The Crooked Billet
Pubs and Bars with Restaurants
Newlands Lane, Stoke Row, RG9 5PU
There’s a ‘wanted’ sign on the rickety door of The Crooked Billet – local produce is what’s being hunted down by chef Paul Clerehugh, who’s willing to cook you lunch in exchange for a basketful of the stuff (winter truffles being a recent swap). This place oozes character. There’s a table stacked with jars with handwritten labels noting that the honey inside is produced behind the pub, and perhaps most notably, there’s no bar – pints are drawn directly from casks in the cellar. Then there’s the food. I still salivate over the salty crackling, Colchester oysters, monkfish with Morecombe Bay shrimp and capers. I felt like a pig, but couldn’t resist the wild mushroom and local truffle risotto cakes with wild rocket and Twineham Grange crisps, followed by the hare Bourguignon with a creamy pillow of celeriac mash. Often a famous face graces The Crooked Billet’s mish-mash of second-hand chairs and old farmhouse tables. Prince Harry and Kylie Minogue have dined here, and Marco Pierre White was holding court on our last visit. The pub also famously cooked Kate Winslet’s bangers and mash wedding reception. Hidden at the end of a single-track lane in deepest Oxfordshire countryside, surrounded by beech trees, oaks and rolling countryside, The Crooked Billet is the cosiest location for lunch or dinner and is the quintessential foodie pub. A Daily Telegraph restaurant critic recently rated the restaurant ten out of ten.