Those who have not been in a cave or a coma for the last few years will no doubt have watched, or at least heard of, The F Word, eminent chef Gordon Ramsay’s TV show. Recently, the show went in search of Britain’s best restaurant. From 10,000 nominations the list was whittled down to a few serious contenders and then week by week, finally down to just two, in a head-to-head finale which saw an Indian restaurant Lasan, based in Birmingham, narrowly take the prize from an unassuming pub, far off the beaten track, in the sleepy farming village of Keyston Cambridgeshire, The Pheasant.
So it was with great delight that my good friend Laura mentioned she had somehow managed to secure a Sunday lunch booking at The Pheasant which is, as I later discovered, booked up every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until May 2010. Apparently people put some stock in what that Ramsay fellow has to say.
Joined by another friend, Hadar, the three of us set off with excited appetites on the 90 minute drive from London (thanks Laura) about 45 minutes too late. We called ahead to say we’d be arriving past our booked time expecting to receive some kind of stuffy reprimand, but the hostess at The Pheasant was cheerful and accommodating and we were ushered straight to our table upon arrival, with maybe a touch of [justifiable] haste. I ordered a bottle of Le Petit Jaboulet Aine Viognier which was wonderfully delicious and we proceeded to order the food. Hadar had the soup of the day while Laura and I both had the game terrine, which I thought was credible and quite tasty, but not spectacular. For mains we each selected a meat dish. Laura went for the pork, Hadar the beef and I the lamb, which all arrived looking perfect and beautiful but I have to say, I was slightly underwhelmed. This is partially borne of expectation, but it seemed to me a dish of similar quality might easily be produced at my local. Enjoyable? Yes, definitely. Good quality and presentation? Absolutely. Worth the drive and price? Probably not.
The Pheasant is a charming pub in a lovely part of the country which produces good, solid, traditional British fare. If you’re in the neighbourhood, go.
Telephone: 01832 710241