The residents of West Hanney must be over the moon at news that brilliant GM Owain Llwyd Jones has joined up with talented chef Luke Mayor to reopen their beloved village pub The Plough.
The community pub has been through five landlords in as many years, but Owain and Luke are there to stay and have big plans for the local hostelry.
“We want it to be a village pub more than anything, so you can come in with muddy boots after a dog walk or celebrate a birthday here”
Owain worked at The White Hart in Fyfield, and before that for Peach Pubs and Jacob and Fields, and is well known and much loved in Oxfordshire. His larger than life, welcoming persona is “made for pubs” and running his own place has always been his dream.
So when approached by White Hart chef Luke Mayor, whose family live in West Hanney, to take on and open up The Plough themselves, he jumped at the chance.
“My mum texted me to say the village pub’s tenancy was up for grabs,” Luke says. “There have been so many tenants there that didn’t work out, and it’s such a lovely pub with its thatched roof. It’s so pretty and has a bar and a dining room and a lovely garden, so I contacted Owain and luckily he saw it’s potential too.”
The pub near Wantage and Abingdon, which seats around 50 inside and up to 40 outside, is currently undergoing a lick of paint and Luke and Owain plan to reopen on May 28.
“We want it to be a village pub more than anything, so you can come in with muddy boots after a dog walk or celebrate a birthday here. And we will have the rugby on and Cheltenham Races, an Aunt Sally team, that sort of thing,” Owain says. “We don’t want there to be hushed tones, we like a bit of atmosphere and some fun.
Food-wise Luke, 23, is planning to serve pub classics – burgers, roast, fish pie, fish and chips alongside a seasonal small plates menu and bar snacks. The pub’s pizza ovens will also be in full use, as well as BBQs, and a takeaway service is also planned.
“Ooh and my dad’s sausages,” Owain pipes up, “all the way from Wales, so we’ll do a stunning sausage and mash dish.”
“Kay and Mark (Chandler) at th white hart fyfield have been so supportive. We couldn’t have done this without them”
“We want to be a community led business so we are using local suppliers wherever possible so we are using Pickle and Lime veg, wine from Grape Minds and Oxford Wine Company, beer from XT, Tap Social and Loose Cannon, eggs from Ben Lay, meat from Aubrey Allen, dairy from Eaton, and then some meat from my granddads pig and sheep farm in Cwmgiedd, which is now being run by my dad. “Here try a sausage,” he adds proudly taking one off the grill. “They are absolutely delicious,” Owain adds in his unmistakably Welsh accent.
So how does the White Hart in Fyfield feel about losing two of their members of staff “Kay and Mark (Chandler) have been so supportive. We couldn’t have done this without them. They made me realise that we can do this. They run such a brilliant operation and work so hard.”
As for the responsibility, both Owain and Luke are fired up and confident of the challenges ahead. “It’s a big decision and we are taking a leap of faith for sure but we are really excited and totally ready,” Owain says. “It’s going to be amazing.”
For more information go to https://theploughatwesthanney.co.uk or follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @ploughathanney.