Lovely 16th-c inn with atmospheric furnishings, super wines by the glass, real ales and delicious food; smart bedrooms
The good pub guide review
In a picturesque location opposite the green in a tranquil village, this smart yet cosy inn charms readers year after year - it's a winner in every way. It's a lovely place to stay, with six rooms above the inn itself and another six more spacious ones around a courtyard, all imaginatively and elegantly furnished; breakfasts are particularly good. Most people head first to the friendly, bustling main bar: ancient beams and other characterful furnishings (high-backed wooden settles, gate-leg or pedestal tables), a warming log fire in a stone inglenook, fine old flagstones and sporting memorabilia relating to rugby, racing, cricket and hunting. To the left, a drinking area has built-in wall benches, stools and dining chairs around wooden tables, rugs on bare boards and a woodburning stove. Attentive, welcoming staff serve Hook Norton Hooky and guests from breweries such as Butcombe, Prescott, Purity and Wye Valley on handpump, a super wine list with 15 by the glass, an excellent choice of malt whiskies and gins; background music, board games and cards. There are seats out in front and rattan-style armchairs around tables in the pretty back courtyard garden with a pagoda; maybe free-range bantams and ducks. The same professional licensees also run the Swan at Swinbrook (in Oxfordshire).
The good pub guide food review
Local, organic produce is used for the impressive seasonal food. Dishes include open sandwiches, devilled lambs kidneys, pigeon breast with sour cherries, chicory, parmesan crumb and pigeon jus, goats cheese, fig and pear tart, sharing boards, caponata-stuffed courgette, red pepper and bean stew with green beans, burger of the day and chips, pork cutlet with star anise and carrot purée, salami, sprout flowers and jus, tiger prawn linguine with garlic, coriander and chilli, stone bass fillet with smoked pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled red onions and samphire, and puddings such as lemon posset with toasted meringue and shortbread and dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce, raspberries and marshmallow.