Top 50 Gastropubs

The Olive Branch

Oakham, Rutland

A new entry on the 2020 Top 50 Gastropubs list, the Olive Branch in Clipsham, Rutland, has a smattering of admirable accolades behind it already.

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Established over 20 years ago in 1999, the Olive Branch is based in the bijoux county of Rutland and was formerly three farm labourers’ cottages that were knocked into one pub in 1890.

Since then, it remained the heart of its community until it was forced to close in 1997, when three years later, with the help of family, friends and villagers, it was bought by Sean Hope, Ben Jones and Marcus Welford.

After its reopening, the team added luxury accommodation to the offering in 2003.

The kitchen is overseen by Head Chef Luke Holland since 2020 carrying on the mantle from Sean with a more modern twist using homegrown and local produce.

Dishes – which change on a daily basis – starting with the first course, have included curried cauliflower and borage honey soup, truffle and Parmesan; heritage beetroot, smoked goats’ cheese, fresh cream, dill and apple marigold; and chicken liver parfait, morello cherry and Hambleton sourdough.

Mains have included winter truffle risotto, mascarpone, crispy onion and parsnip; roast Scottish cod, charred broccoli, ratte potato, mussels and sea herbs; and roast local pheasant, red cabbage, wild mushrooms, kale, potato, croquette and red wine sauce.

Desserts include salted caramel fondant, seed crumb and chocolate orange ice cream; sweet parsnip ice cream, crispy yogurt, mint oil and mulled wine; and garden pea cream, coconut sorbet and mint and white chocolate ice cream.

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