & Pickles followed by Fish & Shellfish Stew with New Potatoes and Aioli for 2 (£25 per head).
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Ox/Glos border
The official line: This elegant Kingham inn, near Chipping Norton, is owned by Lady Bamford, who is also behind the Daylesford organic café, deli, cookery school and spa complex near the pub (no not literally, can you imagine Lady B whipping up your kale smoothie?). The restaurant combines the traditional British country-dining scene with more modern, urban touches.
We say: Hands down Cotswold chic at it’s finest. Expect Hugo Guinness block prints on the walls, tea lights flickering on farmhouse tables and a beautifully understated interior. Set in the idyllic honey stoned lanes of Kingham (a stone’s throw from the Kingham Plough and gorgeous villages of Gloucestershire) it is one stylish ‘pub with rooms’. Don’t leave without trying the organic wine menu, featuring bottles from The Wild Rabbit cellar plus sister estate Château Léoube.
Go for: Daylesford Market Garden Salad with Creamed Curd and Sourdough Croutons (£13) followed by The Wild Rabbit Rhubarb Tartlet (£9)
Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol
The official line: Is there such a thing as the perfect country pub? If there is, then it’s likely to be the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, Bristol. Taking inspiration from the local area, the Eggletons (brother and sister duo Josh and Holly) grow a lot of ingredients in their garden and pride themselves on continuously learning and evolving with the rapidly changing sector. Keeping with the country theme, when describing the pub in three words Josh says: “Local, homely and fun.”
We say: Using local growers for the lovely, seasonal menu this country pub delivers first rate food that is served up by passionate people. It’s popularity has become rock solid since opening back in 2006. And oh the views!
Go for: Pan Fried Cod with Chicken Pie Sauce (£20)
The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire
The official line: A beautiful country pub that is The Longs Arms in South Wraxall serves cask ale and fresh, seasonal food in a relaxed environment with warm and friendly service, it is a real find. Meat is sourced from Aubrey Allen – an ethical, welfare friendly, traceable and fair trade supplier with a Royal Warrant – and Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs sponsor.
We say: Modern British food and cask ales all served up in a country inn with bare beams, old prints and a lovely walled garden. This place oozes charm and doesn’t do ‘fancy’, instead come for the relaxed local atmosphere, open fires, Bib Gourmand rating and mostly, Marley the resident pub dog.
Go for: Duck Breast, Quackling (we love that), Confit Potatoes and caramelised walnuts (gf) (£24)
For the full rundown of all this year’s winners – including a whopping 9 in the West Country and 4 in neighbouring Berks click here.