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Andreas Antona spent his formative years in the kitchen of this Warwickshire coaching inn before upping sticks and eventually moving to Simpsons in Birmingham – so it’s fitting that he’s back in charge of the revitalised Cross. Inside, there are all the signs of a mature, expert facelift, with swathes of upholstered leather and baronial wood panelling offset by tin ceiling tiles and industrial lights, while Antona’s long-time colleague Adam Bennett runs the kitchen. The result is elegantly worked food with a Michelin star to its name and a focus on “stunning” Euro-accented flavours – from wood-smoked eel with ‘potatoes, potatoes, potatoes’, sorrel and capers to loin of Cornish spring lamb accompanied by glazed carrots, apricots, cracked wheat, sheep’s yoghurt and spiced jus. The Cornish crab soup with saffron mayo is “to die for”, while dessert could bring orange and gingerbread soufflé with chocolate and cardamom ice cream. Service is “as good as the decor”, set lunches are a savvy choice for the local business crowd, the wine list reads well and they stage terrific wine evenings too.
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