Originally an inn for farm labourers, servants, and river workers, this 400-year-old-pub is a draw for locals and visitors alike, both for its rich history and top-notch food and drink. Situated in the Thames-side hamlet of Burcot, just a short distance from the pretty village of Dorchester and its famous abbey, the pub offers a charming blend of old and new. Original beams and an ancient open fireplace (complete with a fire that burns all year round) keep the spirit of the inn alive, while the contemporary decor makes it a comfortable space in which to enjoy a meal or a drink with friends.
From sharing boards to classic mains, the menu is full of the kind of comfort food that goes hand in hand with rustic pub surroundings. Starters include Scotch egg, prawn cocktail and chicken liver paté, while sharing boards can be put together from items including giant queen olives, rosemary focaccia, Black Bomber cheese and calamari. Mains are generally meaty, including favourites such as fish and chips, made from Torbay haddock cooked in beef dripping and served with pea purée and tartar sauce, and Wiltshire pork belly served with mash, greens, crackling and apple purée, though there is a vegetarian lasagne and a number of gluten-free options as well.
The menu’s pièce de résistance, however, is the selection of British steaks sourced from farms located in Sussex, Cornwall and the Hundred of Wixamtree (an area in Bedfordshire which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times). The cattle are 100 per cent grass-fed and slowly reared, resulting in rich, succulent aged beef. There are six cuts to choose from and no fewer than 22 side dishes to complement them, from tenderstem broccoli to buttery star anise carrots, melted cheese mash with crispy Wiltshire bacon and shallots, and cauliflower cheese. Desserts are just as tempting, with crowd-pleasers such as sticky toffee pudding and crumble sitting alongside more adventurous creations including lemon and lime posset, and almond milk rice pudding with spiced prunes.