Fri. May 24th, 2024

The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna: Review

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An evening meal at The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna with a friend of mine was the perfect pre-Christmas treat! The Michelin-starred gastropub is owned and run by brother and sister team Josh and Holly Eggleton – the former heading up the kitchen, the latter taking charge of the front of house team. It’s a warm and welcoming place nestled in the Chew Valley countryside: the garden with fantastic views, the interior smart yet informal – a world away from the stuffy atmosphere and “must be on my best behaviour” feeling that some may associate with Michelin-starred restaurants…

Price-wise, I think most will be surprised too. With two courses priced at £26 and three courses at £30 on the night of our visit, we really couldn’t complain. There’s also a lunch menu, a tasting menu and very appealing-looking Sunday roasts, along with a range of special menu evenings throughout the year.

We began our evening with complimentary nibbles: an attractively branded wooden tray housing two ceramic dishes. One featured a large handful of handcooked crisps, nice and thick with a good crunch – the other with a moreish onion and chive dip.


The Pony & Trap - Crisps


We enjoyed these while perusing the evening’s menu – the selection of dishes changes every day. In early December, when we visited, there was plenty of game on the menu, along with other warming, seasonal ingredients that made our choices pretty difficult.


The Pony & Trap - Menu


In the end, I opted for the pigeon dish as my starter: a seriously attractive plate of food that featured the bird cooked in two ways: slices of seared pink breast and a tender, melt-in-the mouth bresaola. There was plenty going on on the plate, but it all worked well together: the pickled and beautifully sweet and smooth puréed carrots adding different colours, flavours and textures; the pickled and fresh apple adding acidity and freshness, and a pickled walnut reminding me of family Christmases. The only slight disappointment was the walnut salsa, which was far too salty.


The Pony & Trap - Pigeon


I rarely see goose on a menu, so it was an easy choice: and a great one at that. When I ordered, I was informed that the goose was served pink as standard, but could be changed – I stuck with pink. Definitely a wise decision: the flesh was moist, the skin crispy and beautifully salted on top, and the layer of melting fat underneath feeling very decadent indeed. The meat was served with a generous slice of pressed potato interspersed with layers of soft onion, seasonal red cabbage and a serving of silky sprout tops.


The Pony & Trap - Goose


Sadly too full for dessert, we each ordered a coffee, which was accompanied by two different homemade sweets. The salted caramel rolo was fantastic: a casing of fruity dark chocolate with a thick, well-salted caramel filling. Also impressive were the cola cubes: The Pony & Trap managed to get across the flavour of old school cola bottle sweets in a jellied cube, topped with tangy sugar.


The Pony & Trap - Petit Fours


Service throughout was friendly and professional, and the atmosphere was fantastic – we felt completely relaxed throughout our meal. While The Pony & Trap involves a drive out of central Bristol and a meander through dark country lanes to reach it, it’s well worth a visit – great food, great service, a great atmosphere and great prices really are a winning combination.


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