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Top 50 Gastropubs 2022 revealed

The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs have been revealed – and Berkshire’s triple cooked chips stacked up very nicely with FOUR foodie pubs shortlisted.

the-unruly-pig
Top of the pubs: The Unruly Pig, Suffolk

We can sniff out the finest triple cooked chips in the land… and so can The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, who gathered in Manchester this week to celebrate the best in show.

Voted by pub industry pros, the list now features the top 100 instead of the usual 50. That said, there is serious foodie cred to be named in the top spots – and after 20 months of Coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, merely surviving is something to celebrate.

unruly-pig-food
Art meets food at The Unruly Pig

The top spot was snagged by The Unruly Pig in Suffolk – described as winsome, warm and witty – it’s one to pop on your must-try list the next time you travel east. Berkshire’s best? Chef Dom Chapman’s The Beehive in White Waltham is ranked highest in 11th place (just a smidge below Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers at 10).

Loch and Tyne private dining room
Highest new comer: Loch & Tyne Old Windsor

New kid on the foodie block, The Loch & Tyne in Old Windsor has gone straight onto the list at 27 –the highest new entry in the awards history. Huge congrats to Adam Handling and the Loch & Tyne’s co chef proprietors Steven and Jonny who only opened their doors in May last year.

Muddy Award-winning destination pub The Hind’s Head in Bray returns to the list after a four years in the wilderness and the much loved Miller at Mansfield in Goring and Streatley made its debut only to announce this week that they are closing after an eye-watering 90% rent increase. This Saturday will be Nick and Mary’s last day of service so book in while you can.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starving, So let’s take a look at Berkshire’s fantastic five (three firmly in the Royal county and two considered Berkshire by the judges but are two on the border). We’ll race you to the table…

The Beehive, White Waltham (No. 11)

FIsh and Chips The Beehive White Waltham
Image: The Beehive White Waltham

What they say: The Beehive is a true labour of love, with its elegant three-course dinners. It is a gastropub equally ideal for a long, sun-drenched afternoon lounge in the garden as it is for a cosy, boozy winter night nestled in its traditional bar.

What we say: Chef Dom Chapman’s pub is a Top 50 Gastropub regular – and for good reason. Nestled in the village of White Waltham, opposite the cricket ground, the pub sources local ingredients, but 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. 

Try this: Peppered Haunch of Wild Venison, Creamed Spinach, Celeriac Puree & Sauce Poivrade £29.95

The Loch & Tyne, Old Windsor (No. 27)

Loch and Tynes dish SQ
Image: Instagram/ Loch & Tyne

What they say: Adam Handling is a foodie force who has extended his brilliance into the pub world, opening the Loch & the Tyne not too long ago. The venue is a pub and restaurant with rooms, headed by co-chef proprietors Steven and Jonny. Diners are presented with a good selection of menus, including lunch, tasting and a la carte.

What we say: Another jewel in Berkshire’s foodie crown, Adam Handling expanded outside London to open Loch & Tyne (formerly known as The Oxford Blue). The gastropub has a no waste ethos, with everything sourced locally or, ideally, grown in the raised beds at the back of the building. The food and service all wow.

Try this: Chicken skin sprinkled on butter and slathered on sourdough? It’s legendary and a taste sensation. We’re also fans of the classic Beef & lardo burger, Ogleshield cheese, garlic & thyme chips

The Hind’s Head, Bray (No. 44)

The Hind's head pea soup and scotch egg

What they say: Heston Blumenthal’s The Hind’s Head at Bray, is a one Michelin-starred gastropub that has, obviously under various ownership, welcomed guests since the 15th century. Menus change seasonally, reflecting traditional British cooking as well as the chefs’ mindset to reinvigorate classic British dishes.

What we say: A Muddy Award winner two years on the trot and for good reason. Heston Blumenthal is the creative chief but it’s Chef Peter Gray banging out the most amazing cookery here. Expect a menu of elevated classics that’s as comforting as Heston tucking you in at bedtime. The service is top notch, the atmosphere is relaxed and you can work your way through The Fat Duck’s cellar. Heaven.

Try this: The signature pea and ham soup and Scotch egg with mustard mayo never fail to put a smile on your face.

The Bailiwick Free House, Wick (No. 49)

The Baliwick Freehouse

What they say: Nestled on the gates of the Windsor Great Park is the Bailiwick Free House, where diners will find some of the best food they’ve ever eaten. Chef Steven Ellis takes advantage of the larder of game surrounding the pub in his cooking, which makes perfect sense. 

What we say: The Top 50 Gastropub judges say Berkshire, but arguably it’s just over the border in Surrey. Chef Steven Ellis and his wife Ami (formerly Oxford Blue and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay) have created a wonderfully informal and relaxed vibe at The Bailiwick keeping true to the pub’s Victorian history, whilst injecting a little gentlemen’s club glamour. Passionate about game and the provenance of ingredients, the food miles are low and the quality is high.

Try this: Windsor Great Park Roe deer with braised leg croquette, mushrooms, peas, asparagus and wild garlic

The Miller of Mansfield, Reading (No. 52)

MILLER AT MANSFIELD DISH

What they say: The Miller of Mansfield in Goring, Reading, is a true gem of a pub featuring some standout nosh and drinks. Led by Mary and Nick, who arrived at the pub in 2014, the duo have instilled their love of French hospitality throughout the 18th century venue which is brimming with character, open fireplaces and cosy corners to idle the time away in.

What they say: It’s not just a local boozer, there’s a boutique feel. The service is en pointe, and both the pub and restaurant area are upscaled with sleek furnishings, quirky design elements (such as rustic Wessex Mill flour bags placed here and there) and bold pops of colour. This is the kind of plush hideaway you can wear your skinny jeans and heels to on a Friday night.

Try this: Dry Aged beef, supercharged with a hint of salted crust with garden peas and beans fricassee and green herb sauce.

Fancy nipping over the border? Better make a reservation at one of these beauties…

BUCKS

The Hand & Flowers, Marlow (No. 10) 

The Coach, Marlow (No. 13) 

The Greyhound at Beaconsfield, honoured with the ‘One to Watch’ award in 2019 (54)

96/ The Mole & Chicken, Long Crendon (No. 96)

HANTS

The Greyhound on the Test, Stockbridge (No. 60)

The Thomas Lord, Petersfield (No. 78)

The Wellington Arms, Baughurst (No. 85)

OXON

The Nut Tree Inn, Murcott (No.58)

The Kingham Plough, Chipping Norton (No. 76)

The Magdalen Arms, Oxford (No. 79)

SURREY

The White Hart, Whitley (No. 84)

WILTS

The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon (No. 24)

The Castle Inn, Castle Coombe (No. 37)

The Potting Shed, Crudwell (No. 72)

The Bath Arms, Longleat (No. 90)

See the full list of Top 50 Gastropubs here

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