Thanks to a swish refurbishment, The Crown & Garter has gone from neglected pub to polished, picturesque inn, restaurant, bakery and boutique hotel. You’ll unearth it in middle-of-nowhere Inkpen, but the cooking is far from out of touch. Within the old pub’s red-brick walls and smart-rustic dining room, Matthew Ambrose (ex-Claridges) shows a flair for reinventing traditional pub food – think gutsy game terrine with apple and quince chutney; cassoulet of duck and pork sausages; applewood-smoked cod with kale and lentils in a mustard and chive sauce; or parkin pudding with ginger toffee sauce. Local, seasonal and sustainable are bywords: from sirloin steaks and wood pigeon to foaming West Berks Brewery ale, with bread made on-site in a wood-fired oven. In warmer months, the cute café opens its huge doors on to delightful herb gardens. Service is attentive yet informal, and the short, sharply picked wine list shows an Italian bias.
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