Published 24 January 2022
The Unruly Pig in Suffolk has topped this year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2022 list, knocking The Sportsman off the number one spot and climbing nine places from tenth.
The pub, in Woodbridge, was described as “winsome, warm and witty” and was rewarded for its “unfussy” menus that make the most of East Anglian produce.
Head chef Dave Wall creates dishes such as Orford lobster risotto, saddle of hare with celeriac, and acorn-fed black pork with lovage and garlic.
East Anglia has more pubs in the top 50 than ever before this year (five), with a further ten in the South West, five in the North West, four in the West Midlands and Wales, and 18 in the South East and London.
The Unruly Pig’s owner Brendan Padfield said the pub’s atmosphere reflects his own personality and has spent time creating a space with an atmosphere. Modern art lines the walls of the wood-paneled country pub; the food is new but the service and rural charm traditional.
“For any UK gastropub this list is the ‘gold standard’,” said Brendan. “It’s the business. To be a part of such a prestigious group is a huge honour and a very real privilege.
“There are some very famous chefs and talented operators here… and for us to be a small part of this amazing list means so very much to all our team. They can rightly hold their heads up proud yet again as our listing is because of their dedication, loyalty and sheer hard graft”.
The Top 50 Gastropubs list, now in its 13th year, ranks the UK’s best gastropubs according to the votes from more than 400 gastropub owners, food critics and other industry experts.
This year there were ten new entries on the list. The highest addition is occupied by Adam Handling’s The Loch and The Tyne, in Windsor. (See full list below)
He said: “I’m so happy and proud that our little pub with guest bedrooms has made it into the Top 50. This is our first time opening a pub and it’s been great fun to adopt our restaurant style into a super informal setting.
“Co-chef proprietors, Steven and Jonny, have worked for me for 13 years and have always wanted a pub, so to give them an opportunity to run one and for it to go straight into the Top 50 is bloody fantastic.”
Also new in 2022 is Sally Abé’s The Blue Boar in central London, which was voted the one to watch by the judges. Dylans at The Kings Arms in St Albans won the best front of house team and The Princess of Shoreditch in East London, headed up by Great British Menu’s Ruth Hansom, earned newcomer of the year.
Top 50 gastropubs publisher Chris Lowe said: “After a tough two years for the hospitality industry, we are thrilled to see such a strong list of contenders this year, including a new number one and several new entrants.
“The Top 50 Gastropubs provides a platform for food-lovers to explore the very best offerings across the UK. We are delighted to host this year’s event in Manchester for the first time, highlighting the range of talent across the UK. I’m incredibly delighted for Brendan and everyone at The Unruly Pig to get the number 1 spot.”
1 The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge
2 Parkers Arms, Clitheroe
3 The Star Inn at Harome, Harome
4 The Angel at Hetton, Hetton
5 Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe
6 The Sportsman, Whitstable
7 The Guinea Grill, London
8 The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury
9 The Mariners, Rock
10 The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
11 The Beehive, White Waltham
12 The Kentish Hare, Bidborough
13 The Coach, Marlow
14 The Cornish Arms, Tavistock
15 The Harwood Arms, London
16 The Red Lion and Sun, London
17 The Pyne Arms, Barnstaple
18 The Rat Inn, Anick
19 The Broad Chare, Newcastle Upon Tyne
20 The Hardwick, Abergavenny
21 The Bull & Last, London
22 The Masons Arms, Knowstone
23 The Pipe and Glass, Barnsley
24 The Longs Arms, South Wraxall
25 The Swan, Bampton
26 The White Swan at Fence, Fence
27 The Loch and The Tyne, Old Windsor
28 The Duncombe Arms, Ashbourne
29 The French House, Soho
30 The Moorcock, Norland Moor
31 The Shibden Mill Inn, Shibden
32 The Pack Horse, Hayfield
33 Heft, High Newton
34 The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon
35 The Five Bells Inn, Cullompton
36 St Kew Inn, Bodmin
37 The Castle Inn, Castle Combe
38 The Canton Arms, Stockwell
39 The Higher Buck, Waddington
40 The Duck Inn, Pett Bottom
41 The Hovingham Inn, Yorkshire
42 The Plough, Coton
43 The Three Hills, Bartlow
44 The Hind’s Head, Bray
45 The Dog at Wingham, Wingham
46 The Bell Inn, Langford
47 The Black Bear Inn, Usk
48 The Cadeleigh Arms, Tiverton
49 The Bailiwick Free House, Egham
50 The Cross, Kenilworth