Tuesday, April 20, 2021

No. 2747 - Head to Highclere: A review of The Yew Tree Inn

The revitalisation of The Yew Tree Inn at Highclere has put this country pub firmly back on the culinary radar

 

Highclere used to be known primarily for two things: The first, Highclere Castle, has been there for centuries and is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. The second is its famous Highclere Thoroughbred Racing stud, where owners have variously included Heston Blumenthal, Hugh Bonneville, Sir Alex Ferguson and Elizabeth Hurley.

 

In recent years, though, Highclere became the centre of two very public spats, the first being between the Earl of Carnarvon and Lord Lloyd-Webber over development on the Highclere estate in 2010 and the second between Marco Pierre White and his former partners over the ownership of the village’s iconic pub, The Yew Tree Inn in 2013. Alongside this, in 2010, came what truly has made the area internationally famous: the television drama series Downton Abbey.

 

The Yew Tree Inn
The Yew Tree Inn

Sat glued to their screens on Sunday evenings, millions see Highclere Castle as the fictional seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham but what they’d be better to do instead, I’d suggest, is to get in their cars and visit the revamped hub of this Hampshire-Berkshire borders community: The aforementioned Yew Tree Inn is firmly back on the map.

 

As fine a pub as “Marco Pierre White’s Yew Tree Inn” (and I say this as someone who visited most weekends) was, its last days under that regime were sadly tarnished by the bitterness of the battle between him and his former partners. Its sale to a company headed by Alexander Langlands-Pearse – which also owns, amongst other things, The Admiral Codrington in Chelsea and The Punchbowl in Mayfair – in 2012, has brought many changes and with it a new head chef and co-owner, a very likeable chap in the form of Simon Davis.

 

Davis’ pedigree itself is impressive. He started his career in the kitchen of The Box Tree in Ilkley, the renowned restaurant that Pierre White himself “brought to the map”, and also worked at Harvey Nichols. Now, though, he has truly found his forte given his role at The Yew Tree has enabled him to combine his love of food and fieldsports in the menu he has crafted.

 

Local produce and community are the focus at The Yew Tree now and gone are the white tablecloths and formality of the Pierre White era. Instead, the pub has become just that again and features a copper topped bar where local ales sit comfortably alongside two very large vessels containing Jared Brown’s Sipsmith gin and vodka. The décor is traditional yet not at all fussy and with wood burning stoves and leather sofas, this is a place where it is easy to relax.

 

The focus at the bar is an impressive display of Sipsmith gin and vodka
The focus at the bar is an impressive display of Sipsmith gin and vodka

The pub's dining areas are decorated traditionally but not overwhelming
The pub’s dining areas are decorated traditionally but not overwhelming

For those who decide to stay the night there are also eight rooms at The Yew Tree Inn
For those who decide to stay the night there are also eight rooms at The Yew Tree Inn

When I visited, on a Sunday afternoon, The Yew Tree was packed as much by locals as visitors from Ascot and Chelsea. An Indian couple sat, somewhat curiously, discussing the merits of a Toyota Prius over a Range Rover with their friends (I know which I’d take) whilst a family celebrated a birthday in another corner. Here you’ll find a cross mix of society and as Davis himself pointed out in a recent interview, The Yew Tree now is a “place where people can come in and have just a pint and a scotch egg but also enjoy scallops, turbot or prime steaks as well”.

 

To get a full flavour of the offering, we tried a wide selection of dishes from a menu that is extensive but not overwhelming. To begin, we commenced with a honey roast fig and goats cheese tart (£5.95), devilled whitebait (£6.95) and a Scotch egg lined with black pudding (£6.95). The highlight was most definitely the latter given its runny yolk was, unsurprisingly, not overwhelmed by the strength of the black pudding.

 

We continued with roast West Country beef (£14.95) and butter poached Linkenholt partridge (£13.95). Both were hearty and accompanied by seasonal vegetables. They made for ideal autumnal comfort food and for those looking for a Sunday roast this is most certainly a perfect idea.

 

To conclude, we finished with equally satisfying dishes of a dark chocolate and caramel cheesecake with honeycomb ice cream and a sticky toffee pudding with sticky toffee ice cream (both at £6.95). Downton’s Mrs Patmore would no doubt have approved.

