Top 50 gastropubs revealed!
Whose tripled-cooked chips have got them into the gastropub hall of fame? Roomy pants on, let’s tuck in because FOUR of East Anglia'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 we’re over the moon that four East Anglian names appear on Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs 2020.
The top spot was taken by The Harwood Arms in Fulham, but the East Anglian fab four are below, all taking advantage of local, seasonal ingredients, offering outstanding plates of food in a relaxed, rural setting.
The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge, Suffolk (no.29)
The guide says: “Winsome, witty and warm, Suffolk’s Unruly Pig serves filling well-crafted pub food in an environment that reflects the owner’s personality,” and we whole-heartedly agree. The Unruly Pig has become the destination du jour thanks to owner Brendan Padfield (a former solicitor). It was recently named one of the top six pubs in the East of England and Head Chef Dave Wall won Britain’s best pub restaurant chef 2019/20. It’s all thanks to its charming mix of monthly changing menus (including amazing free from options), the flavour-enhancing Inka grill in the refurbished kitchen, and use of locally sourced ingredients.
Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon, Little Dunmow, Essex (no.32)
This award-winning pub, over the border in Essex has moved up one place this year with judges saying the food equals the magnificence of the 16th century exterior. So gorgeous surroundings and delicious gastropub grub are guaranteed. It’s the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the whole of Essex, so people flock here from across the East and beyond to see what’s so special. The clue’s in the name. Tim Allen is head chef (formerly the head chef at the Michelin-starred Wild Rabbit in Kingham) and he managed to secure that famous star and be named one of the top 100 restaurants in the UK after just six months at the helm. Dishes include: heritage carrot infused in meadow flower hay with goats’ curd, caramelised sourdough and crispy chicken skin; quail with crimson grapes, cabbage purée, Marteau sausage and verjus reduction; and Cornish mackerel with oyster emulsion, apache potato, dill and horseradish snow with Avruga caviar.
The White Horse Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk
If you like your gastropubs to come with a view, then The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe is for you. This award-winning restaurant, bar and boutique hotel is situated on North Norfolk’s marshland coastline and the vista out the conservatory windows of the Norfolk Coastal Path and the tidal marsh beyond to Scolt Head Island is second to none. It’s possibly one of the best places on the coast to eat seafood as the lobster pots and oyster beds are literally a stone’s throw away and produce is delivered fresh by the village fishermen. Dishes include ‘Toms’ Brancaster mussels with garlic cream, white wine & shallots and some awesome chips, and Salt & Pepper Squid with an harrissa sauce. There’s even a smokehouse in the garden, so fish-lovers will be in heaven.
The Gunton Arms, near Cromer, Norfolk (no.45)
Art gallery meets cosy country gastropub at The Gunton Arms, which is situated in the 1,000-acre historic deer park that surrounds the 150-year-old Gunton Hall, near Cromer in Norfolk. Everything combines here to create the perfect pub – an idyllic setting, cool, one-of-a-kind interiors and a meat and fish-lovers menu full of inspired dishes like Blythburgh pork chops and Gunton red deer rump, all prepared on an open fire. Head chef Stuart Tattersall and his wife Simone have retained a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the past six years and were the highest new entry in The Good Pub Guide in 2012.