Reinventions aren’t easy. I once went into school asking everyone to ‘call me Chaz from now on’. It did not go down well. But The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, now known as The Pony Chew Valley, has done what I failed to do. Not only changing its name, but its whole personality and commanding greater respect in the process.
Shaking off its pub roots, it’s now more of a restaurant, but it’s also a lot more than that too. Self-described as a ‘reimagined country kitchen’, it also operates as an event venue, cookery school, and kitchen garden. It’s in these surrounding gardens, filled with no-dig beds and poly-tunnels, where you’ll find all the vegetables, herbs and fruit used by The Pony Chew Valley grown.
Because, first and foremost, The Pony Chew Valley is a produce-led restaurant. (It’s also part of The Pony Family, alongside some familiar Bristol faces like Root, Salt & Malt and the Bristol Beer Factory.) But what does that mean? Well, it’s all about showcasing seasonal produce from the local area.
As a result of this ‘produce-led’ ethos, menus can change daily, but some recent items included: Tronçon of Cornish Brill, Caramelised Yeo Valley Whey & North Street
Cider Sauce and Samphire; Lamb Rump, Sweetbread, Liver, Heritage Carrots and Garden Salsa Verde; and Wood Fired & Smoked Courgette, Westcombe Ricotta, Pony Garden Pesto, Confit Lemon, Fresh Fennel Salad and Pangrattato.
Is anyone else’s mouth watering? But it’s not all about the food either. As anyone who has visited Chew Valley can attest, the former pub’s surroundings are simply incredible. And we’re not the only ones to recently admire what The Pony Chew Valley has to offer. Last month, the Michelin Guide was so bowled over that they added it to their website.
The Michelin Guide says: “Featuring stunning views over the eponymous valley, this aptly named former pub now operates more as a restaurant. The short menu uses the seasons as a guide and showcases produce from the kitchen garden in vibrant, colourful dishes which mix creative and a few traditional elements. Desserts like almond and polenta cake are a highlight and the themed evenings at weekends are often centred around a local ingredient or producer.”
Of course, all of this makes The Pony Chew Valley the ideal wedding venue (if you’re thinking of popping the question anytime soon). And that’s before we talk more about the cookery school. You’ll find everything from workshops and classes to tasting evenings and chef demonstrations. Whatever your needs, The Pony Chew Valley is worth the trip from Bristol. To learn more here.