While the Cotswolds is slightly outside of our lovely county of Warwickshire, it’s within touching distance so a popular choice for day trips, weekend breaks and general foodie fun. So with that in mind, I like to include news and reviews of places you might like, and I think this could be a good’un.
In the summer I discovered The Kingham Plough (which I’m yet to review but will get to it ASAP) and now its owners, Matt and Katie Beamish – who also run The Hare at Milton-under-Wychwood – have taken on a third venue.
The Crown at Church Enstone in West Oxfordshire, a beautiful, Cotswold stone building, has been fully refurbished and has just reopened, offering seasonal menus, a cosy log fire, and bedrooms too – making it perfect for a bite to eat after a winter walk, or maybe even a little break.
Husband-and-wife team Matt and Katie have been on the lookout for a third site in the area for some time, and reckon they’ve found the perfect place.
There’s a flagstoned bar with working fireplace, exposed oak beams, rendered Cotswold stone walls, reclaimed timber floors and locally sourced vintage and antique furnishings, original contemporary artworks and old photographs and prints, all to create a charming country pub vibe.
If you’re planning to stay, there are five bedrooms upstairs, all names after neighbouring villages and hamlets, complete with lovely views, en-suite bathrooms all the bells and whistles.
The re-launch brings seasonal menus of modern British dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, all championing fresh, local produce. They promise “innovative twists, re-imagined pub classics and daily changing specials” alongside an all-day, seasonal bar snack menu, as well as Sunday roasts, a children’s menu and water bowls and biscuits for dogs.
Drinks-wise, there’s a newly curated wine list, weekly changing local and guest ales and artisanal soft drinks.
The Crown lies at the heart of the Cotswolds village of Church Enstone, close to Chipping Norton, Blenheim Palace, Bicester Village and Soho Farmhouse. Church Enstone also boasts 12th Century Saxon church St Kenelms’, which was mentioned in the Canterbury Tales and The Crown was originally built to accommodate workers who restored and developed the Church in the 16th Century.
Rumour has it that Charles I once stayed at the inn (and why it is called the Crown) when he visited from Oxford.
Matt Beamish said: “This hidden gem of a pub in a gorgeous village is so warm and inviting and heaving with old-world charm. We couldn’t have found a place in a more idyllic setting.”
(All images courtesy of Ben Nicholson, www.snappyben.co.uk)