Nothing beats the smell, warmth and crackle of an open fire, especially after a long walk in the countryside. As the cold weather descends, we pinpoint our favourite restaurants where you can dine next to the flames.
We’ve also compiled a list of London restaurants with open fires – check it out here.
Beverley, East Yorkshire
Dating back to the 15th century, James Mackenzie’s atmospheric pub looks out across Dalton Park. The interior is made for winter, with spacious dining rooms filled with polished wood, brown leather chesterfields and, of course, a large open fire. The selection of hand-pulled ales changes regularly and compliments the hearty British cooking which has impressed Michelin inspectors for six years in a row.
Thorpe Market, Norwich
Set in 1,000 acres of deer park in the grounds of north Norfolk’s 18th-century Gunton Hall, this traditional pub is owned by art dealer Ivor Braka. It’s got all the trappings of your average local, but here the dart board shares the wall space with Damien Hirst originals. The open fire in the main dining room serves two purposes: to warm the room and cook the food. With the smells of roasting meat filling the room, it’s impossible not to order a rib of beef to share or a rump of the estate’s red deer, all served with crispy goose-fat roast potatoes.
Over the past decade, Tom Kerridge’s restaurant has taken hearty tavern cuisine to a new level, becoming the first pub to be awarded two Michelin stars in 2012. The secret of his success is a style of cooking that draws on contemporary British flavours and mixes them with rustic French tastes. Michelin inspectors also judge a restaurant’s atmosphere, and the roaring open fire has to have helped in their decision – it’s certainly pleased our members over the years.
This gastropub is situated on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park, spoiling walkers with roaring fires and decent ale at the end of a long day on the hills. The restaurant prides itself on offering a huge choice of traditional pub dishes as well as a few Italian classics. It may sound like an unusual mix for a cosy country tavern, but it works and the linguini with fresh white crab and brown shrimp is as delicious as the beer-battered haddock and chips. Thankfully, the wine list passes muster too.
Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland
Just about every Michelin-starred restaurant sources local produce, but few can rival the legitimate claims made by The Albannach. The shellfish comes from down the road in Ullapool and Lochinver, while the beef and lamb is sourced direct from a nearby free-range farm; local crofters supply the eggs and even the pottery is made by a neighbour. The blazing open fire and sea and mountain views add to the restaurant’s incredible sense of place.
While we regularly secure tables for our members at Heston Blumenthal’s lauded Fat Duck, many choose to try a scaled-down, less experimental version of his cooking at his 15th-century inn just down the high street. The menu offers historic British dishes such as oxtail and kidney pudding and the ales are chosen on how well they accompany the seasonal cuisine. The tables for two by the large fire are the best seats in the house.
This isolated pub to the east of Oxford has attracted a lot of attention from foodies ever since it claimed its first Michelin star in 2012 and it continues to go from strength to strength. The seasonal cooking is influenced by every corner of the British Isles and chef Gerd Greaves only chooses the finest produce available. The cooking is a major reason guests navigate the winding lanes to get here, but the two log fires are what keep diners here long after their meal has finished. It’s a warm and inviting place to linger on a cold winter’s day.
This cosy bolthole to the south of the Malvern Hills beat 600 other UK contenders for the Michelin Guide’s Pub of the Year 2016 award. And deservedly so. Seating just 25 in its wonderfully charming dining room, complete with a large log burner, the chef keeps things simple with five starters, mains and desserts. The pub-grub standards have been elevated to another level here – the beef and ale pie is filled with slow-cooked ox tail and Longhorn rib and the fish and chips is replaced with Cornish cod fillet served with middle white pork belly and fondant potatoes.
After four AA rosettes and a top 100 ranking in the Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year awards, a Michelin star feels like a logical next step for this interesting Surrey restaurant. The beautiful Tudor farmhouse setting – complete with roaring dining room fire – belies the uber-contemporary cooking that takes place in the small kitchen. Here, owner Fernando Stovell brings Mexican flair to his menus and sources unheard-of ingredients like huitlacoche – a highly prized Central American fungus.
Last updated on 30 November 2016