There are few things more typically British than a good pub and when the sun’s out, we Brits tend to flock to our local and take up residence in the beer garden. Pubs are increasingly serving great quality food, so much so that around 15 pubs in the UK have been awarded a Michelin star. Sara Zavagno takes a look at ten Michelin star pubs where you can enjoy top quality food in down-to-earth surroundings.
Michelin Star Pubs - Yorkshire & Humberside
The Black Swan at Oldstead, North Yorkshire
Surrounded by glorious National Park countryside, The Black Swan was rated as one of the top five best value restaurants in Britain by The Sunday Times Food List. Adam Jackson’s dishes are innovative yet unpretentious and draw heavily on Yorkshire produce. As well as the a la carte and set menus, Jackson offers a seven course tasting menu for £70 (£65 for vegetarians) and daily changing ‘specials’. The dining area is full of character with antique furniture and oak floors and food can also be eaten at the bar or on the tables outside where you can fully appreciate the magnificent Yorkshire landscape with a pint of local ale.
The Pipe and Glass Inn, Beverley, East Yorkshire
James and Kate Mackenzie’s quaint country pub dates back to the 15th century and boasts East Yorkshire’s first and only Michelin star. The portions are generous, the produce sourced locally and the menu changed regularly to reflect the season. The Pipe and Glass Inn seeks to cater for everyone with separate vegetarian and children’s menus and a takeaway option for those that are hosting a dinner party or simply want to eat from the comfort of their own homes. James’ food is unpretentious and unashamedly British, featuring classics such as Bubble and Squeak and Potted Pork. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with gorgeous bespoke wooden tables and outside dining facilities.
Michelin Star Pubs - Wales
The Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
This rural Welsh pub has an illustrious history; from 1963 to 2001 it was successfully run by ground-breaking chef Franco Taruschio. After experiencing some hard times, Great British Chef Shaun Hill took it over in 2008 and has restored it to its former glory with his own distinctive style of cooking. Hill’s food is classic yet full of eclectic influences and his menus changes daily. He steers clear of overly elaborate dishes and the dining area reflects this minimalism with clean white walls and simple wooden tables. Hill’s lack of pomposity is also evident in the lack of service charge and the website which ‘will not offend visitors with smarmy overstatements of what’s on offer’! Clearly The Walnut Tree Inn’s reputation speaks for itself, as well as its Michelin star, it was voted 17th in the National Restaurant Awards list of the best 100 restaurants in the UK.
Michelin Star Pubs - West Midlands
The Stagg Inn, Titley, Herefordshire
Steve Reynolds’ part-medieval, part-Victorian inn was the first pub to be awarded a Michelin star back in 2001 and has gone from strength to strength. The team grow their own fruit, veg and herbs, keep their own hens as well as making sausage, faggots, chorizo and salami. The menus are brief, full of local produce and change every two months with separate vegetarian and kids’ versions and a three course Sunday lunch for £20.50. Cheese lovers should definitely pay a visit- The Stagg Inn won the Best British Cheese Board award in 2003 and have around 20 cheeses to choose from.
Michelin Star Pubs - South East
Tonka Bean Panna Cotta and Poached Strawberries - Tom Kerridge
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Tom and Beth Kerridge’s pub in the charming Georgian town of Marlow earned a Michelin star within less than a year of opening in March 2005 and holds the prestigious accolade of being the first and only pub to have been awarded two stars in 2012. Tom Kerridge takes traditional British classics and adds French twists in preparation and presentation that elevate these dishes to Michelin standard food. The rustic décor juxtaposes stunning restored furniture with fine tableware while the service is friendly and unpretentious. The three course set lunch is an extremely reasonable £19.50 and is available every day except Sunday. The fact that the next availability for a table at the weekend is December 2013 should tell you everything you need to know!
Chocolate Tart - Dominic Chapman
The Royal Oak Paley Street, Bray, Berkshire
Owned by Sir Michael Parkinson and run by Great British Chef Dominic Chapman, former chef de partie at The Fat Duck and head chef at Blumenthal’s nearby pub The Hinds Head, The Royal Oak is yet another reason for foodies to flock to Bray. The menu takes on classic dishes like scotch eggs and cherry trifle and reinvents them with flair, which is unsurprising given that Chapman has worked under Blumenthal. The décor is traditional and cosy with lots of paintings, brickwork and attractive wooden beams. Even if you don’t get a glimpse of Parky himself you’re guaranteed a great meal.
The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London
As the only Michelin star pub in the capital, The Harwood Arms is ‘where the country comes to town’. This relaxed, down-to-earth pub is a collectively owned by Brett Graham of The Ledbury, Mike Robinson of the acclaimed Berkshire pub Pot Kiln and Edwin Vaux from the Vaux brewery. The Harwood Arms prides itself on game and wild food with Robinson shooting all the venison himself on Berkshire estates. The menus are proudly British with an emphasis on seasonality while the bar is stocked with the finest British ales and bitters. Quiz lovers should note that Tuesdays are quiz night!
Michelin Star Pubs - South West
The Butchers Arms, Eldersfield, Gloucestershire
This rural 16th century pub is run exclusively by husband and wife duo James and Elizabeth Winter - he cooks, she runs the front of house. The Michelin starred menu is short, sweet and seasonal, the ingredients sourced from trusted local suppliers and everything from the bread to the ice cream is homemade by James himself. Be sure to book in advance as the place only accommodates 25 diners, which is unsurprising given that the Winters are a two-man band!
The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset
Run by brother and sister team Josh and Holly Eggleton, who took over this two-century-old pub in 2006, The Pony & Trap has earned its reputation as one of Somerset’s culinary destinations. A frequent contributor to Great British Chefs, Josh Eggleton cut his teeth as one of Gordon Ramsay’s protégés and earned his first Michelin star for The Pony & Trap at the tender age of 27. The menus champion local produce sourced from trusted suppliers and seasonal ingredients, changing daily but maintaining Eggleton’s emphasis on simplicity. The lunch menu features a collection of true Pub Classics such as Ploughman’s, Ham, Eggs and Chips Piccalilli and Fish and Chips. The décor is understated with light, spacious dining areas overlooking the picturesque countryside.
The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon
Great British Chef Mark Dodson runs this lovely 13th Century inn while his wife Sarah deals with the front of house. Dodson was head chef at Michel Roux’s three Michelin star Waterside Inn for twelve years, making him the perfect chef to take on British and French classics and give them a modern twist. After moving to Devon in 2005, the Dodsons managed to win a Michelin star for The Masons Arms in just six months and it was named Michelin Pub of the Year in 2010. This village local boasts excellent food, real ale and stunning views over the rolling hills towards Exmoor.
Also in the region:
Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor, Oxfordshire
The Nut Tree, Murcott, Oxfordshire
The Sportsman, Whitstable, Kent
The Black Rat, Winchester, Hampshire
The Hinds Head, Bray, Berkshire
The Red Lion Free House, Wiltshire