Meet the finalists: Best Premium Food Offer sponsored by Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Prize for premium: Finalists have shown they are pushing the boundaries of pub food innovation
Prize for premium: Finalists have shown they are pushing the boundaries of pub food innovation

Related tags Publican awards Food Chefs Gastropub Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Events

The 2023 winner of the Best Premium Food Offer will have impressed judges with a high-quality menu in a business that delivers a successful food offer across its estate.

Anglian Country Inns

Anglian Country Inns (ACI) is a family-run business that first opened its doors more than 25 years ago, after Cliff Nye was blown away by the view out the back of a run-down pub on the north Norfolk coast. The rest is history: since then, Cliff, joined by his sons James and Howard, have built the pubco into an impressive portfolio of eight establishments across East Anglia, a coffee shop and a brewery.

And the company just keeps on evolving, with key innovations this year including a new café and oyster bar. The pubco celebrates the unique vibe of each of its venues, whether you’re looking for somewhere to catch up with friends over pizza and pints, attend an insightful talk or pull out all the stops for a birthday bash or wedding.

ACI is rooted in a passion for premium food and making people happy. ‘Freedom within the framework’ is a key philosophy, with head chefs brainstorming ideas before, ultimately, getting free reign in menu curation at each site. Stand-out food is delivered across all sites, with sustainable, quality produce foregrounded.

Food is also celebrated through the pubco’s vibrant array of events, including informative talks and oyster & mussel fest – which draw in customers from across the country.

Grosvenor Pubs

Grosvenor Pubs was born out of a 25-year culinary journey round the globe, and its menus foreground fine, hearty yet affordable dishes made with high-quality, seasonal ingredients. Making a menu is a carefully thought-out process, as its chefs work with Prestige Purchasing to develop premium dishes. Quality comes first, which is evident in elevated versions of pub classics like cheese souffle and fondant with ‘popcorn parfait’ and Thai red curry.

Attention to detail is also key and the company doesn’t skirt around the finer points. Food, décor, music and even cutlery choices are all picked with a deep level of care.

Local suppliers are used and a variety of handpicked wines, beers and spirits, chosen by the pubco’s bartenders, complement the food. Grosvenor is committed to sustainability: it has its own ESG statement and carbon footprint is limited where possible. At boutique hotel Wild Thyme & Honey, honey is sourced from the site’s own bees and fruit picked from its trees in summer.

Grosvenor’s ethos centres people: staff, the surrounding neighbourhood and local farmers and drink makers come first. Top-notch technology has been put into the kitchens for the benefit of chefs and new team members are buddied up with senior chefs when they start. Teams have a chance to provide honest feedback, and accommodation, meals and team rooms with fruit and showers are available for staff.

Casa Hotels

“People, provenance and personality” are key to Casa’s food offering across its three sites. Homegrown produce is celebrated with one third of food sourced from the owner’s farm, Walton Lodge, most notably meat and eggs. Local milkmen, cheesemongers and fruit & veg suppliers are used, and all food is traceable to its roots. Chefs also take a ‘nose-to-tail’ approach when using meat.

The Red Lion pub is attached to the Peak Edge Hotel. Dating back to 1788, the pub’s original beams and stone are still identifiable throughout, as a nod to its original heritage.

The company’s owner Steve Perez first encountered the Red Lion when his father restored the pub in 1966. Since 2018, Peak Edge has grown incrementally. The expansion of its facilities includes a brand-new garden room and terrace area, a newly renovated bar and restaurant space and much more. The menu features home-cooked and locally sourced dishes.

Built in November 2010, Casa, in Chesterfield, is an independent, four-star modern hotel, just 10 minutes from the M1. Whether you’re looking to host a corporate event or wanting a relaxing mini break, the hotel can suit your needs. Meeting spaces and 100 bedrooms complement the bar and restaurant, where a modern menu with a Spanish twist is served.

There’s something for everyone on the menu from larger dishes to smaller sharing plates, also featuring dishes from the site’s charcoal-fired Josper grill.

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