Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub awards finalists unveiled

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Crowning ceremony: the list and award winners reveal will be taking place earlier next year
Crowning ceremony: the list and award winners reveal will be taking place earlier next year

Related tags Food Top 50 gastropubs Chef

The finalists for the specialist awards at the 2023 Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs have been revealed.

We've taken a look at the shortlist for the categories – Front of House Team of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

The prestigious event, which will reveal the list and the award winners, will be taking place at 2022 number one gastropub the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk on Monday 23 January 2023.

Front of House Team of the Year

The Victoria, Oxshott, Surrey

This neighbourhood pub from former head chef of the Crown at Bray in Berkshire, Matt Larcombe and Igniting Hospitality’s Simon King serves a menu of elevated British classics.

The duo have relaunched the Victoria as a community pub, offering an exceptional experience.

Dishes include beer-battered native oysters with seaweed mayonnaise, crispy pigs head and mushroom parfait with sweet and sour onions.

The Cross at Kenilworth, Warwickshire

The award-winning Cross at Kenilworth aims to combine Michelin-starred food with a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere.

Under the guidance of chef-director Adam Bennett, it has retained its Michelin star for more than six years and also boasts three AA Rosettes. In addition, its renowned chef-patron Andreas Antona also owns Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Birmingham.

Housed in a Grade II-listed 19th​ century inn, the Cross aims to create a casual atmosphere and informal but attentive service.

On its menus, courses include breast of Creedy Carver duck with salt-baked celeriac, fondant potato, quince puree, duck jus with Madagascan pepper and dressed Devon crab soup with saffron mayonnaise.

Brook House, Fulham, west London

Fulham’s Brook House is run by publicans Mark Dyer and Eamonn Manson, who have created a formula, combining the best qualities of the capital’s Michelin star restaurants with a relaxed, traditional pub style.

Following successful ventures in London, Dryer and Manson hope to bring a new dining experience to guests.

Dishes on offer include grilled octopus with chimichurri and romesco sauce as well as 55-day-aged middlewhite pork with hispi cabbage, smoked confit carrot and jus.

Newcomer of the Year

The Chandos Arms, Oakley, Buckinghamshire

This 18th​ century, thatched gastropub is nestled in the historic village of Oakley, opening under new management in March this year.

Chef Matteo Romeo puts seasonal food is at the fore of this gastropub, utilising the best produce from local suppliers to serve on the menu.

The majority (90%) of its menu is dairy-free alongside a variety of options that are gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian.

Furthermore, the pub specialists in revisiting English pub classics and chef’s specials with a touch of the duo’s Italian and South African heritage.

The Oarsman, Marlow. Buckinghamshire

Serving bistro-style, seasonal dishes from the open kitchen and small plates from the charcuterie and larder counter, the Oarsman’s menu changes daily.

Guests can choose from a selection of dishes that have included pig’s head with boudin noir and apple as well as trotters and bacon with beef dripping and toast.

The venue has a strong environmental ethos and supports local suppliers where possible in a bid to serve the finest, seasonal produce.

The Queen of Cups, Glastonbury, Somerset

Diners can enjoy Middle Eastern sharing plates featuring the best seasonal and local produce, catering for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike at the Queen of Cups.

Ayesha Kalaji, who was a finalist at the 2022 Great British Pub Awards for Pub Chef of the Year, heads up the kitchen.

Of Jordanian descent via Wales and England, she is a classically trained chef who combined the flavours of her childhood with the finest West Country ingredients.

Sample menus include dishes such as laverbread falafel with sumac, lime fennel and tahini and vine leaf wrapped gilt-head bream, preserved lemon yoghurt, radish, blood orange and smoked almonds,

This is in addition to The Queen’s Feast featuring a chef’s selection of savoury dishes, served tapas style.

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