The Kingham Wow!
The Kingham Plough has a fantastic reputation for excellent food and hospitality made famous by chef patron and Great British Menu winner, Emily Watkins. Now under the ownership of experienced hospitality operators, Matt and Katie Beamish, B4’s Richard Rosser found that Emily’s legacy was in safe hands with a wonderful night’s stay and sumptuous meal.
Having now moved to Dorset to begin new ventures, it was important to Emily to sell the lease of The Plough to individuals who held the same values that she did. Having recently been awarded a prestigious Good Food Award for Gastro Pubs 2020 and also recognised by the Good Food Awards in the Gastro Pub category in 2019, Emily has clearly chosen well. Matt Beamish acknowledged that as it wasn’t in any way broke, there was little to fix.
“We weren’t planning to change a great deal to the format that has made this such a popular destination spot, but hope we have injected our own energy and personalities into the business to create a real community hub for locals whilst offering visitors from further afield a restorative escape.”
That’s exactly what we experienced on a busy Friday night in January. We couldn’t have wanted for more as we were shown to our beautiful room overlooking the green, literally dropped our bags and headed to the restaurant for a long awaited drink and a knockout meal.
Having worked with the likes of Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver and Fergus Henderson, and for hotels across the country, Matt and Katie Beamish have completed a thorough, but sensitive refurbishment of this 17th century Cotswold pub’s communal spaces, and plan to update its six guest rooms this year.
New Head Chef, Jonny Pons, formerly of Slaughters Country Inn, Ellenborough Park Hotel and The Feathered Nest, continues the pub’s legacy of championing local artisan products and sourcing the very best fresh, local, seasonal ingredients for both the new, all-day bar menu and à la carte menu. Without doubt one of the finest meals you could wish for, all accompanied by a fine bottle of Finca Manzanos Rioja.
The menu was as jam-packed as the restaurant with flavourful modern British dishes with Mediterranean influences alongside pub classics. Jonny, and his sous chef, Ash Farand, and the rest of the kitchen team, make everything in-house, aside from the Sourdough, made by Marks Cotswold Bakery, just down the road. The kids’ menu features mini burgers, fish & chips and seasonal pasta dishes. Vegetarian dishes form part of the à la carte menu and gluten-free and vegan options are always available.
Behind the oak-panelled bar, a list of expertly crafted seasonal cocktails (which we may have enjoyed after dinner!), a well-kept selection of craft ales and traditional local beers by Hook Norton Brewery with regularly changing guest ales. On the carefully curated wine list, there is a selection of sixteen wines by the glass and sixty-one by the bottle. The Plough’s gin collection includes its house pour, WoodBros Gin, distilled in Oxford by brothers Ed and Charlie.
To complement food and hospitality of the highest level, Matt and Katie have also ensured that it is savoured in stylish surroundings. Original features and contemporary comforts rub shoulders with flair across the newly refurbed communal spaces, with cosy nooks to kick back and relax in with drinks by the open fire in the winter or the sun-drenched terrace in spring and summer.
There’s a well-balanced mix of comfortable country chic and contemporary fixtures and fittings, country antique furniture covered in stylish upholstery, quirky vintage finds sourced locally, and on the walls, original photographs, sketches and prints by renowned 20th century artists (all for sale). The redesign of the bar was undertaken by Katie’s brother, George Harding, previously of Benchmark, who now owns Object Atelier in London.
Matt, Katie and their well-trained team of friendly, efficient staff welcome everyone, including dogs, who are well catered for with treats and water bowls. Two dog-friendly bedrooms are also available for overnight stays. Each of The Plough’s six comfortable and spacious guestrooms, all en-suite, include five Super-King and one King-size bed. Twin beds are available in two of the bedrooms. All rooms are sympathetically decorated to suit the rural setting and come with luxurious touches such as mohair throws, glossy magazines, free WIFI, digital radio, tea and coffee-making facilities, fresh milk and home-made treats.
All en-suite bathrooms have baths with showers, (two with freestanding rolltop baths) and come with a range of locally made Bramley bath products.
Kingham itself is a picturesque village within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Nestled in the Evenlode Valley in Oxfordshire, the village lies on the B4450 between Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton. Chipping Norton is five miles from Kingham and is also close to Soho Farmhouse, Daylesford Farm Shop and Spa, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Upper and Lower Slaughters, Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Chipping Campden, Woodstock, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cheltenham
Kingham Station lies a mile from the village centre. GWR Trains from London Paddington, take 1.5 hours
Sustainability and transparency of where products come from is really important to the Beamish’s and is made possible by their support of local producers and suppliers, which in turn creates connections within the local community.
Hosting local events is key to the involvement of Kingham village and the surrounding areas for The Plough. Each year, a May Day Farmers market is held which invites local producers to sell and promote their wares. This event along with others supported by the pub raises money for Kingham Primary School and other local Charities.
Thank you to Matt, Kate and their hugely impressive team for a truly memorable experience…we will be back. Thanks also to Bridget Stott for arranging.