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Top 50 gastropubs 2021 revealed

What better week for the reveal of the country's best gastropubs than the start of lockdown easing? And guess what? Two pubs in Rutland are in the top 50 and one in Leicestershire in the next best 50. Phones at the ready to bag your table.

With the timing perfection of an expertly cooked fillet steak, along comes the list of the country’s finest gastropubs just when we’re itching to get some pub lunches, dinners and drinkies in the diary.

Oh, gastropubs, how we’ve missed you. We’re salivating over the thought of that pan-fried trout/crispy pork belly/stick toffee pudding, washed down with some fabulous vintage from the perfectly selected wine list.

In the spirit of the gift that keeps on giving, Estrella Damm has this year decided to name 100 pubs instead of the usual 50.

We’re delighted to find that two pubs from Rutland are in the top 50 and one from Leicestershire in the next best 50. After what has been the toughest year for many of the nation’s pubs, forced to shut their doors or reinvent themselves as farm shops and takeaways, we feel it’s our duty to work our way around the cream of the local crop. We’ll race you to the table…

RUTLAND

The Olive Branch, Clipsham (No. 25 )

Foodies will know all about the award-winning The Olive Branch pub. Situated in the pretty village of Clipsham, the pub is housed in a building that dates back to 1890. Today the kitchen is overseen by chef and co-owner Sean Hope, who seeks out new local produce from the kitchen garden and surrounding farms, estates, woodland and hedgerows to inspire the kitchen team and develop new dishes. Their spring menu is already live and features the likes of English asparagus, wild garlic soup, Cornish cod, tarragon gnocchi, garden peas and more. We can’t wait to visit again when they reopen on April 14 when they’ll be serving food in their outdoor gazebos and on the terrace.

The Wheatsheaf, Greetham Rutland (No. 46)

We’ve been shouting about this beautiful pub for as long as we can remember. Carol cooks in the kitchen while Scott looks after the front of house. Originally from South Africa, the Craddocks settled in Rutland with her family after working with the likes of Rebecca Mascarenhas at The Phoenix in Putney and Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum. 12 years ago they turned what was once a quiet village pub, into a buzzing village local. Carol focuses on local ingredients and once told me that she “tends to only feature dishes on her menu that she likes to eat.” It’s obviously working! They’re currently offering a takeaway menu and plan to reopen in April.

The Badger’s Mount, Leicestershire (No. 63)

Relatively unheard of on the foodie scene, this charming gourmet bolthole is perfectly located in the gorgeous green Leicestershire countryside. Eating at the Glen Watson Restaurant is a chic country dining experience and the menu features a hearty selection of seasonal dishes like rump of lamb, pan fried Dover sole as well as a wine cellar brimming with everything from premium vintages to crowd pleasers to accompany your meal. Guests who don’t want to journey home can take advantage of the 2 bedrooms or the larger apartment.

Fancy nipping over the border? Better make a reservation at one of these beauties…

The Black Bull, Nottinghamshire

The Saracens Head, Derbyshire

The Bell Inn, Langford, Gloucestershire

The Three Hills, Bartlow Cambridgeshire

The Hole in The Wall, Little Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire

The Mash Inn, Buckinghamshire

The Coach Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Hand and Flowers Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire

The Nut Tree, Oxfordshire

The Magdalen Arms, Oxfordshire


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