The old adage that time flies when you’re having fun is certainly apt when describing a visit to this charming inn – our evening here flew by, so much were we enjoying the lively ambience and fine food and drink. Within this beautifully restored 400-year-old building, culinary creativity and innovation have found their home. The passionate kitchen team, including award-winning chef Fritz Ronneburg, aims to showcase local produce at its best. The drinks offering is equally impressive, leading to the venue’s inclusion in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for 2016, 2017, and 2018 as well as being named Shakespeare CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year for 2017.
We began with gloriously light twice-baked Blue Monday cheese soufflé with wild mushroom salad, Parmesan and roasted chestnuts, and seared sea scallops with crispy pork belly, Jerusalem artichoke purée, red wine salsify and lemon jus. For mains, we chose winter vegetable lasagne with peppery rocket salad and pecorino pangrattato, and homemade nachos with melt-in-the-mouth pulled pork, tangy barbecue sauce, guacamole, tomato compote, crème fraîche, lime and fresh chillies. The homemade ice cream to finish was one of the highlights – I sampled the chocolate, lemon meringue and thyme, the latter in particular being truly original and incredibly moreish.
When the rush of service had quietened down, the chef came out of the kitchen to chat with guests. We learned that he and his team make over 600 different dishes over the course of a year. Nurturing a sense of community through the use of local produce and the hosting of special events is an important part of what they do.