Picturesque, Michelin starred pub outside of Bristol serving uncomplicated and satisfying dishes
My second visit to this very attractive pub overlooking Chew Magna. It is run by Josh and sister Holly Eggleton with Josh as the head chef and Holly on front of house. It is a veteran Michelin star holder since 2011 and has not had to rest on style as its forte I am pleased to say. Far from it, its main kudos comes from honest cooking and simple dishes done well. My second visit here left me walking away with another feeling of the journey being absolutely worth it and would say this is how you stand a very good chance of finding your visit. Worth doing if you have not done.
I do love Michelin starred pubs where the food is genuinely good. They have the best of both worlds in terms of unpretentiousness and good food at the same time. Whilst sat at the back area of Pony and Trap you get to enjoy a sense of being right in the countryside and enjoying home made crisps with cheese and garlic dip whilst perusing the menu. Sourdough is also homemade and made with spelt and toasted seeds. The butter here is also a pleasure to have, both giving you sense of being in good hands.
I opted for some snacks on this visit, namely goats cheese with apple gel, apple shavings and pepper which was fine and with smooth texture. A properly made scotch egg also had to be done and proved to be divine, with a delicate and lovely homemade sauce. I also opted for the cheese on toast with truffle puree because of what it was – no other selling was required(!). The cheese used was baron bigard cheese, but actually I found this to be just a little too heavy and bitter as a cheese flavour for the truffle and thought this would actually be better with comte or simple cheddar. Good to try nevertheless.
The main turned out to be one of best venison’s I have ever had, raising the whole meal to another level. The venison was perfectly tender and flavoursome and with curried oats was warm and comforting with perfectly seasoned squash and supporting vegetables. The curried oats were actually a masterstroke and the squash purée, game jus, red wine reduction, with chive oil and beer cooked onions (Bukcombe pickled onions) and ragu with a potato foam and onion seed granola was absolutely knock out. I have not had a better venison dish in three Michelin starred restaurants and this was just brilliant. Bravo Josh.
The meal came to £42 and for all that I had this was a bargain and a great example of where you can get superb cooking in this country for such as reasonable price and am frankly looking forward to going back here whenever I can.
Food Grade: 86%
This was a lovely place to visit. The sad thing for me was that it was dark by the time I got there on passing Bristol back to the middle shires of Southern England, so I missed the Pony & Trap’s views from their back garden, but as a headline, this didn’t stop enjoying the warm glow of hospitality and fine treats inside.
Josh Eggleton (who is on his third appearance on a wonderful annual programme I enjoy, The Great British Menu) and his sister Holly run the pub and the stand out things for me on my visit was how accommodating the service was, numerous herbs and vegetables used are grown in the owner’s garden and the fact that the snacks on the menu were so reasonable and enticing.
I was actually torn between which snacks to go for….so clearly the only thing to do in this situation is do all of them. The pickled onions in creamed sherry were gorgeously softened – strange to think chomping on onions would be a good idea, but the pickle had completely toned these down with a wonderfully soft and creamy sherry flavour making it completely doable. The hand made crisps were good enough to enjoy on their own without the pleasant garlic dip, but the crowing glory was the soft, mini Yorkshire pudding with steak tartare and a drizzle of jus and blob of soft horseradish. I think I really could have just had eight of the latter and called it a night, but I wanted to try as many things as possible so, headed to the starters.
After the home made bread (pleasurable) I tried the green and red tomato starter which, with the salt from the ewe’s curd and accompanying salt was very good (such sweet tomatoes). This, with the side of bone marrow mash (which was a fair variation) nearly put me at very full with just enough room to try the ice creams (and home made cookies) the nicest of which for me was the guernsey milk ice cream without a shadow of doubt – I had just missed the popcorn variety which was a shame and will try and grab next time if it’s being done.
This was genuinely comforting meal with some no messing use of ingredients and nice ideas being done in a simple and lovely way on the whole. Probably more staggering is that this Michelin starred dinner making me utterly stuffed having a 7 course tasting menu in effect, produced a bill of £28 (without booze owing to a late night drive). This is pretty incredible and underpins what I enjoy discovering and sharing for all, to know what is actually out there in terms of this kind of return.
A definite pin in the for food map with homely service and a no brainer for a return visit.
Food Grade: 82%
Location (Click google logo for directions)