The Compasses Inn
Situated in the middle of several game estates, The Compasses Inn is well known in the area for its award-winning seasonal food and country-pub feel. With Ashford, Canterbury and the popular Wye National Nature Reserve nearby, The Compasses Inn sits in a beautifully remote setting; the perks of its beautiful country location are reflected in the carefully crafted and frequently changing menu.
Following the scenic and winding route to the pub, you’ll find The Compasses Inn surrounded by greenery and adorned with delicately painted signs. Stepping inside the 18th-century building, low beams and open wood fires make for a cosy and typically English countryside feel – you might even spot a tweed-clad gentleman or two with their dogs by their side. Fresh flowers and exposed brick make for an interior that’s just as charming, with a subtly modern touch.
In harmony with the decor and atmosphere is the menu, which is predominantly traditionally British with creative modern twists. Head chef Robert’s talent and passion has been recognised with two AA rosettes, being named for two years in Estrella’s Top 50 Gastropubs in the UK – last year winning their Gastropub Chef of the Year Award – and a place in The Michelin Guide. Dishes from the concise game-led à la carte menu are cooked fresh to order, and are exquisitely presented. To start, you might order the likes of the Earl Grey-brined and -glazed chicken with Puy lentils and pancetta, and follow with Norfolk quail, bacon, onion and sage pie served with Brussels sprouts and cranberry jus. Vegetarian options are consistently tempting, including the butternut squash and rosemary terrine with Swiss chard, chestnuts and black truffle cream. To finish, it would be criminal not to order pudding. You’ll often find sticky toffee pudding on the menu, or you might opt for the poached pear and ginger cake, with salted caramel ice cream and ginger beer granita for something different. It’s no wonder the food was described by The Guardian as a ‘warming hug’.
The atmosphere is relaxed – you can sit back in your muddy boots and enjoy a glass of fine wine with your meal. The unpretentious, family-friendly feel reflects owners Donna and Robert, and makes for a welcoming and enjoyable experience time after time.