Eggleton, who runs the Pony & Trap, in Chew Magna, near Bristol – winner of Best Food Pub at the Great British Pub Awards last Thursday (11 September) – told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser that pubs have the edge over restaurants when it comes to providing a great customer experience.
“I love the flexibility of the pub. An old couple can come in and order ham and eggs, and we can do that. A restaurant wouldn’t do that”, he said.
“Hospitality is at the centre of the pub experience and making people feel at home is the key”, Eggleton added.
He describes the Pony and Trap as his “golden egg”, but has plans for other projects in the Tew Valley.
Eggleton’s new ventures include the creation of a number of waterside ‘Salt & Malt’ fish cafés, with the first being the conversion of the Chew Valley Tea Room, near Bristol, due to open next month. He aims to open one new fish café annually.
The Great British Menu 2014 contestant also has improvements lined up for the Pony & Trap, with a 10-year anniversary refurbishment planned for later this year.
He hopes that a restaurant and kitchen expansion will give him space to produce a more extensive menu.
“We will hopefully have the flexibility to do a few more off the wall things”, said Eggleton, who hopes to try both offal and game tasting menus before Christmas.“Nothing for me is good enough”, he explained.
He has commissioned local carpenters and blacksmiths to make a custom range of serving dishes.
This fits well with the chef’s aspiration to create a bespoke environment in his pub.
In addition, he wants to “make the most of the beautiful setting” and has recently planted an orchard next to the pub.
Own projects aside, Eggleton is also the co-founder and curator of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion – a three-week long food festival in the city centre.
The festival aims to transform the city into a gastronomic ‘tipi village’ for three weeks each summer.