Originally leased from the Beauforts of Badminton, this spruced-up 17th-century inn in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds combines the virtues of a village local with the gastro pleasures of a country restaurant. Slate floors and oak settles set the tone in the bar, while terracotta walls, carved panels and chunky tables point up the dining room.
Local produce (including Badminton venison) gets a good airing on the seasonal menu. Kick things off with small plates such as pig’s head terrine with romesco sauce and spring onions, or a twice-baked cheese souffle with spinach and mustard cream.
After that, go for hake Kiev with tartare mash and seasonal greens, haunch of venison with fondant potato, purple sprouting broccoli and silver skin onions, or aubergine caponata with chickpeas, tempura broccoli and tahini dressing.
If you just fancy some classic pub grub, there are burgers and steaks (including a whopping 16 oz chateaubriand to share), as well as beer-battered fish and chips, ham and eggs, sausage and mash and a pie of the day.
Puddings are not as traditional as you might expect given the setting – there’s panna cotta and rhubarb mousse as well as sticky toffee pudding – while other attractions include a kids’ menu for under six quid and Sunday roasts of beef, lamb and pork loin, plus fish of the day and a veggie option.
Sandwiches and lighter dishes do the rounds at lunchtime, there’s a wood-fired pizza oven and outdoor dining in summer while Friday night is ‘locals’ night’ with darts, complimentary snacks and late suppers in the bar to go with well-kept ales and carefully chosen wines - which can, of course, simply be enjoyed by themselves, especially if you have checked into one of the six guest rooms or the two cottages converted from the old stables.
Look out for the pub’s Jack Russell Spoof – friendly proof that the King’s Arms is dog-friendly throughout.