The Resource team is always on the search the perfect “gastropub”: the archetypal English pub with a few modern design statements; affordable food made with fresh, local produce given an imaginative twist in the kitchen; roaring log fires; piles of the Sunday papers and well-thumbed magazines for you to help yourself to; great quality wine by the glass; an eclectic mix of customers, both old and new; the pub’s pooch wandering between tables to snaffle a dropped crumb. We’re still yet to find it.
Near to Resource HQ is The Old Lodge – a beautiful old building set in the middle of Minchinhampton Common. On paper it should be perfect, but on each of our visits we’ve come away feeling a little short-changed. We think it’s the staff: they’re all so young. On one Sunday a guest was asking the bar ‘man’ what the risotto was like: “Errr, well, I think it’s made of rice.” On another evening we were greeted by a Vicky Pollard look-and-soundalike. She was a sweet enough girl, but what we’re looking for is a level of sophistication, without a soundtrack of thumping dance tunes.
In our tireless search for the perfect gastropub, we’ve come across what is, quite possibly, the Cotswolds’ finest: The Kingham Plough, near Chipping Norton. With a former sous-chef of The Fat Duck at the stove, and situated in a picture-postcard-perfect village, it seems that all boxes have been ticked. Emily Watkins (the chef) and Adam Dorrien-Smith own the place and have fully refurbed the pub to include rooms upstairs (for you to retire to once you’ve drunk the bar dry and tried every item on the irresistible menu). Fear not if you’re expecting a take on Blumenthal’s fabled snail porridge: Watkins’ deliciously concise menu is a lesson in restraint, simplicity and the glory of local produce. Dishes include crisp duck egg with watercress sauce and peppered bacon; potted duck with sourdough toast; white onion, pumpkin and freshly foraged wild mushroom tart; fillet of Hereford beef, triple cooked chips, garden leaf salad, horseradish and mustard butter; treacle tart with vanilla ice cream. All of our dreams come true. There are even pig’s ears on the menu for your pooch; just one of many clever, detailed, thought out touches. We think they’re onto a winner.
We’re planning a visit for the next few weeks, so we will post a full review here soon. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, give it a visit and let us know your thoughts.
The Kingham Plough, Kingham, Chipping Norton
Tel: 01608 658 327