Top gastropubs in East Anglia
We’ve pulled together a list of our favourite Gastropubs in the region. With so many to choose from, now most pubs have gone down the ‘Gastropub’ route, we wanted to help point you towards some of the best in each area.
Gastropubs in Essex
The delightful The Bell Inn (www.bell-inn.co.uk) set in the lovely historic village of Horndon on the Hill, is a 15th Century Coaching Inn run by the same family for over 75 years. Their menu is based on simple ideas where big and bold flavours are king. With a daily changing menu and fresh, local ingredients, the head chef and his team have created some delicious dishes.
The Pheasant (www.thepheasant.net) in Gestingthorpe is an award-winning pub nestled on the Essex/Suffolk border, with views over the surrounding countryside. The pub has a 1-acre vegetable garden that supplies the pub with fresh fruit and vegetables and all potatoes are sourced from a farm only 10 miles away. Enjoy locally sourced ingredients on a delightful menu, featuring the best of British food.
Pubs in Hertfordshire
The Hermit of Redcoats (www.thehermitofredcoats.com) in Little Wymondley is a hidden treasure. Having undergone a complete refurbishment recently, it’s been returned to its original rustic country style with a hearty menu. They serve quintessentially British food with locally sourced recipes taken from the country’s culinary history. With a passion for fresh, tasty and rustic food, the menu reflects the best of British food.
An award-winning pub located in the picturesque village of Willian, near Letchworth, The Fox at Willian (www.foxatwillian.co.uk) is a welcoming pub serving a regularly changing menu with seasonal produce and an extensive bar menu. If it’s sunny take the chance to sit on the sun terrace in the garden.
It’s no secret that we were incredibly impressed during our recent visit to The Rupert Brooke (www.therupertbrooke.com) in Grantchester. This Gastropub is definitely more Gastro, less pub, with a large choice of superbly created dishes and a new menu, a visit here is a real treat and should be a regular one.
The Black Bull Inn (http://blackbull-balsham.co.uk) in Balsham is a traditional Grade II listed thatched Gastropub with an AA Rosette. All dishes are freshly cooked to order and feature locally sourced produce. Whether visiting for lunch or dinner, there’s something for everyone here.
The best pubs in Bedfordshire
The Flying Horse, Clophill (www.theflyinghorse.co.uk) focuses its menu on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The characterful building is filled with cosy corners, comfy armchairs, open log fires and a unique dining room. Ever popular, book ahead to ensure a spot in the dining room.
The cosy Plough at Bolnhurst (www.bolnhurst.com) can trace its roots back to Tudor times. Low beams, an intriguing layout and few windows create a characterful pub. Watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen working on the seasonal menu and tuck into dishes such as Denham Estate loin of venison, girolle mushroom fricassee, cavolo nero & butter fondant potato.
The Rose and Crown (www.roseandcrownsnettisham.co.uk) in Snettisham is a traditional Norfolk village inn with twisting passages and hidden corners, low ceilings and old beams. As far as possible ingredients are sourced locally, making full use of the wonderful produce of the area in season: mussels, oysters and samphire from Brancaster, asparagus and strawberries from local farmers and herbs from the allotments of Snettisham. Food is served all day at The Rose & Crown, with a slightly shortened menu available during the afternoons.
The traditional pub, The Gunton Arms (www.theguntonarms.co.uk) is set in an extensive historic park not far from Cromer in North Norfolk. The chef Stuart Tattersall (ex head chef at Mark Hix) cooks from local ingredients including venison from the surrounding deer park. You can also enjoy dishes cooked on the Elk Room fire including rib of beef and Sirloin steak.
Voted the best Suffolk Pub 2016, The Unruly Pig (http://theunrulypig.co.uk/) is a beautiful 16th century Inn with cosy log burners, original oak beams and sloping ceilings. Located in Bromeswell, only 5 minutes’ drive from the market town of Woodbridge. They focus on serving quality ingredients and delivering British food with an Italian influence. They even have their own Inka grill in the kitchen which is a unique charcoal grill, heating food to 400 degrees plus and enhancing the flavour of grilled fish and meat. Menus are changed monthly and there are daily specials to choose from. Plenty of choice in a gorgeous setting.
The Castle inn (www.thecastleinn.net) at Bungay is Michelin recommended and features locally sourced food with a regularly changing menu, reflecting the local seasons. Whether it’s venison in the winter, asparagus at the end of spring or gorgeous salad leaves in summer, the menus are flavoured with local tastes.
Written by Amanda French. Read her blog at http://www.anoseforfood.com