The Shepherd Neame tenancy was announced as the champion of these prestigious awards, which are voted for in an extensive poll of industry experts, at an awards lunch today hosted by chef Tom Kerridge. The pub has ranked second in the list for the past two years.
Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, the event was held at Anglian Country Inns’ site Hermitage Rd Bar & Kitchen in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
Steve and Phil Harris are licensees of the Sportsman and Steve is also the pub’s head chef. The pub has held a Michelin star for nearly eight years and the menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients including seaweed from the local beach. As well as the main menu, a tasting menu is also available featuring new dishes mixed with classics which have been featured on the site’s menu in the past 15 years.
Best-selling dishes include Whitstable native oysters (£2.95); Slip sole grilled in seaweed butter (£9.95); roast gurnard fillet with a bouillabaisse sauce and green olive tapenade (£21.95); smoked, maple-cured pork loin with wholegrain mustard tartare (£19.95); cream cheese ice cream with pear purée, meringue and ginger cake crumbs (£7.95); apple soufflé with burnt cream (£7.95).
Josh and Holly Eggleton’s Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, Somerset, was voted into second place and James and Kate MacKenzie’s Pipe & Glass in South Dalton, Yorkshire was third. The pub also won the Wine List of the Year Award, selected from all the pubs in the Top 50 and special award finalists, by a panel of industry experts, including Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter and Inn Places managing director David Hancock.
The Highest Climber Award went to James Durrant’s Plough at Longparish, Hampshire. He was a winner of BBC Two’s Great British Menu last year.
Highest New Entry went to Andrew and Mary Jane Fishwick of the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, London. The pub also won the Newcomer of the Year award, which was open to pubs to enter themselves.
The other award from the Top 50 list was Gastropub Chef of the Year which was won by Andrew Hill of the Red Lion in Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire.
Winning Front of House Manager of the Year was Mo Gherras of the Michelin-starred Royal Oak in Paley Street, Berkshire and the Business Innovation of the Year Award went to the Richmond Arms in West Ashling, near Chichester, West Sussex for its WoodFired vintage pizza van and pizza restaurant.
New this year is the Ones to Watch Award, recognising pubs that are not yet in the Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropub Awards list, but are tipped for wider recognition and ongoing success in the future. The three winners are Dominic Chapman’s Beehive, in White Waltham, Berkshire; the Tanner Brothers' Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells, Kent and Nathan Outlaw's Mariners in Rock, Cornwall.
The 2015 Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropub Awards rankings:
1. The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent
2. Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset
3. Pipe & Glass, South Dalton, East Yorkshire
4. Plough Inn, Longparish, Hampshire
5. The Star at Harome, North Yorkshire
6. Freemasons, Wiswell, Lancashire
7. Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire
8. Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk
9. Gurnards Head , Zennor, Cornwall
10. Truscott Arms, Maida Vale, London
11. Harwood Arms, Fulham, London
12. Hardwick, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
13. Bull & Last, Highgate, London
14. Hinds Head, Bray, Berkshire
15. Kingham Plough, Kingham, Oxfordshire
16. Canton Arms, Stockwell, London
17. Anchor & Hope, Waterloo, London
18. Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh
19. Treby Arms, Sparkwell, Devon
20. British Larder, Bromeswell, Suffolk
21. Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon
22. Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire
23. Greyhound on the Test, Stockbridge, Hampshire
24. Vintage, Leith, Scotland
25. Red Lion, Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire
26. Jack in the Green, Rockbeare, Devon
27. Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon, Wales
28. Nut Tree, Murcott, Oxon
29. Lady Ottoline, London
30.Wellington Arms, Baughurst, Hampshire
31.Cross, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
32.Longs Arms, South Wraxall, Wiltshire
33.Smokehouse, Islington, London
34.Butchers Arms, Eldersfield, Gloucestershire
35.Olive Branch Clipsham Rutland
36.Broad Chare, Newcastle
37.Anchor, Walberswick, Suffolk
38.Rat, Anick, Northumberland
39.Masons Arms, Knowstone, devon
40.Eagle, Farrington, London
41.Parkers Arms, Clitheroe, Lancashire
42.Three Daggers, Edington, Wiltshire
43.Angel at Hetton, North Yorkshire
44.Glynne Arms, Hawarden, Flintshire
45.Friends of Ham, Leeds
46.Swan at Wedmore, Somerset
47.Fox, Willian, Hertfordshire
48.Old School Bar & Kitchen, Mount Hawke, Cornwall
49.Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire
50. The Parlour, Kensal Green, London