A change in season and a change in scenery? Why not! Elevated pub fare caught our attention last year with Michel Roux Jr’s The Wigmore. Now a new band of critically acclaimed restaurants-in-pub settings are poised for glory, away from the London scene.
Built in the 14th century in Lower Chicksgrove, Wiltshire, The Compasses Inn ticks all the boxes. Acquired by Ben Maschler (The Drapers Arms, Soho House) last year, the inn’s renovated bedrooms upstairs embrace Danish design classics, while downstairs, the ancient pub’s flagstones, open fires and wooden beams reign supreme. Chef Paddy Davy makes all the breads, jams, marmalades, chutneys and ice creams in-house, so if you’re new to these isles (or yet to explore outside of zone 2), this is the place to sample edible traditions.
The Black Swan in North Yorkshire has been on the map ever since co-owner Tommy Banks became the youngest Michelin-starred chef in the UK. Renovations are underway to build a new wine cellar beneath the restaurant, adding to what’s already a seriously tempting proposition of bed, breakfast and heaps of rural Yorkshire countryside. While the focus remains on foraged ingredients and rare produce, gardener Benjamin Daniells is busy turning The Black Swan self-sufficient for fruit and vegetables; with so much seasonal produce, no two trips will ever be the same.
And to add a spin to the classic, Tom Kerridge is in the mood to try something new, too. With The Hand and Flower and The Coach under his belt (both now Michelin-starred, as of October), he’s partnered with butcher Andy Cook to open The Butcher’s Tap in Marlow. By day, it operates as a master butchers, by night, a traditional pub. The meat comes from the same suppliers as Tom’s restaurants, so after dinner at The Coach, you can take some dry-cured bacon back to London for breakfast.
Follow the Michelin stars or the Maschlers, and you can’t go too far wrong.