 

The Yew Tree’s wine list follows the ethos of its new management and is extensive yet not overwhelming. House wines begin at £18 per bottle and with prices rising to £665 for a Château de Beaucastel 2007, there is something for everybody. A particular highlight was a smooth and easy drinking Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles (£11.75 a glass, £35 per bottle).

 

Simon Davis has undoubtedly brought new life to The Yew Tree and his passion for both the kitchen and the country is apparent. I wholeheartedly recommend a visit: If you do, you’ll get a much better flavour of rural life than you ever could by sitting watching Downton Abbey.

 

The Yew Tree Inn, Hollington Cross, Andover Road, Highclere, Newbury, RG20 9SE. Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 253360.

 

Follow The Yew Tree Inn on Twitter at @yewtreenews.

 

 

Subscribe to our free once daily email newsletter here:

     

    5e3b97728b2e4bf58c9ff7822befe328?s=96&d=mm&r=g
    The Steeple Times
    We research and background check our articles. If you believe we have made and error in some detail please get in touch, we seek always to write the truth and stand against a press owned by a self selected few. Please help us, we will accept all your likes, subscriptions and anonymous suport. The Editor and his team at the Steeple Times.

    12 COMMENTS

    1. I have yet to watch Downtown Abbey though I did glimpse Lord Whatever his name is walking his fat golden Labrador in his park on a lead. Whoever keeps a dog on a lead in their own grounds? A dog should be trained to the heel.

    2. I used to lunch here when Marco owned it. I was a big fan of his white tablecloths actually and found it very comfortable aside from his children screaming the house down. Will I be shocked, surprised or delighted if I return?

    3. I love this place…..
      Much more friendly than it ever was under the oft-grumpy MPW.
      They were out of a called-for wine when I went which was a disappointment
      but the food made up for it and latterly the service has much improved.
      As a vocal critic of the sort looking for great and not just good experiences and, having eaten in over 3482 different restaurants I’d be more than happy to give this a hearty recommendation. I should add that whilst I enjoy Sipsmith I was saddened that they only carried the low-fizz Fever Tree (I thik Sipsmit shows better with a more confident bubble) and the price?…….gin@£4.00;Fever Tree @£3.00…..
      That’s odd…….Shurrley shome mishtake…Ed.
      .

      • If you have eaten in 3,482 different restaurants you cannot be a small chap. More like Lord Falconer before he slimmed down!

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Advertisement
    Advertisement

    Become a Patron of The Steeple Times

    Independent journalism will only remain independent if it is supported by clear-thinking people like you. We each have the command to make a real difference. Join us.

    2,588FansLike
    2,068FollowersFollow
    10,908FollowersFollow

    Subscribe For DAILY NEWS

    Please subscribe, like and share this very British site, it helps us grow. Your data is protected and The Steeple Times will send you an email at noon everyday that we rather trust you will enjoy.

    Advertisement

    Other Stories You May Enjoy

    Hospitality vs. Headbangers 2021 – Hospitality vs. Government – Legal challenge to Boris Johnson’s government’s illogical refusal to allow indoor hospitality venues open whilst allowing indoor retail to be decided on this week.

    No. 1 - Hospitality vs. Headbangers

    Legal challenge to Boris Johnson’s government’s completely illogical refusal to allow indoor hospitality venues to open whilst allowing indoor retail to open to be decided on this week.
    Flattening a Fountain – £12 million for mansion The Fountains, 39 The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, N2 0BA, United Kingdom ($16.6 million, €13.9 million or درهم61 million) with planning permission to demolish and replace through Knight Frank – Boxy “Town Hall classical style” mansion ‘The Fountains’ on infamous The Bishops Avenue, N2 for sale for £3 million less than it listed for in 2012; this time it is destined for flattening.

    No. 2 - Flattening a Fountain

    Boxy “Town Hall classical style” dictator crib ‘The Fountains’ on infamous The Bishops Avenue, N2 for sale for £3 million less than it listed for in 2012; this time it is destined for flattening.
    A BIG Bugatti – £1.55m for 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport – Theodora Ong lusts after a 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport that currently sports the registration plate ‘BIG 3’ – For sale through Graeme Hunt for £1.55 million ($2.14 million, €1.79 million or درهم7.88 million).

