It seems to me that nowadays one of trends in deciding for a Michelin Guide recommended restaurant is the emphasis on restaurant setting formality, an extensive wine list and exclusive food ingredients.
As one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in our city, The Pony and Trap at Chew Magna reminds us that traditional refinements always make a more outstanding impression compared with the fashionable trends that change at whim. Having visited the Pony (as called by its regulars) a few times before, each experience never disappoints and its consistency in food and service quality make you want to return for more.
Set in a 200 years old building with stunning rural surroundings in Chew Magna, the pub and restaurant is owned and managed by young chef, Josh Eggleton with his sister Holly who runs the front of house. Born and raised in this area, Josh began his career at 17 at a local Chew Magna pub and has worked in some of finest restaurants in the world in Sicily, New York and California before taking over The Pony and Trap in March 2006.
In my anticipated revisit of the restaurant for a casual lunch, I recalled the generous portions served from my previous visit and decided skip the starter and begin with a main course so that I could save some room for pudding. I was fortunate to book my lunch on a sunny day and the restaurant offer a picturesque landscape view of Chew Valley as my lunch setting.
I ordered the Fillet of Hake with Chicken Wings and Cockles as my main course which was beautifully presented in the usual generous portion. The unusual combination of seafood with a chicken wing was a little baffling when I saw it on the menu and this attracted me to order it to see if this could work. To my surprise, I found that every flavour on the plate worked harmoniously well together and that the char-grilled spring onion was a perfect match with the fillet.
My lunch date ordered the Fillet of Beef with Barley Risotto and the beef was cooked with great precision leaving it pink in the middle. The barley risotto is was also definitely a healthier alternative to traditional Arborio rice.
After the two main course with just the right appetite space left for pudding, I decided to order the Lemon Trio – lemon polenta cake, lemon posset and lemon sorbet, which was incredibly delicious and refreshing. The three lemon dessert was presented in tasting sizes, allowing the three different tastes to make the finish truly memorable without feeling too full.
The Chocolate mousse cake with caramel ice cream was a bold chocolate dessert with a robust, yet smooth taste. The caramel ice cream balanced the richness of the chocolate the crunchy texture in the ice cream was a sensational joy in making it a delicious dessert.
As with my previous visits, the food was thoroughly enjoyable. The service was friendly and sincere but at times seems a bit slow. The beautiful country environment and exceptional value makes it a great dining experience with each visit and I can foresee my next visit to the Pony will definitely not be long overdue.
The Pony & Trap
Newtown, Chew Magna, Bristol, BS40 8TQ
www.theponyandtrap.co.uk 01275 332627