I recently found this gorgeous place in Wiltshire, a proper 'pub' with great food, so I was not surprised to see that they had just won an award. Read this.
The Horse & Groom in Charlton, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire has scooped the Wiltshire Pub/Restaurant award in the 2009 Wiltshire Life awards, celebrating the people that make Wiltshire great.
The awards, set up by the magazine to recognise excellence in several different categories to put this ‘magnificent county even more firmly on the map’, were presented by Malmesbury writer and broadcaster Penny Junor, perhaps best known for her writing on the royals. The grand surroundings of the Earl of Pembroke’s home, Wilton House, near Salisbury, provided the ideal setting for the presentations.
The Wiltshire Pub/Restaurant award went to The Horse & Groom because they judges said ‘they have a clear passion for food and drink’. ‘
The chef is Paul Nicholson. He was previously at the Michelin-starred Bath Priory Hotel. His food is seductive and includes Diver caught scallops, fresh linguini, hand picked Portland crab & Saffron fish sauce; Cornish lamb, roasted garlic mash and baby vegetables in a piquant wine & rosemary sauce; and Warm poached figs in puff pastry with honey mascarpone. A rare treat is the Charlton bar, with its flagstone floor and roaring log fires in winter, where lunch is surprisingly affordable and very good.
Solidly elegant, this striking 16th century coaching inn, built in Cotswold stone with a secret walled garden where to enjoy fine wines, epitomises what a good country pub should offer: a warm welcome to visitors and locals alike, relaxed, comfortable interiors, award-winning food and a picturesque rural location. It's also listed in the 2009 Michelin Eating Out in Pubs and in the Restaurant Guide, and it was the 2008 AA 'Pick of Pubs'. Not bad.