I love The Kingham Plough, a brilliant but unassuming gem perched in the stunning countryside in the Cotswolds, whose nostalgic quaint dining room immerses you in nostalgia and fine food.
Recently taken over from Emiy Watkins by Matt and Katie Beamish, its small interior has meant it’s still quite restricted in terms of numbers. Not any more because outside in the extensive car park is a stylish, covered, marquee style restaurant serving the same wonderful food in a more of a light-hearted atmosphere.
(READ ABOUT THEIR RECENT AWARD HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/kingham-is-oxfordshires-new-gastropub-mecca-with-two-entries-in-the-estrella-awards-top50-gastropubs-list/)
It was such a welcoming sight as we processed through the archway into what was the car park, a blaze of lights and tables, the hum of conversation and laughter greeting us.
There are two covered areas, one right outside the pub and our arena for the night – a separate marquee area, complete with heaters and an outdoor barbecue where giant prawns, steaks and mackerel were being grilled.
The menu was as whimsical as ever; head chef Jonny Pons‘ rustic, seasonal, almost old-fashioned food much admired and fought over as we sipped our topnotch cocktails.
READ ABOUT KINGHAM PLOUGH’S NEW TEAM HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/review-hard-shoes-to-fill-at-the-kingham-plough-but-new-owners-matt-and-katie-beamish-and-head-chef-jonny-pons-are-a-winning-combination/
The leek, potato and watercress soup with truffle and herb oil with a homemade roll (£6.50) sounded irresistible, as did the crab rarebit on sourdough with a watercress and apple salad.
The wood fired scallops in half shell with garlic butter (£4 each) and the chicken liver parfait with rhubarb, Sauternes jelly and brioche (£9) were also a must.
What a start! The soup was bright in spring colour, dense in flavour and light in texture with that subliminal truffle flavour running through it. The scallops were huge and much fought over, the parfait (see above) pretty as a picture, the perfect pairing of sweet and sour.
Then the wood fired giant tiger prawns with garlic and lemon butter, leaves and house fries (£22) which were perfectly charred and tasted as good as they looked. The chargrilled asparagus, hollandaise, roquette and parmesan (as a main) was smokey and tender, the Tamworth pork chop succulent and generously coated in garlic butter (£18), and the pan roasted bass with samphire, Salt Pig chorizo and a Romesco sauce a wonderfully balanced dish, plus lots of hot, thin chips thrown in for good measure and some Provence rose to wash it all down.
What a feast, what an evening! We could scarcely believe our luck as we enjoyed the conversation, meal and ambiance, as we would any other evening.
The desserts only served to prove our point – a rum baba with pineapple compote, almond brittle and milk ice cream was as wonderfully boozy, fruity and exotic as it sounded. The Adffogato with a hazelnut and date biscotti, with a shot of Disaronno, the perfect finale. The sourdough pane tonne bread and butter pudding with an Amoretto creme anglaise (£7) was glorious. But the strawberry bavarois (try pronouncing that after a few drinks) with gin & elderflower granita and honeycomb took the biscuit (see what I did there) as evidenced in the picture.
The Kingham Plough is certainly back on the gastro map, but more than that, it has excelled at providing us with a new outdoor dining option, come rain or shine, whether we can eat indoors or not.
For details and booking go to The Kingham Plough https://thekinghamplough.co.uk