The 37th-edition of the guide, published today (6 September) urged venues to stick to meals such as ploughman’s lunches, bangers and mash and shepherd's pie, warning that pretentious and inaccessible menus were a turn-off for pub-goers.
It claims that customers are “fed up of asking waiters to explain a dish or having to use their mobile phones to decipher a menu” and that pubgoers don’t want any dishes made with “carrot fluff, edible sand or fish ‘foam”.
“Pubs and good food now go hand in hand, but many chefs appear to have gone Masterchef-mad,” the guide said. “We really aren’t interested in eating kabsa, katsuobushi, matbucha, succotash, tataki or verjus in a pub.
“We don’t want our dishes adorned with carrot fluff, edible sand or fish ‘foam’. Leave that to the swanky restaurants. We want good, honest pub grub.”
Nevertheless, contributors to the guide generally welcomed the rise in culinary standards over the past decade, stating that in many cases this had saved pubs from closure.
Pub of the year crowned
Fiona Stapley, the guide’s editor, said: “In the 37 years of the Good Pub Guide’s existence, fancy food fads have come and gone, but what always stands fast is honest cooking using tip-top local, seasonal, ingredients, but ones that we can all recognise.”
Elsewhere in the guide, The Cock, in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, was named pub of the year for the second time. The venue sells real ale, 20 different wines, local cider, and has a bar just for drinkers.
The pub guide also crowned its first gin pub of the year, The Cholmondeley Arms, in Malpas, Cheshire, which stocks 365 different gins.