Situated on the green overlooking the picturesque pond in the village of Long Itchington, this award-winning gastropub underwent an extensive and stylish refurbishment in 2016 and is now in the very capable hands of co-owners Sean and Melissa.
Sean is also the talented head chef and creates masterful renditions of his favourite dishes – from melt-in-the-mouth Somerset Camembert, skilfully baked inside a soda bread loaf with decadent truffle honey, to scrumptious homemade pies and seasonal desserts. It’s clear from his menu that he has a passion for showcasing the best of British delicacies with a touch of Continental panache.
We visited in winter, when the crackling fire in the bar and twinkling candlelit tables in the main restaurant made for an inviting ambience throughout. I opted for the soup of the day to start, which on this occasion was mushroom and Stilton. It featured generous pieces of tangy Stilton that slowly melted as I worked my way to the bottom of the bowl, resulting in deliciously gooey spoonfuls. Meanwhile my partner devoured a plate of perfectly cooked scallops, relishing the accompanying bacon and shallot dressing.
Both meat-lovers, we opted for rib-eye steak and venison to follow, the latter served with braised red cabbage, Parmentier potatoes and game jus. The cuts of meat were succulent, tender and cooked to perfection. I learned that Sean and his team are also particularly proud of their beef roasts, served on Sundays.
We couldn’t resist looking at the dessert menu. One glance and we’d already made our minds up – pear tarte Tatin for him and vanilla posset for me. Freshly baked to order, the tarte Tatin was delightfully warm and crispy, melting the moreish caramel ice-cream on top. The vanilla posset was light and refreshing, topped with seasonal cranberry compote.
Perfect for families and groups of friends, Duck on the Pond is everything a good gastropub should be. It’s also worth joining The Pond Club, a rewarding loyalty card scheme that awards members money-off points every time they visit.