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Top chef in ‘disbelief’ after his pub is named one of the best in the UK

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 14th December 2021

A chef near Greater Manchester has expressed his disbelief after his pub was named one of the best in the UK.

Luke Payne, who is both head chef and co-owner of The Pack Horse in Hayfield, tweeted his delight yesterday after his pub was ranked as one of the country’s finest offerings.

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The ‘seasonal, contemporary gastropub’ in Hayfield, which is located near Kinder Scout in the Peak District, has been named as one of the top 50 gastropubs for 2022.

Swadale heritage breed pork chop with its own crackling, Navarrico Judion beans in a leek, garlic and smoked pig stock cassoulet, and salsa verde / Image: The Pack Horse Hayfield

Writing “thank you, thank you, thank you” on his Twitter, the chef tweeted his heartfelt thanks to all of those who had supported the pub during the voting process and helped them make it into the prestigious top 50 list.

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“The top 50. Wow. I genuinely didn’t think we would do it,” he wrote, seemingly in disbelief.

The news comes after the pub ‘sneaked’ into the 2021 long list at number 79, following one of the most difficult periods for hospitality in recent history.

Each year, Top 50 Gastropubs list fifty of the best in the country (although we know all too well in the north that there are many, many more than that, being particularly spoilt in this part of the country).

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Last year, however, the guide extended its list to 100 in a bid to encourage more diners to get out and spend money in their local venues.

At the time, list Editor Nicholas Robinson told the Morning Advertiser: “What’s great about gastropubs is the diversity of the food they offer. It’s not all fine dining with foams and gels, but a real mix of high-end, refined restaurant quality dishes mixed with pub classics and simple food.” 

Image: The Pack Horse Hayfield
Image: The Pack Horse Hayfield

“But what ties all amazing gastropubs together is the quality of their ingredient, the skill of the chefs behind the dishes and the environment you eat in.”

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At The Pack Horse Hayfield, there are several menus on offer: an a la carte, a bar snack menu, and a Sunday roast list.

Regularly changing to fit the seasons, those that appear on the website are sample menus just to give you a flavour for the variety on offer.

A Sunday Roast at the award-winning pub, officially listed in the Top 50 Gastropubs for 2022 / Image: The Pack Horse Hayfield

With a snacks section offering everything from rock oysters (served raw or Korean-style) to Manchester eggs and Cobble Lane charcuterie; and starters ranging from High Peak lamb kofte to Loch Fyne diver scallops and Cured chalk stream trout, the menu is certainly a varied one.

Elsewhere, impressive-sounding mains listed on the sample a la carte include the likes of local estate venison loin wellington with a pickled walnut duxelles, Swaledale mutton rogan josh, and a wild rabbit and smoked pig’s head pie with its own liquor.

Read more: The new restaurants and bars opening this week

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As for pudding, crowd-pleasing favourites include poached pears, vanilla creme brulee with shortbread, salted caramel custard tart, pistachio cream, or Baron Bigod cheese served with a treacle and walnut malt loaf and balsamic onions.

It’s easy – for us at least – to see why the Pack Horse has made it onto the list. We think Luke Payne is just being very modest, which is rather charming actually.

To find out more and book a visit, head to the pub’s website here.

Feature image – The Pack Horse Hayfield