Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 revealed
Whose tripled-cooked chips have got them into the gastropub hall of fame? Roomy pants on, Let's tuck in because FOUR of Berkshire's foodie pubs made the grade.
This year’s competition for gastropub greatness has been hotter than a freshly fried, triple-cooked chip. After much scoffing, quaffing and deliberating the UK’s top foodies and pub pros have agreed on the best of the best – and FOUR of the royal county’s pubs feature in The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards.
Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, The Top 50 Gastropub shortlist really matters in the foodie pub world, as it celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub. The top spot was taken by The Harwood Arms in Fulham, but Berkshire’s fab four are The Crown, Burchetts Green; The Beehive, White Waltham; The Oxford Blue, Old Windsor; and The Royal Oak Paley Street. They all take advantage of local, seasonal ingredients, offering outstanding plates of food in a relaxed, rural setting.
Sadly, The Blackbird at Bagnor, run by chef Dom Robinson, missed out this year, but he has a Michelin star to console himself.
Have you tried them yet? Let men know your thoughts
Crown Burchetts Green, Maidenhead (No.18)
The Crown Burchetts Green is on a roll. Believe the hype! The Crown at Burchetts Green debuted in the Top 50 in 2016 and went on to be awarded a Michelin star and most recently Michelin’s Special Service Award. It’s a foodie destination pub that’s gone from strength to strength and is now ranked 18 on the list, Simon Bonwick’s French bourgeoisie cooking is certainly getting the attention of foodie pilgrims. While the small bar is filled with local drinkers, the two relaxed dining rooms is where the magic happens – showcasing seasonal dishes made with top-notch UK and French ingredients. Having previously worked at Albert Roux’s Waterside Inn in Bray and Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers, the service is outstanding. Despite all well-deserved fuss about Simon’s food, The Crown maintains its status as a pub – with a resident ghost. The bar area is haunted by a small bearded man with a pony, who also enjoys pottering about in the gastropub’s cellars…
The Beehive, White Waltham (No.25)
Chef Dom Chapman’s pub has slipped out of the top 10 for the first time in three years. Boooooo. That’s not to take anything away from The Beehive, it’s a brilliant place to eat. Nestled in the village of White Waltham, it is still very much a pub whereas much love has been lavished on the booze offering as the food. The kitchen sources locally, but it also aims to represent the UK’s larder. This means ingredients from the country’s uplands and pastures, its meadows, woods, hedgerows, rivers, and seas. Having worked at The Royal Oak Paley Street and Heston’s The Fat Duck and The Hind’s Head, Dom is passionate about creating beautiful food in a real English pub.
The Oxford Blue, Old Windsor (No.36)
The only pub to go up in this year’s rankings, The Oxford Blue in Old Windsor, has climbed 12 places to snag the 36th spot. Congratulations to Chef-proprietor Stephen Ellis (protégé of Gordon Ramsay) and his cracking team. I have loved The Oxford Blue since it opened in 2017. Stephen lurrrrrves game (handy with Windsor Great Park on the doorstep) and that’s reflected in the menu of fancy British fare. His wife Ami makes a mean pud and you always get a warm welcome. If you’ve not eaten here, book up. You’ll love it.
The Royal Oak Paley Street, Maidenhead (No.46)
We’re still weeping into our posh gravy at the news Nick Parkinson is selling The Royal Oak at Paley Street. But whoever takes on this iconic destination pub has a lot to live up to, as it continues to sit pretty in the Top 50, at No.48. Located in leafy Littlefield Green near Maidenhead, is famously known as ‘Parky’s pub’. But it’s now stepped out from this showbiz shadow and is a foodie destination run by Sir Michael’s son Nick. So what makes it special? Well, punters love it for its unpretentious menu with old favourites cooked to perfection whether it be a classic steak or roast lamb. There’s a real emphasis on using seasonal, local ingredients wherever possible. Don’t expect anyone to roll out the red carpet, it’s a place to relax and enjoy great food in good company.
Break for the borders and the good news continues…
The Coach, Marlow– no.2 (down 3)
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow – no.14 (up 2)
The Wild Rabbit, Chipping Norton – no.44 (down 6)
The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon – no.36 (down 4)
See the full list of Top 50 Gastropubs here