We head to The Nags Head in Great Missenden for perfect country style cooking and outdoors entertainment
The Nags Head is a Silver AA 4-star graded traditional 15th century country pub and hotel in the Chilterns, located in the picturesque village of Great Missenden. Their six bedrooms have been designed with subtle nods to the surrounding area and its history in mind. Using local craftsmen where possible and high end furnishings, each unique room showcases bespoke pieces of furniture, materials and artwork throughout. But we weren’t here to sleep on the job, but check out their latest dining offering.
Inside the restaurant there are 84 covers, plus the option of garden dining to make the most of the last days of summer. On our visit, which was pre-heatwave, it was a tad chilly, so we opted to dine inside. We felt like we weren’t missing out, however, as the interior was like a country house, tastefully furnished throughout and offering a really lovely, quaint atmosphere.
Their head chef Howard Gale takes pride in using what’s best from local, British food producers and balances a wonderful twist of modern and traditional cooking, with emphasis on foraging, pickling, curing, and hot and cold smoking using only the freshest products from our shores. Booking is recommended, which given how busy it was on our visit is definitely a wise thing to do.
The menu is extensive, so it took some time to make our decisions. My choice, eventually, was scallops, beef tomato, nduja, brioche breadcrumbs, garlic puree followed by chicken ballotine “coq au vin”, romanescu cauliflower, and pomme puree. My guest had, to start, Maldon rock oysters, shallot vinegar, saffron mayo, sourdough. This was followed by Rebellion beer battered haddock, fries, minted crushed peas, tartar sauce. Neither of us could find anything to pick apart with the cooking, which was exemplary throughout. My scallops were cooked perfectly, and the chicken’s flavours were amazing. The fish options opposite looked great and the fact my guest cleared every last morsel said all that had to be said about the dishes.
It wasn’t protocol, but we couldn’t decide on different desserts, so both ended with salted caramel tart burnt apple puree, crème freche, apple flambe, which was absolutely delicious. Everything was washed down with a perfectly selected (by our waiter) New Zealand sauvignon blanc wine.
Our visit did coincide with an event held in their garden – of which they hold plenty throughout summer – so we were eventually coaxed outside. Given our late night, perhaps we should have opted to stay too.