Editor Rebecca Burr told The Morning Advertiser the state of food in UK pubs had “never been better”.
She said: “It’s an interesting time – a few years ago there was perhaps a bit of a stigma attached to chefs going into pubs.”
But, she added: “We feel there’s a new generation out there of young chefs getting pubs. Perhaps they may not be as accessible to the sort of people that want to sit in the pub until it closes but we feel it’s good.”
The guide was released last week and named self-proclaimed “proper London boozer” the Marksman, run by veteran chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram, as its Pub of the Year.
Burr said of the Hackney pub, which also came 11th in 2016's Top 50 Gastropubs: “At the Marksman, they had a bit of a battle on their hands – they had a really established drinking clientele and they wanted to change it, not radically, but a bit from the food point of view.”
“You open those doors and the atmosphere is absolutely banging. It’s really friendly but you can have some really progressive food. I think it’s a great place, the best in London for sure – they’ve gauged it just right.”
Rotheram and Harris, Burr said, had found the perfect balance between appealing to specialist diners and local regulars.
She added: “You’ll always get the destination diners that will go and eat once and then move on to the next place in town, whereas looking after the locals that are going to come in and drink two or three times a week and perhaps eat once every two or three weeks, they’ve got that just right.”
The Michelin Guide 2017 (encompassing pubs and restaurants) was released earlier in October.
Two pubs starred
Two new pubs, the Crown in Burchetts Green, Berkshire, and the Wild Rabbit, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, were awarded Michelin stars.
Burr said: “With stars in pubs, when we first started off we didn’t expect – or want – pubs to be restaurants. Like [chef-patron] Simon Bonwick at the Crown, you’ve just got a really hard-working, dedicated family and he’s on his own in the kitchen."
She added: “[Bonwick] does everything. He goes to the market, selects every ingredient and [the pub] is fantastically priced. I hope he puts his prices up a tiny bit now – I had some crab there that you would have spent £30 on in the West End.
“I don’t think we’ll ever have hundreds of pubs with stars but we wouldn’t want there to be. But I think the ones we’ve got are good.”
Both the Crown at Burchetts Green and the Wild Rabbit ranked in 2016’s Top 50 Gastropubs, coming in respectively at 22nd and 29th.
The entry deadline for 2017’s Top 50 Gastropubs special award categories has been extended until 4 November due to popular demand.