IF you don’t live in the immediate area, chances are you may not be familiar with The Chequers Inn in Ettington near Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you are, you may not be aware of the recent changes its undergone following an extensive refurbishment.
Its popularity is already demonstrated by its listing in The Good Pub Guide – but the new makeover and menu have arrived to put it firmly on the map for even more of us who appreciate good food done well – and are prepared to venture out to neighbouring districts to get it.
A fresh and modern interior now greets visitors to the 18th– century pub, which has also seen an extension to its kitchen.
Introduced with it is an exciting new menu. Described as ‘pub classics with a twist’ – using fresh locally-sourced ingredients – the results are simply mouthwatering.
My starter of Pork and Chorizo Scotch Egg, below, was one of the tastiest dishes I’ve enjoyed for some time (and I eat out a lot!) My husband’s verdict on his garlic, mushrooms on parmesan toast from the Specials Menu, was not dissimilar. Simple ingredients used well.
My Braised Lamb Shoulder (served with Spring Greens, Minted Crushed Potatoes and Red Wine Jus) was no exception. It was deliciously tender – too tasty not to finish despite the sizeable portion.
And hubby’s Soya and Honey-glazed Chicken Supreme (with Sauteed Spinach and Potato Rosti and Lemongrass and Spring Onion Cream) was devoured – and complimented on (and his sophisticated palate can normally be replied upon to find fault with something on his plate.)
They say less is more (whomever ‘they’ are!) and this could certainly be true where the desserts menu is concerned. Having fewer choices wasn’t an issue due to the tempting selection on offer. The Dark Chocolate and Orange Tart with Pistachio Ice Cream, below, definitely proved a winner at our table. A good-sized portion too for those with the constitution to appreciate it after two previous hearty platefuls.
My husband’s cheese board was also plentiful – but got polished off in double quick time and was an appetising finale to the feast.
There’s also a range of ever-changing sharing platters and seasonal plates, Sunday roast and a children’s menu, including pizza, burger and fish and chips.
A vast wine and beer list, which includes the Chequers own pale ale, and a cocktail list boasting a plethora of classic drinks, from Kir Royale’s and Aperol Spritz’s to Caipirinhas and Negronis, completes the offer.
The new menu nods to Asian influences, with dishes such as Masala Chickpea Chaat with Toasted Pitta Bread and Chicken Curry. But overall, the vision of simple rustic dishes bursting with flavour, is a triumph for proprietors Paul and Aman Bhandal.
They said: “We are extremely excited to welcome customers back to the Chequers Inn. We hoped to give the pub a new lease of life, but were very aware of not losing the charm which made The Chequers Inn the warm, welcoming place it was before. We hope to provide the full experience for customers – great service, great food and a great atmosphere -and hope that they enjoy the new décor and menu as much as we did creating it.”
It’s certainly a thumbs up from me – and a welcome new addition to our own list of now familiar pub favourites.
For more information about The Chequers Inn visit: www.the-chequers-ettington.co.uk