Not much has changed at The Killingworth Castle in 400 or so years, people drive along the B4027 (it's modern day name) and stop at this beautiful coaching inn for a feed or a bed like they would have done when this was the main road from Worcester to Oxford in the 17th century.
What has changed in recent years are the landlords with the pub now under the watchful eye of Jim and Claire Alexander who brought it back from the brink in 2012 and, who also own the brilliant Ebrington Arms near Chipping Campden. What they have done in 5 years is simply outstanding picking up various awards including AA Rosettes for culinary excellence in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and Michelin Bib Gourmand Winners in 2015, 2016, 2017, when you visit you can see why.
It was a sunny late April Sunday and we had just enjoyed a walk around the magnificent Capability Brown inspired gardens at Blenheim Palace which is just a couple of miles down the road. We had booked ourselves in for lunch at 2pm and arrived shortly before and received a warm welcome from each member of staff who we passed on the way to the bar where we sat for the next half an hour with a Cotswolds Distillery gin and tonic chatting to Frank on the other side and choosing our meal. The menu was priced as a set menu although you can have a roast on its own for £17 but why would you when 2 courses are £22 and with the quality of food, is well worth it. We both opted for roast beef for main (after seeing the monster Yorkshire Puddings on twitter you couldn't really choose anything else) but chose different starters - cider steamed mussels, pancetta, parsley, garlic and cream and calamari. The mussels were huge, tasty and full of flavour from the garlic and pancetta. I was told that the calamari and garlic mayo was equally and delicious.
The mains arrived with perfectly pink beef sat in a rich pool of gravy, roast potatoes and an amazing cauliflower puree on the side and a the mighty Yorkshire sitting proudly like a tower on top of a hill. Then came the sides, firstly salted and buttered carrots and tender stemmed broccoli cooked perfectly with a bite, followed by the most incredible creamed leeks with a crumb top, followed by a jug of extra gravy and the glass of Malbec from the house reds.
Although nearly full, it is hard to deny yourself a pudding especially when Sticky Toffee is on the menu. We did however share and chose ice cream to accompany it. Once again it was perfect with the ice cream melting into the toffee sauce bringing the best of hot and cold together in each mouthful.
I love a good Sunday roast and there are too many places that just do a roast like it's a burden rather than an event that should be remembered, so when someone takes a roast to the next level it is hugely refreshing and you do start to wonder what everyone else is playing at.
Book a table at The Killingworth Castle by calling 01993 811401 or visit www.thekillingworthcastle.com
We highly recommend a trip to Blenheim Palace. Why not stay at The Killingworth Castle in one of their 8 delightful rooms in the converted stables. Click HERE for more information