Top 50 gastropubs 2021 revealed!
What better week for the reveal of the country's best gastropubs than the start of lockdown easing? See who's made it in and where you should setting your satnav for. We'll race you to the table.
With the timing perfection of an expertly cooked fillet steak, along comes the list of the country’s finest gastropubs just when we’re itching to get some pub lunches, dinners and drinkies in the diary.
Oh, gastropubs, how we’ve missed you. We’re salivating over the thought of that pan-fried trout/crispy pork belly/stick toffee pudding, washed down with some fabulous vintage from the perfectly selected wine list.
And those generous guys and gals at Estrella Damm have this year decided to name 100 pubs instead of the usual 50.
Read on for what’s near you, we’ll race you to the table …
No. 94 The Bell at Langford, Near Burford, Glos.
What the Bell does best is simple, hearty food in a modern country pub setting – perfection for any lazy Sunday afternoon we reckon. Run by Peter Creed and Tom Noest, focussing on good pub grub with a straightforward wine list, spirits and beer selection.
There is a cosy bar area with lots of seating to have a quiet drink, a separate restaurant with open fire and a view of the pizza oven, also a large beer garden overlooking the open countryside. It’s one of Muddy’s fave pubs, with its seasonal menu ever-changing and sourced from local game dealers, farmers, butchers and fishmongers.
And just a hop and a skip across our borders you can be at these wondrous eateries within the hour.
No. 51 The Kensington Arms, Redland, Bristol
Head chefs Oscar Davies and Josh Eggleton are always working hard to update and adapt their menu with seasonal dishes, locally sourced from South-West suppliers.
One firm favourite on the menu is a crispy lamb belly dish, served with pickled peppers, gem lettuce, broad bean and chilli pesto.
Diners can also opt for a monkfish curry, served with pilaf, salsa, yoghurt Roasted cauliflower, rarebit, baby leeks, roasted cauliflower puree and a green herb dressing.
No.34 The Wild Rabbit, Chipping Norton
What they say: Hopping seven places in the 2021 list, 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 serving your flat white?). The restaurant combines the traditional British country-dining scene with more modern, urban touches. The Wild Rabbit has 12 rooms located in the main building and four dog-friendly garden rooms.
What we say: You can tell that the Daylesford touch is all over this restaurant-with-rooms – The Wild Rabbit is cosy Cotswold chic at its finest with nooks of seating around huge log fires and stylish pared back interiors. There’s also private dining in ‘The Chicken Shed’ for up to 20 but you can expect more than a handful of corn. Local ingredients feature highly in summer the terrace has a BBQ/grill menu. Outdoor dining from 12 Apr – 17 May, walk in only.
Try this: Cornish Pollock, salt baked carrots, salted pollock fish cake, sea herbs, shellfish sauce £28.50
The Kingham Plough (No. 68)
You’re spoilt for choice in Kingham with The Plough and The Wild Rabbit… we feel a foodie break coming on. This pub-with-rooms offers innovative modern British dishes with Mediterranean influences from head chef, Jonny Pons. Dishes on the sample menu include Cornish Moules Mariniere and fries, as well as roasted butternut squash risotto, chestnuts, pearl onion and parmesan.
The Magdalen Arms, Oxford (No. 72)
This corner of Iffley is becoming a bit of a foodie paradise with this quirky pub at its centre. Alongside hosting flea markets the pub serves cracking seasonal dishes with a twist such as slow cooked lamb shoulder, dauphinoise gratin and pickled red cabbage.
And over in Wilts …
No. 24 The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon
No. 91 The Potting Shed, Crudwell