The Chequers Inn, Ettington
Warwickshire boasts some delightful country pubs and restaurants, and the summer is an ideal time to explore a little further afield to find them. So I was delighted to be invited to visit The Chequers Inn in Ettington, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, to try out their brand new menu. The Inn has just had a major refurbishment, and the refreshed menu promises pub classics with a twist alongside more refined restaurant fare, plus seasonal specials and Asian-inspired dishes. The bar already had a cheerful hum when we arrived on a Saturday evening around half seven. The new decor is fresh and works with the 18th century building; floral and botanical prints, natural wood tones and plenty of natural light lend the dining space a semi-bistro air. In the spirit of a true millennial I’d already checked out their menu online (who doesn’t love to ogle food pics?) and there were a few dishes that stood out to me as being really different to what I’d expect from a pub restaurant. I ordered the masala chickpea chaat to start, and a soya and honey glazed chicken supreme with sautéed spinach and potato rosti for the main course. Stan unsurprisingly went for meat plus meat: the pork & chorizo scotch egg with spicy tomato sauce, followed by ribeye steak.
The food was frankly exquisite. The chorizo scotch egg was flavourful and with a perfect runny yolk generously seasoned with pepper; the thin, crispy coating was a pleasant contrast to the more bread-like texture of most scotch eggs. The steak was melt in the mouth and the generous portion of peppercorn sauce, while delicious, wasn’t really needed - the meat had plenty of flavour without it.
My chicken supreme was enormous and so I was pleasantly surprised to find the chicken was still soft and not at all dry inside. The potato rosti was a perfect blend of crispy and soft and better than most roast potatoes I’ve had, and the sauce was rich but not overpowering. I’d happily have that dish instead of a traditional roast dinner anytime. The only dish I wasn’t sure of was the chickpea chaat; it had lots of different elements and great textural contrasts, but was possibly a bit heavily dressed for my taste; I found myself picking around the dressing for the crunchy bits. The pita bread that came with it though was absolutely perfect, I’d be really surprised if it wasn’t handmade on site.
The portion sizes are really generous and a three course meal was quite a stretch; I might have to go either starter or dessert in future, but it’s a nice problem to have. On this occasion I couldn’t resist the lemon and lavender bundt cake with vanilla Anglaise and candied lemon, which was soft and moist without being stodgy. The lavender flavour was surprisingly delicate and added complexity to the lemon; a really satisfying dessert. I tried a few bites of Stan’s dark chocolate and orange tart with pistachio ice cream; the tart filling was rich and possibly didn’t need the sea of chocolate sauce it came in.
While we were eating the dining area filled up with couples, families and couple of bigger groups, but service continued to be rapid and friendly; we never had to wait for anything. At £5-8 for a starter, £12-20 for a main and £6-7.50 for dessert, I’d say you get great value. The price points may be marginally higher than your average pub restaurant but the sheer quality of the food and the generous portions more than justify it. I’ll definitely be planning another visit soon; it’s the kind of place my parents would love when they come to visit, and the food is so good that I’d happily pick it over some closer to home restaurants for a celebration meal.
For more info check out
@thechequersinnettington on Instagram or visit their website here.
This post is sponsored; my experience at The Chequers Inn was complimentary in exchange for an honest review.