Michelin Pub of the Year 2015: winning insights

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef

The Wild Rabbit opened in September 2013
The Wild Rabbit opened in September 2013
The manager of the newly crowned Michelin Pub of the Year 2015 believes his venue’s special atmosphere helped win it the honour.

Graham Williams, who runs the Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Oxfordshire, told Pub Food that customers often remarked on the “cosy and relaxing” feel of the venue, which has open fires, ripped back walls and handcrafted furniture.

The Wild Rabbit was described by Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide editor Rebecca Burr as a “chocolate box” pub with an “animated atmosphere”. Williams said: “The one thing that people mention all the time is just how special the atmosphere is. There are comfortable leather chairs in the bar, and the tables in the 50-cover dinning room are well spaced.

“We also have an open kitchen, which helps with putting on a show.”

Lady Bamford

Opened in September 2013, the site is owned by Lady Carole Bamford, who also owns the Daylesford organic café, deli, cookery school and spa complex based in Kingham.

Head chef is Adam Caisley, who began his career at the three Michelin-starred Guy Savoy in Paris before going on to work at some of Europe’s finest restaurants, including Le Hameau Albert 1er in Paris, the Amstel Amsterdam and Le Gavroch in London, where he was senior sous chef for six years.

Best-selling dishes in the dining room include: crisp pigs head croquette, smoked eel and sauce ravigôte (£11.50); and skate wing, oyster and celery ravioli, lemon butter sauce (£24).

In the bar, the most popular menu items are: goujons of hake, aioli and fennel salad; a course game terrine; and Lancashire hotpot with roasted beetroot. The pub has a Jopser oven, so meat also features heavily on the menu.

Customers can currently choose from a choice of dry-age 12oz sirloin steak on the bone (£30); 10oz flat iron steak (£24), 22oz rump cap for two (£58).

Food events

According to Williams, the pub operates a calendar of food-related events throughout the year.

He said: “We’ve got a very thriving wine club that meets once a month, where we have wine merchants visit and offer tastings and advice.

“Coming up, we’ve got an evening of charcuterie and cheese, the Ham & Cheese Company. They are an artisan charcuterie producer. Next year, we’ve got a beer festival planned.”

Williams explained that, upon opening, the pub was lucky enough to “hit the ground running”, and winning the award would “strengthen and establish” what they were already doing.

He said: “We’ve got 12 bedrooms, and occupancy is about 94%, which is fantastic.

“We are all very thrilled to have received the award, and obviously it will just make us even busier than we already are.”

“Lady Bamford doesn’t have any specific plans for any new sites, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

70 new entries Out now, the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide recommends more than 590 pubs from Great Britain and Ireland, of which 70 are new entries.

It also highlights the 43 pubs that have a Bib Gourmand and the 16 holders of a Michelin Star.

Related topics: Chefs

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