Top 50 gastropubs 2019
… and Bucks & Oxon's triple-cooked chips stacked up nicely with SIX foodie pubs shortlisted. Roomy pants on? Let's tuck in.
Bucks/Oxon has reached gastronomic greatness! Of course we knew this already and are totally biased, but the UK’s top foodies and pub pros seem to agree, having placed SIX gastros in our ‘hood in The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards.
Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, The Top 50 Gastropub shortlist really matters in the foodie pub world, as it celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub. Our foodie six are: The Coach, Marlow; The Hand & Flowers, Marlow; Kingham Plough, Chipping Norton; The Magdalen Arms, Oxford; The Nut Tree Inn, Murcott; and The White Rabbit, Chipping Norton. They all take advantage of local, seasonal ingredients, offering outstanding plates of food with a relaxed vibe.
The Coach is tiny and buzzy, with a no-bookings policy and the chefs in full view – often serving their one Michelin star food themselves. The Hand and Flowers, on the edge of this lovely riverside town, is more quintessential dining pub, albeit one with two Michelin twinklers. I remember booking a £12 lunch at the Hand and Flowers about 10 years ago. No hope these days!
Kingham Plough, Kingham (No 22)
This Cotswold pub has been consistently brilliant as far back as I can remember – it won one of my first Muddy Awards for Best Destination pub, and continues to nail brilliant food, a pretty location in the foodie paradise of Kingham, slick service and Cotwsoldian interiors with the occasional pleasing twist.
The Magdalen Arms, Oxford (No 28)
Given its location up the Iffley Road (well off the central tourist track) and lack of parking, this pub remains a bit of a local’s secret. I know several excellent chefs who hold up The Magdalen Arms as the Oxfordshire gold standard in gastropubs. There’s a bric a brack market here once a month, along with a small line of cool arty indy shops nearby.
The Nut Tree Inn, Murcott (No 37)
Tom Kerridge waxed lyrical about The Nut Tree Inn to me just last week (*boom* – yes that was my 16 stone name drop!) – it’s one of the places he most rates in the area. Don’t blame him – the pretty-as-a-picture thatched inn near Bicester has a warm, unpretentious feel inside, with a gorgeous outside terrace at the back. Most importantly, the one-Michelin food is To.Die.For.
The Wild Rabbit, Chipping Norton (No 38)
A beautifully appointed inn, interior-designed to within an inch of its life with Cotswold stone, exposed beams and Farrow & Ball touches at every turn. The food is excellent, the rooms are luxurious and it’s ideal for family lunches, girly nights away, romantic trysts or stays with your husband (JOKE!). Basically, it’s brilliant.
Wanna know how the neighbours got on?
The Beehive, White Waltham – no.8
The Crown, Burchetts Green, Maidenhead – no. 13
The Royal Oak, Paley Street, Maidenhead – no. 26
The Blackbird, Bagnor – no. 32
The Oxford Blue, Old Windsor – no. 48
The Longs Arms, Bradford-on-Avon – no.36
The Beckford Arms, Gifford – no.39
See the full list of Top 50 Gastropubs here