Thursday, 9 December 2010


Sourcing food locally is chicken feed for this award-winning Wiltshire inn. They do it in the back garden!

Cutting down on ‘food miles’ and sourcing food locally is what most responsible bars and restaurants do today. But at The Horse & Groom in Charlton, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire, using local produce takes on a whole new meaning.

Here guests are invited to the back garden to search for their own freshly laid eggs at breakfast, as this popular inn has added a dozen chickens to their team! The staff are on hand to fetch the free-range eggs, but nevertheless some guests have embraced the idea with gusto. Every day, the chickens lay enough eggs to cater for breakfast, with eggs left over used in the preparation of other dishes.

Probably the freshest food offer in Wiltshire, raising chickens is the brainchild of resident manager Emma Dall, a lady of action when it comes to serving good, fresh, local food. Cosy in their chicken house at night, the chickens are free to roam during the day, and are kept in a happy and natural environment. ‘These are super healthy chickens’ she says, because we feed them our own fresh vegetable leftovers from the kitchen, and we also waste less by recycling some of our food waste organically’
Now Emma wants her chickens named, and is inviting the locals to suggest 12 names, offering a meal for two with champagne as a reward for the best suggestions. Look out for the ‘Name the Chickens’ suggestion box at the bar.

Emma has just introduced a great two-course menu for £10, available Monday to Saturday at lunch and featuring pub classics such as Home cooked ham with free range eggs and hand cut chips, Traditional beer battered cod and Butternut squash and rocket risotto. No prizes for guessing where the eggs come from! Fired up by the success of her fresh eggs, Emma has already planned a herb garden, which will be fully ready by next Spring, so that fresh herbs grown on site will be used in the cooking of the many dishes The Horse & Groom is rightly famous for. A vegetable patch is also planned.

Winner of the Wiltshire Life Pub/Restaurant award in 2009, the Horse & Groom continues to impress with its standard of food and service, and for its many initiatives. The Horse & Groom Inn is at The Street, Charlton, Nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9DL, Tel: 01666 823904, just a few miles from both junctions 16 and 17 on the M4. Open every day.

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