Freemasons at Wiswell, Ribble Valley
Steven Smith’s Lancashire gastropub has a hatful of awards, including this year’s AA Restaurant of the Year for England. Smith is an innovator who hasn’t forgotten how traditional cooking should taste. Three courses £29.95 including aged- sirloin, Yorkshire pudding, duck fat potatoes and cauliflower cheese.
Chef’s tip: Infuse chopped mint in reduced chicken stock and finish with white balsamic to go with slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. freemasonsatwiswell.com
Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead
The Tudor mansion has one of the finest walled market gardens. Vegetables win the prize for Best Supporting Act. Three courses £35 with Irish beef or loin of Sussex pork and vegetables harvested daily from the hotel’s garden.
Chef’s tip: Ask the butcher for some beef fat. Dice it, add a little water and heat gently in a pan to render it. Pour through a sieve, skim off the fat for roasting and use the liquid for gravy. gravetyemanor.co.uk
The Hand And Flowers, Marlow
Tom Kerridge’s flagship retains its pub atmosphere while dishing up two-Michelin-starred masterpieces. Mains include treacle-cured Chateaubriand (£35); half a beer-roast chicken (£34.50); and tenderloin Wiltshire pork with pickled cabbage and garlic sausage (£29.50).
Chef’s tip: Marinate a beef fillet in black treacle and chicken stock overnight, slow-roast to 55°C, then glaze in a hot oven. thehandandflowers.co.uk
Sign of the Angel, Lacock
A pretty, half-timbered restaurant (pictured above) in an equally beautiful beautiful National Trust village just outside Bath. The three-course menu, £24, has a choice of roasts, including loin of beef and guinea fowl breast.
Chef’s tip: Stand joints on a bed of bones, begged from the supermarket, for better gravy. signoftheangel.co.uk
Swan at Hay, Hay-on-Wye
The Welsh Marches town has a hotel fit to house celebs during its annual book festival — and food to match. Three-courses £18, including Welsh Black beef rib and goose fat potatoes, or roast chicken breast with honeyed parsnips and greens.
Chef’s tip: Boil potatoes with rosemary and oregano, drain and shake the pan to fluff them before roasting. swanathay.com
White Horse, Eaton Socon
A Dickensian coaching inn on the old Great North Road that TV chef Mark Poynton revamped earlier this year. Mains include slow roast rump of beef with horseradish cream and roast leg of lamb dauphinoise and minted gravy, from £12.50.
Chef’s tip: To Coleman’s horseradish cream add fresh grated horseradish and strained crème fraîche for a more delicious version. whitehorseeatonsocon.co.uk
The Woodspeen, nr Newbury
Part cookery school and part restaurant, it’s the brainchild of John Campbell, a chef at the forefront of Modern British Cooking. Rib of Red Sussex Beef £25; loin of pork, crackling, black pudding and apple sauce £23.
Chef’s tip: To make the ultimate crackling, rub pork skin all over with kitchen paper and leave to dry 30 mins before roasting. thewoodspeen.com