AA announces Britain’s top 3 food pubs

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Scran and Scallie makes use of great Scottish produce, according to judges
The Scran and Scallie makes use of great Scottish produce, according to judges

Related tags: Public house, Inn

The AA announced its top three British food pubs at the AA Hospitality Awards in London last night (5 October).

Pub of the year for England was given to the Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold, while Kinmel Arms, Abergele, took the title for Wales, and the Scran and Scallie in Edinburgh, which is number 18 on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list​, was named Scottish Pub of the Year.

Judges sought pubs that combined the provision of enjoyable food with a great pub atmosphere and a warm welcome.

The Porch House, which is owned by the operator and brewer Brakspear, offered a simple and robust menu that took advantage of locally-sourced ingredients where possible, according to the judges.

‘Plenty of choice’

The vision

The vision Tom Kitchin and his business partner Dominic Jack had when they opened was to bring ‘nature to the plate’

  • Source: ​Judges

“There is plenty of choice about where to enjoy your meal – the bar, lounge, dining room, conservatory or the pretty courtyard,” they said.

Brakspear, which operates three other sites, announced it would boost food sales last year following the appointment of its first executive chef Antony Ely.

The Scran and Scallie was called a “vibrant gastropub” by judges, who said it offered relaxed dining, with menus that showcased great Scottish food.

“The vision Tom Kitchin and his business partner Dominic Jack had when they opened was to bring ‘nature to the plate’,” they said.

“With the help of James Chapman, they created menus that demonstrate their passion and knowledge using the very produce Scotland has to offer.”

Fresh, modern dishes

Kitchin’s and Jack’s menu has fresh, modern dishes alongside some forgotten favourites, according to the judges.

Forgotten favourites included sheeps heid, Scotch broth and traditional cottage pie. More than 2,300 portions of ham, egg and chips had also been served from the pubs al’la carte menu.

Two-Rosette standard Kinmel Arms takes advantage of local seafood and meat and its owners Tim and Lynn Watson, who bought the pub on Valentine’s Day in 2002, focus on sourcing good quality local food.

Three UK pubs were also awarded three rosettes, including Tom Kerridge's the Coach, Marlow; Tom Sellers' the Lickfold Inn, Lickfold; and Emily Watkins' the Kingham Plough.

You and your pub may have the credentials to win one of three awards open to entry at next year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

The categories include:

  • Business Innovation of the Year: ​You and your pub may be making the most of one of the best innovation ideas in the industry, so why not get recognition for it?
    Last year’s winner, the Richmond Arms in West Ashling, West Sussex, boosted trade by investing in an old Citroen H Van, from which wood-fired pizzas were sold.
    This initiative increased the pub’s covers from 40 to 90 and capitalised on the growing demand for street food.
  • Newcomer of the Year: ​This award recognises stand-out pubs that have been open for 18 years or fewer.
    Judges will look for details on investment in the business; successful food and drink promotions; strong marketing and PR; and any future development plans.
  • Front-of-House Manager of the Year: ​Does your pub have the best front-of-house manager in the business, then why not enter them into this award to give them the recognition they deserve?
    Winners of this category contribute to the success of their team, as well as delivering excellent customer service and inspiring the rest of the front-of-house team.

Find our more about the awards here.

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