Which London bars won big?

Thursday 27 January 2022 5:55 am

Suffolk’s Unruly Pig has been voted the UK’s best gastropub. The ‘Britalian’ pub-restaurant in Bromeswell is one of five East Anglian pubs in the annual Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs List for 2022, with 18 in London and the South East being recognised.

“This list is the gold standard. It’s the business. To be a part of such a prestigious group is a huge honour and a very real privilege,” says Unruly Pig head chef Dave Wall. His highly-praised menu included treacle-cured trout, Orford lobster risotto and saddle of hare.

The runner-up was Stosie Madi’s Parkers Arms in Lancashire, with Yorkshire’s Star Inn, currently closed after a fire, finishing third, and Michael Wignall’s The Angel at Hetton in the Yorkshire Dales rounding out the top four.  

“Parkers has been a labour of love,” says Madi, who has worked alongside her business partner Kathy Smith since they opened a venture in Gambia in 1989. “Before we took over it was an abandoned, run down pub that had traded unsuccessfully for years.

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“Breaking into the list as an indie female-owned business is a wonderful achievement and a real morale-booster for our team.”

London’s top ranking venues include The Guinea Grill, which has been a steakhouse since 1952 and whose specialities include beef, oyster and horseradish pie, and Stockwell’s Canton Arms, which offers dishes including rabbit leg, venison neck and Essex Coast skate wing. Highgate is represented by the Bull & Last, known for its north Essex short horn sirloin and prime rib, and The Red Lion & Sun, a dine-in and takeaway with baked Dorset Crab Basque-style and coq-au-vin pie on the menu.

Sally Abé’s The Blue Boar in Westminster was voted One to Watch  and The Princess of Shoreditch , headed up by Great British Menu’s Ruth Hansom, earned Newcomer of the Year.

Other pubs named in the list include Tom Kerridge’s The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, The Pyne Arms in Barnstaple,  Halifax’s Shibden Mill Inn,  Stephen Terry and Henry Macleod’s The Hardwick in Abergavenny, Newcastle on Tyne’s The Broad Chare, Dominic Chapman’s The Beehive in West Berkshire, Bidborough’s The Kentish Hare, and Daniel Smith’s Fordwich Arms near Canterbury.

The Top 50 Gastropubs list, now in its 13th year, ranks the UK’s best gastropubs according to votes from more than 400 pub owners, food critics and other industry experts.  

The gastropub has been at the heart of the British dining revolution that’s taken place over the last three decades, with classic ‘spit and sawdust’ pubs with dartboards and one arm bandits being muscled out by homely bars with in-house sommeliers and beard-to-tail butcheries. Landlords have become chef patrons and boozers usurped by gourmands.

 The Eagle in Clerkenwell, run by David Eyre and Mike Belben, is often touted as the first UK gastropub, opening its doors in 1991. 

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