Interestingly refurbished former coaching inn with real ales, a good wine list, inventive food and seats outside; bedrooms
The good pub guide review
Owned by the sister and brother team behind soap company Baylis & Harding, this sensitively remodelled 18th-c inn is far from an ugly duckling. Handy for Stratford-upon-Avon and surrounded by Cotswold countryside, it's a lovely place to stay and the bedrooms (each named after a species of duck) are extremely comfortable and well equipped; first class breakfasts too. The bustling bar has an open fire, high chunky leather chairs around equally high metal tables on flagstones, with more leather chairs against the counter where they serve Purity Mad Goose and a weekly guest such as Church Farm IPA on handpump, real cider, eight wines by the glass and cocktails (including the Pink Duck); a wall of glass-faced boxes holds bottles of spirits belonging to regular customers. Three interconnected dining rooms have a mix of dark wooden tables surrounded by leather and other elegant chairs on pale floorboards, a sofa here and there and a two-way woodburning stove in an open fireplace. Throughout, cartoons and arty photographs hang on pale or dark grey walls and flowers are arranged in big vases; background music and board games. At the back, another dining room (also used for private parties) leads to a decked terrace with basket-weave armchairs, cushioned sofas and small modern metal chairs and tables under large parasols; there's also a small lawn with fruit trees.
The good pub guide food review
Tempting food includes bread and nibbles (such as pork crackling with apple sauce), warm goats cheese and red onion jam tartlet with dressed rocket, Asian-inspired crispy duck salad with hoisin dressing, ale-battered cod and chips, wild mushroom, chive and parmesan ristto, 8oz fillet steak with chips and peppercorn sauce, and desserts such as vanilla pannacotta with strawberry sorbet and dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice-cream. At press time, they were offering just a set menu: two courses for £24, three for £27.
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