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Knowle Hill, Chew Magna
A 200-year-old cottage boozer in the heart of the Chew Valley, The Pony & Trap is prized for its bar food (“as good as it gets”) as well as its Michelin-starred dining room – although there’s not a starched tablecloth or fawning waiter in sight. Family-run and dependant on chef Josh Eggleton’s foodie pals for many of its ingredients (note the list of local suppliers on the menu), this prestigious hostelry is known for serving up food that’s “a little bit special”: cured monkfish with crispy cheek and grapefruit; lamb rump and sweetbread with malted rye, swede and wild garlic; butter-poached brill with a hay-baked oyster, peas, radish and buttermilk. After that, we suggest bracing yourself for apple cake with caramel, walnuts and clotted-cream ice cream. An “excellent” tasting menu wraps up the whole repertoire in a desirable 10-course package, while the place shows its pubby roots with a cracking Sunday roast. In the words of one fan, “Josh Eggleton has got to be a chef to watch right now”.
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Knowle Hill, Chew Magna
Parson Street Station 8km
Bedminster Station 9km
Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park 1km
Stanton Drew Stone Circles 2km
Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sun -3.30pm), 7-9.30pm (Fri-Sat 6 - )
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Another pub and restaurant which serves a quality of food way above the traditional perception of what will be dished up on the plate in a pub and challenges the old definition. The Pony and Trap is tucked away in the Somerset countryside and is prized for its bar food as much as its Michelin star restaurant. The tasting menu offered with a choice of wine flight is a good indication of the seriousness of the operation, which is also reflected by the quality of the front of house staff, and although there is nothing staggeringly original in most of the dishes they represent a thoughtful variety and balance of ingredients. A nice touch was a table snack of homemade crisps with garlic mayo, just right with the pre-meal glass of fizz, and the canapés got the taste buds going - Porthilly oyster in a deep-fried Guinness batter with chilli mayo, little Yorkshire puddings and steak tartare with horseradish crème fraîche and nasturtium leaf, and flame-grilled mackerel with a tomato compote which dominated at first before allowing the fish to shine. With the tasting menu we had the fine wine flight, disappointingly no sign of any of the bottles. A lightly citrus-cured scallop ceviche with blackcurrant oil, elderflower nib and, almost inevitably, seaweed, made for a lovely taste and texture combination, though this was trumped by the lobster - a remarkable shredded tail quenelle with superb ewe’s milk curd, heritage tomatoes and toasted sourdough. Next came brill cooked on the bone for extra flavour, sweet confit lemon purée, fennel fronds, seaweed and some clams the need for which we were not at all sure about. The main course, which we found fairly ordinary, was best end of lamb with a pollenta chip, slow-cooked breast and with a red pepper purée, broad beans, artichoke and proper gravy. The palate cleanser came in the form of an amusing rocket-shaped ice lolly made of gin, blackcurrant juice, elderflower and cucumber, the latter rather too strong and spoiling the overall effect. Our dessert was a spiced rice pudding, the spice being nutmeg and the rice being almost a crème brûlée, with wild and cultivated strawberries and a very good strawberry sorbet - an extremely clever variation on the theme. All in all it was a bit uneven, but there were flashes of talent which made the detour worthwhile.
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