It is the third time Stephen Harris’s North Kent pub has topped the list with wins in 2015 and 2016.
Entirely self-taught, Harris is one of the few chefs in the UK to practise true terroir cooking. Air-dried hams hang in the pub’s cellar, the butter is churned in house and the team even boils down the seawater to make salt.
His Shepherds Neame tenancy is no stranger to awards having been voted the best place to eat in the country in Restaurant magazine’s National Restaurant Awards for the last two years running. The pub has held a Michelin star since 2008.
“The Sportsman is a worthy pub to once again top the list,” says Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which runs the awards. “Stephen Harris has worked tirelessly to build his reputation, which stands stronger than ever in the culinary world. It is a great achievement to top the list for the third time and I would like to offer my congratulations to Stephen and his team at the Sportsman.”
Josh Eggleton’s The Pony & Trap, near Bristol, took the number two spot and last year’s winner Andrew Pern’s The Star Inn, Harome, in North Yorkshire, was ranked number three.
Craig Johnson from the Royal Oak at Paley Street, Berkshire, was named Gastropub Chef of the Year. The Oxford Blue in Windsor, Berkshire, was named Newcomer of the Year and the Unruly Pig in Woodbridge, Suffolk, won Front of House Team of the Year.
Head to the Top 50 Gastropubs website for the full list.