Kent ‘grotty boozer’ takes Top 50 Gastropubs top spot

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Another victory: the Sportsman has taken the No1 slot for the third time in four years
Another victory: the Sportsman has taken the No1 slot for the third time in four years

Related tags: Estrella damm, Public house, Chef, Restaurant

The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, has been named the best gastropub in the country at this year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

The full list was revealed and chef-patron Stephen Harris’s pub was named number one by Waitrose Food ​magazine editor and food critic William Sitwell.

The exclusive awards ceremony was held at Andrew Pern’s site, the Star Inn the City in York, for the first time.

Chef-patron of the Sportsman Stephen Harris made it to the pinnacle of the list for a third time, having graced the number one spot in 2015 and 2016.

Harris is a self-taught chef who abandoned a high-flying career in the city to open his self-proclaimed “grotty boozer by the sea”.

Blurring the lines

Editor of the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Nicholas Robinson said: “Gastropubs are unique for many reasons, mainly because they blur the lines between pubs and restaurants, yet maintain the charm and atmosphere of a traditional pub.

“They are amazing spaces that thrive as a result of the genius of the chefs in the kitchens and the managers who work hard at the front of the pub.

“This year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list shows how diverse gastropubs are up and down the country.

“We have a mix of Michelin-starred pubs, as well as humble businesses that serve top-notch grub. There’s something phenomenal happening in gastropubs up and down the country, they are growing and maintaining that growth where chains and other restaurants are failing.”

Great achievement

This year, 16 new pubs made it on to the list, showing how diverse and vibrant gastropubs are.

Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser​, which runs the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, said: “The Sportsman is a worthy pub to once again top the list. Stephen Harris has worked tirelessly to build his reputation, which stands stronger than ever in the culinary world.

“It is a great achievement to top the list for the third time and I would like to offer my congratulations to Stephen and his team at the Sportsman.”

Craig Johnston from the Royal Oak at Paley Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire, who was this 2017 winner of Masterchef: The Professionals​, was named Gastropub Chef of the Year.

The Oxford Blue in Windsor, Berkshire, was named Newcomer of the Year and the Unruly Pig in Woodbridge, Suffolk, won Front of House Team of the Year.

The Top 50 Gastropubs for 2018 are:

  1. The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent
  2. The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol
  3. The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire

See the full list at www.top50gastropubs.com​.

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