Burton End, Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8UQ
Originally a 17th-century cottage, The Ash has rural charm in abundance, with part of the building still boasting a thatched roof. A display of model aircrafts and memorabilia are a testament to its more recent history as a local watering hole for American airmen stationed nearby during World War II. Nowadays, the venue is popular with locals and has many friendly regulars, and due to its proximity to Stansted Airport, it’s also popular among travellers seeking a rural foodie retreat. The menu at The Ash mainly comprises classic British comfort food, but also draws inspiration from around the world. This includes butterﬂy chicken in Hawaiian sauce, Mexican nachos, and Mediterranean-style pasta and ﬁsh dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the slow-roasted lamb shank, which was beautifully cooked and served with mint gravy, mashed potato and peas. For vegetarians, I would recommend the Moroccan vegetable stew: seasonal vegetables, potatoes, sweetcorn and sultanas stewed in spicy tomato sauce and served with rice. With a cosy bar attached to the restaurant and an outside dining space, The Ash is perfect for families, groups and couples wanting great-value, home-cooked food of excellent quality and generous proportions. For a wide selection of tempting desserts, look to the chalkboard, which is updated daily.