A small country pub in Britain has taken the foodie world by storm, debuting at #1 in the TripAdvisor list of Best Restaurants in the World.
TripAdvisor is a global information and ratings website, the information and opinions provided by millions of users around the world, on businesses, places and services they have used.
TripAdvisor began the Best Restaurant list in 2012, based on millions of restaurant reviews over the previous 12 months. It makes no secret of the fact that its reviews come from feedback from guests – not a small panel of elite judges.
This year a small pub at the end of a winding country road called the Black Swan, run by the Banks family, topped the list.
The family bought it as a struggling operation in 2006, and head chef Tommy Banks has led its journey into culinary excellence, in 2013 becoming the youngest ever chef in Britain to be awarded a Michelin star, aged just 24. The pub has also achieved four AA Rosettes.
But the young Banks reported to Bloomberg that previous accolades did not prepare them for the media and customer feeding frenzy that would follow the TripAdvisor prize, the pub besieged with calls and emails, taking 1,200 bookings in four hours and seeing 90k visitors to its website in one afternoon.
The Banks family has farmed the area near the Swan for generations. They bought it in tired condition and transformed it into a welcoming food-led business, focusing on local produce – much of it from the surrounding countryside or even the pub’s own backyard.
A dedicated combination of skills in the kitchen and good old-fashioned service are all that are needed to explain the win, many of the pub’s reviews telling the story.
“service and food were faultless”
“out of this world”
“probably the best meal I’ve ever had”
Also making this year’s list:
#2 Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire
#3 Maison Lameloise in Chagny, France
#4 L’Auberge de l’Ill in Illhaeusern, France
#5 Martín Berasategui in Lasarte-Oria, north-east Spain (#1 in 2016)