An interview with The Pony and Trap: Revealing foodie favourites and who's the best in the west

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image from theponyandtrap.co.uk

The Pony and Trap is a beautiful 200 year old country pub situated in between Bristol and Bath. They pride themselves on sourcing their fresh ingredients locally from the best suppliers, with the majority of meats, vegetables and fruits all produced within just a few miles. Reflecting this, they were awarded a Michelin star in 2011, which has been retained in 2012, making them one of the few restaurants in the South West to gain this coveted status.

We have spoken with owner Josh Eggleton as he tells us about his favourite dishes, foodie trends and who's the best in the west.

What is your favourite dish to cook on the menu currently? Chargrilled Pigeon with home made pigeon breosola with carrot, walnut and apple – because it plays with temperatures, textures and contrasts.image from theponyandtrap.co.uk

What do you like to cook at home that you don’t make at the restaurant? A tagliatelli with poached fillet of salmon & broccoli.

What sparked your interest in becoming a chef? Who in your opinion is currently cooking the best? I had to get a job and wasn’t good at much else! I’d worked in a chippy, went to work in a local pub and went from there. The Ledbury, Tom Kerridge at the Hand & Flowers but for simplicity I love Matt at Flinty Red in Bristol.

What trends do you see emerging in the food industry right now? It depends on the genre of food but I can see that some restaurants are becoming more theatrical. For example, some are playing on themes like nostalgia. Postcode cooking is also big on the scene with lots of people focusing on local produce.image from theponyandtrap.co.uk

Do you have any disaster stories throughout your career as a chef that you can share with us? There have been a few. One that comes to mind was at a wedding where a French pastry chef had made the best croque–en-bouche. I asked him a few hours before if him making it early and storing it would be a problem to which he assured me not. Of course, when we went to get it out for the wedding party it had completely collapsed. Cue the French expletives!

How does the Pony and Trap source the best possible ingredients? We’re lucky because we have so many nearby. But beyond that, it’s mainly taking the time and effort to build contacts and look for the best products. It takes years to build up a network of suppliers.

In your opinion, what is the best food and wine match on the menu? Marsanne Viognier and crab soup with white crab meat.image from theponyandtrap.co.uk

Do you use any particular wine in any of your dishes? No

Where do you tend to buy wine for yourself at home? I don’t really drink at home. It’s not the done thing for publicans! We need to encourage more people to drink out and support our local pubs and restaurants

Have you come across any unusual food and wine matches? Not especially. Though at our recent “70s Dinner Party” theme evening we paired Babycham with a mushroom vol-au-vent!

What audience does the restaurant cater for? Quite literally everybody. We’re a pub and welcome anybody that likes simple food done well.

If you weren’t in the food industry, where do you think you would be? A sailing instructor somewhere hot. And on that note, I’m off!