The Chequers Inn
The Chequers Inn is a perfect example of the way that both old and new can be brought together with stunning results. The building itself dates from the 15th Century and is owned by Tim and Katy Neal, who bought it outright after having managed it under other owners for some time. Seven years later, it is a haven for both locals and food lovers who travel from miles around for the fine dining on offer.
The kitchen is run by chef-proprietor Tim - an elected Master Chef of Great Britain - alongside head chef Craig Goldsmith. Katy runs the front of house with a level of professionalism and attention to detail that matches the quality of the food that comes out of Tim's kitchen. That is no mean feat, because the flavour combinations, quality of produce and exquisite plating make sure that The Chequers Inn ranks highly amongst the very best restaurants in the south of England.
Our visit saw starters that included sautéed wood pigeon breast with a hazelnut crumble, crispy local cured pancetta and salad, the flavours of which worked together in harmony. A risotto of fresh Portland crab and spring onion with Parmesan cheese and olive oil was rich and satisfying. The imaginative selection of mains made making a decision difficult, but the pan-fried loin of British pork served with rosti potato, cabbage, apple purée, crackling and a red wine jus proved to be a wonderful choice. Not only did the dish look fantastic, everything on the plate was a brilliantly executed example of fine dining at its best. My partner's crispy confit duck on a ragu of lentils du puy and chorizo, Savoy cabbage and thyme jus seemed to be a popular choice and the deep and rich flavours complemented each other perfectly. We were sure that desserts would be fantastic too and were not disappointed. The flat apple tart with caramel sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream was delicately sweet and sticky in all the right ways. The dark chocolate mousse with passionfruit granita and chocolate tuille was light, airy and a fitting conclusion to a fine meal. An opportunity to dine at The Chequers Inn gives the chance to enjoy one of the best all-round dining experiences in Britain