The Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide recommends pubs and inns from all over Great Britain and Ireland. Some of the pubs are hugely characterful and have been providing sustenance for centuries; others sport smart modern looks and serve global menus.
Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide 2017, said: “The pubs in our guide could be in a city, by the sea, in a village or at the top of a mountain. But one thing they all have in common is that they have been chosen by our full-time team of anonymous inspectors for the high standard of their cooking.
“We are increasingly witnessing how pubs can provide a platform for young chefs to start their own businesses, and how inventive these chefs can be, particularly when it comes to the sourcing of their ingredients. The quality of cooking in some of these pubs certainly rivals that of restaurants.”
Michelin star pubs
In this year’s guide, two pubs have been awarded a Michelin Star. These are The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, with Tim Allen in the kitchen, and the Crown at Burchetts Green, run by Simon Bonwick and his family. Burr said: “The Bonwicks put their heart and soul into running the Crown, and that passion really shines through on the plate.”
Talented chefs are also showing their resourcefulness in keeping costs down, and this year eight pubs have been newly awarded the Bib Gourmand for good value, good quality cooking. One of these – The Marksman in Bethnal Green – is also the recipient of the 2017 Michelin Pub of the Year award. Burr added: “One of the things that we like about the Marksman is that it’s a proper pub first and foremost. As such, it’s a relaxed, traditional place to come for a pint of local ale – as well as offering gutsy British dishes made from top-notch produce.”
Bunch Of Grapes, Bradford-On-Avon :
The Bunch of Grapes is an apt name for this collaboration between five friends, who have all spent time living in the South West of France and love nothing better than to eat good food and drink good wine. Rustic cooking relies largely on the wood-fi red Bertha oven, which uses oak and apple wood to add smoky flavours. There are aperitif plates for sharing, tartines and pissaladières, and generous main courses like wood pigeon cassoulet and duck à l’orange. Wines are imported directly from French vineyards and the concise list champions Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon. The friendly team welcome you as much for coffee and cake or a cocktail as they do for a 3 course dinner, and the whole place has an appealingly bijou, brocante feel.
Marksman, London - Tower Hamlets
Pub of the Year 2017
With its quirky, brown-tiled façade, the Marksman has long been a local landmark. Inside, it’s a place of two halves: the wood-panelled bar retains the cosy, unaffected feel of a traditional boozer, while the first floor dining room is far more modern. There’s a roof terrace for alfresco dining and the friendly atmosphere really adds to the pub’s appeal. Owners Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram are St John alumni and their considerable experience is evident in the food. The simply cooked, seasonal dishes are wonderfully fresh, perfectly balanced and full of flavour – we’re talking proper British cooking with the likes of devilled mussels on toast, skate with shrimps and turnip tops, or pheasant and trotter pie for two.
Pint Shop, Cambridge
‘MEAT. BEER. BREAD.’ is written on the window – and that pretty much sums this place up. Set in the city centre, it’s styled on an old Beer House, the likes of which gave birth to the modern day pub. Turn left and you’ll find yourself in a retro bar where warm sausage rolls sit on the counter and a large blackboard on the wall details their 10 keg and 6 cask beers (there are also over 70 different gins on off er). If you’re after a meal, there’s an intimate ground floor area and an airy first floor room, both clad in pale grey wood and simply furnished. Cooking is fittingly gutsy and satisfying and the charcoal grill takes centre stage; choose from the likes of beer-brined chicken, beef and ale suet pudding or pork belly with cabbage and bacon.
Princess Victoria, Shepherd's Bush
London has a wealth of fi ne Victorian gin palaces but few are as grand as the Princess Victoria. From the friezes to the etched glass, the portraits to the parquet floor, the last restoration created a terrific pub. Mind you, that’s not all that impresses: there’s a superb, wide-ranging wine list, with carafes and glasses providing flexibility; enticing bar snacks ranging from quail eggs to salt cod croquettes; a great menu that could include roasted skate wing or homemade pork and herb sausages; and, most importantly, cooking that’s executed with no little skill. Those with proclivities for all things porcine will find much to savour – charcuterie is a passion here and the board may well include pig’s cheeks and rillettes.
Queen's Arms, Corton Denham
The events at this hub-of-the-village pub include everything from a game and wine evening and a winter fi lm night to a brewing course hosted by the local brewery. Sit beside a roaring fi re at one of the hotchpotch of tables – the glass-topped cartwheel is a favourite – and keep an eye out for ‘Bertie the Bull’, who appeared in Carry On Cowboy! The menu lists food ‘metres’ rather than food ‘miles’ and much of the produce is from their nearby smallholding; choose from small plates, pub classics and some more elaborate dishes like venison saddle with faggots and pickled walnuts. The bar is topped with tempting treats, the apple juice list is worth a look and they also do a roaring trade in afternoon tea. Plush bedrooms complete the picture.
Red Lion, Cricklade
Just off the Thames path, you’ll find this traditional 17C inn. With a cosy, low-beamed interior crammed full of bric-a-brac, it looks like a proper pub; and pleasingly, it adopts a good old English attitude too. The bar serves 10 different ales – some of which are brewed in-house – as well as 30 speciality bottled beers, which can be sampled while tucking into a pub classic, dog at your feet. Next door is a small but airy stone-walled dining room with a beautiful carved slab. Here you’ll find slightly more refined classics such as oysters, venison stew and treacle tart. Produce is fresh and extremely local – and if you’re down a pound or two, they’ll accept some home-grown fruit or veg as payment. Comfy, modern bedrooms are in the old stables.
Thomas Cubitt, Victoria
Thomas Cubitt was the master builder behind Eaton and Belgrave Squares so it’s appropriate that the pub bearing his name is an unquestionably handsome establishment. Regency and Georgian styles have been combined to good effect, especially in the discreet and surprisingly genteel upstairs dining room, where you’ll find an impeccably behaved clientele enjoying a sophisticated menu of quite elaborate constructions that are British at their core. The ground floor, where bookings aren’t taken, is more relaxed, more fun and distinctly louder, although on sunny days when the French windows are thrown open, it’s hard to get a table. The menu here is more accessible, both in content and price, although some dishes are served on both floors.
The Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide 2017 is published today, priced at £14.99 (€15.99 in Ireland). It can be purchased from bookshops and at http://travel.michelin.co.uk
Every entry in the guide features colour photographs and an in-depth description, as well as prices, directions, regional maps and indexes by both pub and town name. Pubs with accommodation are highlighted, as are those offering something extra special – known as Inspectors’ Favourites.
The full list of pubs in the guide, along with a cover image and a picture of the Pub of the Year can be downloaded at: www.travelguide.michelin.com
Follow the inspectors around the country via Twitter @MichelinGuideUK