Lovely historic pub with fine food and a very good range of drinks; individually styled bedrooms
The good pub guide review
This popular 15th-c coaching has been run by the same friendly family for more than 80 years. It's a first class all-rounder where customers are treated with great care and respect, and we've had nothing but glowing reports on it from our readers over the years. The heavily beamed, panelled bar maintains a strongly pubby appearance with high-backed antique settles and benches, rugs on flagstones and highly polished oak floorboards, and an open log fire. Look out for the curious collection of ossified hot-cross buns hanging along a beam in the saloon bar ' the first was put there in 1906 to mark the day (a Good Friday) that Jack Turnell became licensee. The timbered restaurant has numerous old copper pots and pans hanging from beams. An impressive range of drinks includes Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Greene King IPA, Leigh on Sea Cockle Row Spit and Renown and Sharps Doom Bar on handpump, 24 gins and over 114 well chosen wines (16 by the glass). Two giant umbrellas cover the courtyard, which has very pretty hanging baskets in summer. Centuries ago, many important medieval dignitaries would have stayed here as it was the last inn before travellers heading south could ford the Thames at Highams Causeway. Today, it remains a special place to stay with individually styled, thoughtfully equipped bedrooms of all sizes, from large and grand to small and cosy.
The good pub guide food review
Impressive, up-to-date food includes pea, mint and ricotta wonton with courgette ribbons and nasturtium pesto, Maldon-cured smoked salmon with cucumber, horseradish and beetroot, lamb chump with tenderstem broccoli tempura, black olive tapenade and mustard mash potato, cod with white wine and prawn velouté, parmentier potatoes and charred baby gem, and puddings such as chocolate marquise with toffee sauce, berries and chocolate soil, and peach melba baked alaska with hot apricot sauce.