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Top 100 gastropubs 2022 revealed!

… and one stellar Herts' hotspot made the top 100. Find out which one, and read all about our shortlisted faves from our neighbouring counties... Ready to tuck in?

Hot off the presses! Estrella Damm has revealed its pick of the best gastropubs in the UK and a fab Herts hotspot has made the list. Only one, you say? Frankly we reckon we could have whitewashed it with our local gems across Herts & Beds, but hey, no grudges here! Congrats to all the awesome pubs on the shortlist, and now to reveal our local top of the pub pops…

In at number 91 in the UK is… drumroll please…

The Bricklayers Arms, Flaunden!

We couldn’t agree more that it deserves a coveted place in the top 100. This 18th century ‘proper’ pub is a hit with walkers looking for a cosy watering hole en route, as well as foodies sniffing out a killer Sunday Roast. With its Michelin-trained chef, rustic beams and fab wine list it’s covered all bases for a great gastropub. Check out the Muddy review here.

And we couldn’t write this without giving Dylans, The Kings Arms in St Albans a mention, too, for claiming a specialist Champions of Service award for Front of House Team of the Year. Well done guys – what a great achievement. Another one in the trophy cabinet for Herts!

And if you fancy nipping over the border for some gorgeous gastro grub, here’s the pick of the bunch, who made the top 100 from our bordering counties…

BUCKS AND OXON

The Hand and Flowers, Marlow (No.10)

Dishes at Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers are a delight, with local provenance and originality high on the agenda. But the interiors are still unpretentious and there’s a relaxed vibe. Ideal for a special occasion especially the private dining room for up to nine (with mains at the £50 mark, this is definitely somewhere for a treat).

Try this: Loin of Cotswold Venison with Salt Baked Celeriac, Haunch & Red Wine Croustade, Game Faggot, Blue Cheese and Celeriac & Truffle Purée. £68.50

The Coach, Marlow (No. 13)

Tom Kerridge’s second Marlow site, The Coach is a sleek, modern bistro-style pub that was awarded its own Michelin star in 2017, which it has held on to since. It maintains a flexible, accessible approach to drop-in dining though it does allow tables to be booked on the day for lunch or dinner. Phone lines open at 9am so trigger fingers at the ready! The vibe in this small 40 cover restaurant is buzzy, the room open-plan, and with mains from £9.50, that’s a Michelin steal.

Try this: Salt Cod Scotch Egg with Red Pepper Purée and Ibérico Chorizo. £16.50

The Greyhound, Beaconsfield (No.54)

Set in a 17th century former coaching inn in Old Beaconsfield (ie the pretty part), The Greyhound is a slick reimagining of what a local pub should and could be with an intent on quality across its menu that includes stilton Welsh rarebit crumpets, octopus terrine, Périgord truffle gnocchi and Banbury duck to name a few drool-worthy dishes. The gastropub was named ‘One to Watch’ in last year’s awards so it earns a well-deserved place on the guide – an award that can be displayed next to its 2021 Muddy Award!

The Nut Tree, Murcott (No. 58)

This pretty village pub has held its Michelin Star since 2008 thanks to a menu that balances British gastro pub classics with modern twists. Main courses on the pub’s sample menu include Blythburgh pork belly porchetta cauliflower, pear, Iberico chorizo.

The Kingham Plough (No. 76)

This pub-with-rooms offers innovative modern British dishes (lots of them woodfired) with Mediterranean influences from head chef, Jonny Pons. Dishes on the sample menu include woodfired giant tiger prawns, aged Hereford steak and woodfired aubergine with sun-dried pepper and kalamata

The Magdalen Arms, Iffley (No. 79)

Alongside hosting flea markets this pub serves cracking seasonal dishes with a twist that change daily, such as raclette and potato pie, roast Hake with puy lentil vinaigrette as well as sharing dishes for two such as pot roast pheasant, celeriac, chestnuts and smoked bacon.

The Mole & Chicken, Crendon (No. 96)

The food has had a shake-up under new chef Jan Hvizdos (ex Fat Duck group) at this cosy pub & restaurant with rooms that comes in as a newcomer this year. The menu includes pub favourites with finesse, stellar presentation and focus on seasonal, local produce inducing chicken liver parfait brulee, lemon crusted free range chicken breast and chargrilled cauliflower ‘steak’.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

The Plough, Coton, Cambridgeshire (No. 42)

They say: The leafy village of Coton is a stunning place to find yourself, only improved by the appearance of the Plough, which is owned by Pasquale Benedetto and his family. The kitchen is led by Carl Dempster who serves a menu of modern and seasonal dishes along with the classics many diners would expect to see from a pub, like ham hock terrine with homemade piccalilli with pearl barley ice cream and sesame tuile; chicken liver parfait with onion chutney and toasted sourdough; and Benedetto gin cured salmon with beetroot and fennel.

We say: Lots of love for this smart gastropub which lies just outside Cambridge and serves the kind of quality Sunday roast with all the trimmings we’re willing to drive many miles for. The menu’s full of classics like pork tenderloin with braised cheeks, broccoli and black pudding, and dishes are pretty as a picture too – literally, they’re all over Instagram. There’s great outside space including a play area, massive terrace and private meadow, which is probably why it came 4th in The Times’ Top 40 outside dining spots in the UK. 

The Three Hills, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire (No. 43)

They say: As well as great food, the pub offers a stunning atmosphere with lots of comfy places to hide out on cold wintery days, including the snug or library which features a roaring log fire. There are also six wonderfully decorated bedrooms to stay in at the pub, with dogs welcome in the four annex rooms for a small additional cost. Meanwhile, onto the food and the Three Hills does not disappoint, serving dishes that have included grilled mackerel with apple, miso and horseradish.

We say: We’ve enjoyed many a lunch, the odd dinner, and copious glasses of very good wine at this super friendly, but hugely professional pub. The Sunday roast is legendry, including the option to share a roast chicken, with the most flavoursome stuffing, roasties and Yorkshires too, all served in the roasting tin– so good. Whether you want a light lunch, classic pub fare like fish and chips or a burger, or something more ‘restauranty’ like beetroot tartare followed by pan-fried halibut – you will not be disappointed.

See the full list of Top 50 Gastropubs here

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