• JUDITH BAKER

Churchill Arms

Stay cosy in The Cotswolds in The Lovely Churchill Arms

The Churchill Arms is a charming boutique country pub in a quintessentially English village in the Cotswolds. But the picture postcard prettiness of the exterior, with its honey coloured limestone and climbing greenery, belies the fact that inside is one of the area’s leading restaurants serving modern cuisine of a quality you would struggle to find in some of London’s finest establishments.

The Churchill, which opened last year after extensive refurbishment, is the first venture from local boy Nick Deverell-Smith who was named the Junior Chef of the Year in 2000. Deverell-Smith has worked with some of the country’s top chefs, including Marco Pierre-White, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Waring and Eric Chavot, before becoming head chef at Soho House and then Dean Street Kitchen.

The food has gained a reputation of its own, but the Churchill also has comfortable rooms so that diners do not have to travel far for a good night’s sleep.

Upstairs in the 17th century Grade 2 listed building there are two bedrooms with oak beams, king-size beds with huge soft pillows and simple but pretty country house furnishings. From my window I could see the tiny church down the lane but heard nothing but the birds and a few distant sheep.

The bathrooms are spacious with a tub and shower. Rooms have Nespresso machine, kettle, TV and ample hanging space.

Dining

Lunch and dinner are served in the pub’s dining area. ‘Churchill Classics’ include calves liver, confit bacon, cider onions and mash, or Pork T-bone, apple, crackling, sage and mash. I had a smoked haddock soufflé with chive veloute followed by spiced cod, glazed endive, carrot puree and braised rice. Other mouthwatering dishes on the menu included Baked Sea Bass with gently Curried Mussels, and hand crafted Chicken & Mushroom Pies. Pies are something of a specialty here and the Churchill has a Pie Night every fortnight. Nick Deverell Smith prides himself on using locally sourced produce and has good relationships with all his suppliers, as well as picking herbs himself from local gardens.

Breakfast is served in the restaurant and includes fresh eggs served any style with bacon and sausage and fresh porridge with berries and honey- the perfect start to a day exploring the lovely countryside to be found here.

This being a pub as well as a restaurant, the bar at The Churchill is a charming, welcoming space with stone floors and an inglenook fireplace and featuring its own house ale, aptly called Winston, and own lager, Lawless, brewed locally in the North Cotswolds especially for the pub. Drinkers in the bar are a mixture of locals (who qualify for a special ‘locals’ wine at the attractive price of £4.95 a glass) guests and walking groups.

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