Hand & Flowers voted best gastropub in the UK for third year running

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Inn

Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth pick up their award from Budvar Budweiser UK marketing controller Ian Moss (left) and host Matthew Fort
Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth pick up their award from Budvar Budweiser UK marketing controller Ian Moss (left) and host Matthew Fort
Tom Kerridge's pub the Hand & Flowers scored a hattrick at yesterday’s Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropub Awards, taking the top title for the third year in a row. 

The awards, organised by BigHospitality's sister publication the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, recognise the leading lights in the UK's gastropub sector and are based on votes by a panel of 450 industry experts including chefs, gastropub operators, food writers and journalists.

Kerridge’s two Michelin-starred pub, which was voted number one in the National Restaurant Awards​ last year, was judged the one to beat, while the Sportsman, in Seasalter, Kent came in second and the Pony & Trap in Somerset was placed third. 

Head chef at The Pony & Trap Josh Eggleton was named the Gastropub Chef of the Year, while his sister Holly Eggleton took the prize for Front of the House Manager of the Year.

Masterchef: The Professionals winner Anton Piotrowski’s pub the Treby Arms, in Devon, was the highest new entry in the Top 50 at 17, while the Ship in Wandsworth was the highest climber at 14, an impressive 35 places higher than last year.

Tom Kitchin’s Scottish pub the Scran & Scallie was named best newcomer of the year, while pub company Whiting and Hammond won Business Innovation of the Year for the launch of its Gastro magazine.

Incredible year

Speaking to BigHospitality at the awards, Kerridge said he was thrilled to win an award judged by his industry peers.

“It is really incredible for our staff and for motivation it is great to know that you are going in the right direction,” he said.

“Most of all because this is voted for by peers and people in the industry, and industry recognition is the most important.

“Everyone loves customers and everyone wants customers to be happy, but people in our industry are the most critical because they understand our problems and know we are all in the same game.

“For somebody to recognise we are doing quite good on their playing field means a great deal to us.”

Kerridge, who opened the Hand & Flowers with his wife Beth in 2005, was named AA Chef's Chef of the Year at the AA Hospitality Awards​ last September before being voted the UK’s best restaurant​ at the Restaurant Awards in October. He also now stars in his own TV show​ and recently published a book.

“The last year was just incredible, we cant pinpoint it down to any one thing, but they all count,” he said.

Tom and Beth recently completed a side extension on the Hand & Flowers, which has allowed them to add a new oak-beamed bar with a few seats reserved for walk-ins. The pair said the new space had “put the pub back” into their business by giving locals somewhere to sit and enjoy a few pints and offering the chance for people to eat at their popular pub without booking months in advance.

Looking to the future, Kerridge said he might consider taking on another business, but had no firm plans yet.

“We are in a fortunate place because we have an incredible team and business is good, so we are looking out for new business opportunities and ideas, but I have no idea what or when yet,” he said.

Expansion plans

Piotrowski, meanwhile, told BigHospitality he has plans to open second pub in Treburley, Lanston with 65 covers, which will be similar in ethos and menu to The Treby Arms.

The chef said it was a “massive surprise” to come in at 17 in yesterday’s awards. “It is a huge achievement for everyone who works for us and just goes to show that it is not just about the food, but also about hard work,” he said.

Josh and Holly Eggleton are also planning a new venture - a  60-cover fish restaurant which will also offer takeaway fish and chips. Commenting on the Pony & Trap’s success at the awards Josh Eggleton said: “I am a bit shocked to be honest. The pub has been a labour of love, we are always striving to be better in everything we do.”

Tom Kitchin said his Edinburgh pub The Scran & Scallie’s best newcomer prize was a “huge achievement” for his team.

“We’re incredibly proud to be able to prove that Scottish pub food can be done well,” he said.

“Every menu we create for the pub showcases the very best seasonal produce that we can get from our trusted suppliers. Dominic Jack and I are using the same From Nature to Plate philosophy we live and breathe at our own restaurants and applying it to in a more relaxed way at The Scran & Scallie. Top quality is everything.”

The top 50 gastropubs 2014: 

1 Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

2 The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent

3 The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset

4 The Pipe & Glass Inn, Beverley, East Yorkshire

5 The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire

6 Royal Oak Paley Street, Nr Maidenhead, Berkshire

7 Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk

8 Harwood Arms, Fulham, London

9 The Hardwick, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

10 The Bull & Last, Highgate, London

11 The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor, St Ives, Cornwall

12 Anchor & Hope, Waterloo, London

13 Hinds Head, Bray, Berkshire

14 The Ship, Wandsworth, London

15 The British Larder, Bromeswell, Suffolk

16 The Jugged Hare, Moorgate, London

17 The Treby Arms, Sparkwell, Devon

18 Canton Arms, Stockwell, London

19 Drapers Arms, Islington, North London

20 Jack in the Green, Rockbeare, Devon

21 Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon

22 Wellington Arms, Baughurst, Hampshire

23 Olive Branch, Clipsham, Rutland

24 Butchers Arms, Eldersfield, Worcestershire

25 The Long Arms, South Wraxall, Wiltshire

26 Duncombe Arms, Ellastone, Staffordshire

27 Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire

28 Freemasons at Wiswell, Cltheroe, Lancashire

29 The Plough, Longparish, Hampshire

30 Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon

31 Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh

32 Broad Chare, Newcastle, Newcastle

33 The Stagg Inn, Titley, Herefordshire

34 Nut Tree, Murcott, Oxfordshire

35 Lady Ottoline, Holborn, London

36 Anchor Inn, Walberswick, Worcestershire

37 Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon, Powys

38 Somers Town Coffee House, Euston, London

39 Kensington Arms, Cotham, Bristol

40 Vintage, Leith, Edinburgh

41 Rat Inn, Anick, Northumberland

42 Red Lion, Cricklade, Wiltshire

43 The Eagle, Farringdon, London

44 Garrison, Bermondsey, London

45 The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote, Cotswolds

46 The Angel, Hetton, North Yorkshire

47 The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk

48 The Parkers Arms, Clitheroe, Lancashire

49 The Pot Kiln, Frilsham, Berkshire

50 Wheatsheaf, Northleach, Gloucestershire

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