    No. 3 - A BIG Bugatti

    Theodora Ong lusts after a £1.55 million 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport that currently sports the registration plate ‘BIG 3’ – but could become ‘BUG 8’
    Don’t Come On Carrie! The nation does NOT need Carrie Symonds – Matthew Steeples argues that Daniel Johnson’s “Come on, Carrie: your country needs you!” call to Boris Johnson’s wine chucking latest baby mama is nothing but claptrap.

    No. 4 - Don’t Come On Carrie!

    Matthew Steeples argues that Daniel Johnson’s “Come on Carrie: your country needs you!” call to Boris Johnson’s wine chucking latest baby mama is nothing but claptrap.
    Theresa’s in the Trough – Theresa May MP’s £1.2m in 2020 – 2021 – Matthew Steeples highlights that it is not just David Cameron who has been sticking his piggy fingers in the trough; Theresa May also ‘pocketed’ over £1.2 million in the last year alone.

    No. 5 - Theresa’s in the Trough

    Matthew Steeples highlights that it is not just David Cameron who has been sticking his piggy fingers in the trough; Theresa May also ‘pocketed’ over £1.2 million in the last year alone.
    The Spectre Shooting Brake – 1 of 1 Rolls-Royce Wraith shooting brake – 2015 Rolls-Royce Wraith converted to a shooting brake by automotive genius Niels van Roij for sale for 157% more than it originally cost – Bonhams at their ‘Les Grandes Marques à Monaco’ sale in Monte Carlo on 23rd April 2021 with an estimate of £320,000 to £480,000 ($440,000 to $660,000, €370,000 to €550,000 or درهم1.6 million to درهم2.4 million).

    No. 6 - The Spectre Shooting Brake

    2015 Rolls-Royce Wraith converted to a ‘Spectre’ shooting brake by automotive genius Niels van Roij for sale for 157% more than it originally cost.
    Courting Expletives 2021 – Emma Rivers v Jigsaw Homes Tameside – Extraordinary official civil judgment from the County Court at Manchester packed with expletives sums up the state of once Great Britain; one is simply left wondering if potty mouthed Emma Rivers was trained by the creosoted napkin slapper Dawn Ward.

    No. 7 - Courting Expletives

    Extraordinary official civil judgment from the County Court at Manchester packed with expletives sums up the state of the nation; one is simply left wondering if potty mouthed Emma Rivers was trained by the creosoted napkin slapper Dawn Ward.
    Beecher’s Muck – Far right Jay Beecher supports Ghislaine Maxwell – Ghislaine Maxwell’s latest supporter revealed to be Jay Beecher, a far right-wing political writer and ex-Ukipper with associations to the quite rightly banned-from-Facebook ‘Politicalite’

    No. 8 - Beecher’s Muck

    Ghislaine Maxwell’s latest supporter revealed to be Jay Beecher, a far right-wing political writer and ex-Ukipper with associations to the quite rightly banned-from-Facebook ‘Politicalite’
    Mucky Maxwell & Meddling Madeley – Ghislaine Maxwell apologist Richard Madeley exposed – EXCLUSIVE – Richard Madeley is an apologist for Ghislaine Maxwell suggests ‘The Steeple Times’ and his wife, of course, was an apologist for another sexual abuser, footballer Ched Evans.

    Mucky Maxwell & Meddling Madeley

    EXCLUSIVE – Meddling Richard Madeley is an apologist for Ghislaine Maxwell suggests ‘The Steeple Times’ whilst his wife, of course, was criticised for her views on sexual abusers in 2014.
    Heroine of the Hour 2021 – Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore – In becoming the first woman ever to win the Grand National, Rachael Blackmore has brought much needed joy to the racing world.

    No. 10 - Heroine of the Hour 2021 – Rachael Blackmore

    In becoming the first woman ever to win the Grand National, Rachael Blackmore has brought much needed joy to the racing world.

    Popular Articles From The Past

    Weather

    London
    broken clouds
    8.2 ° C
    8.9 °
    7.2 °
    76 %
    3.1kmh
    84 %
    Tue
    16 °
    Wed
    12 °
    Thu
    14 °
    Fri
    13 °
    Sat
    5 °