Chestnut Inns opens second site with pub classics and private dining focus

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

The Rupert Brook: Renovated to reflect the company’s operating ethos
The Rupert Brook: Renovated to reflect the company’s operating ethos

Related tags: Caesar salad, Best food pub

Fledgling pub company Chestnut Inns has opened its second site with an emphasis on pub classics and private dining.

The Rupert Brook, in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, follows on from the Packhorse Inn, in Moulton, Northamptonshire, which opened a year ago.

Owned by Philip Turner, the Packhorse has picked up a number of accolades in its first year, including Best Food Pub for the South East at the Great British Pub Awards.

The pub also gained three AA Rosettes – placing it in the top three food establishments for Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

Traditional role

Turner said the Rupert Brook has been renovated and revitalised to reflect his company’s operating ethos – locally sourced food, great service and a traditional role at the heart of the community.

He claimed that the company is passionate about retaining the heritage and traditions of the countryside pub, while striving to provide great food and stylish interiors.

The revitalised site, which is within walking distance of central Cambridge, features an open plan kitchen, a newly established conservatory dining room, an extensive bar area and an upper-floor private dining “club room” with access to roof terraces.

Gardens overlooking the Grantchester Meadows and the footpath to Cambridge will be restored in time for next spring.

Pub classics

The kitchen is the responsibility of executive chef Chris Lee, who is aiming to offer signature pub classics with a modern twist – such as game shepherd’s pie with smoked potato; warm chicken Caesar salad with anchovy & bacon and braised collar of ham served with duck’s egg and chips.

According to Lee, customers can expect the same approach to subtle flavours, complementary textures and dish combinations that have served the Packhorse so well.

The pub is managed by Paul Wicker, who has been in hospitality management since 2005.

Wicker said: “I look forward to making sure that the Rupert Brooke lives up to the very high standards and expectations set by The Packhorse Inn.

“But who knows – we may even raise the bar a bit higher?”

Urban décor

The pub’s urban “Edwardian” décor, which includes oak flooring, a copper-topped bar, chocolate coloured sofas and several pieces of taxidermy, was put together by Philip Turner’s wife Amanda.

Owner Philip Turner said: “It has been the most amazing year for Chestnut Inns and its first business, the Packhorse Inn. 

“To open our second business on such a wave of success is really exciting. 

“Of course, it is going to be different to The Packhorse Inn but we have high expectations that it will prove a winner to both locals and visitors to Grantchester.”

EIS funding

Turner bought the Packhorse last year with help of additional funding through an Enterprise Investment Scheme. Investors to the scheme included experienced operator David Minchin, wife of BBC News​ presenter Louise Minchin.

The Rupert Brooke opened last Thursday (16 October).

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