by Madeleine Howell, The Telegraph, October 27, 2017
The Buckinghamshire pub that was today named Pub of the Year 2018 by the Michelin Eating Out In Pubs 2018 guide is the site of some intriguing local folklore.
The Pointer is a charming 18th-century red-brick inn which sits in the picturesque village of Brill in Buckinghamshire. Legend has it that the Great Train Robbery was planned there – and that it's where the stolen money was divided up, too.
The pub topped a list of over 470 pubs across the UK and Ireland celebrated in the guide.
The Pointer's owners, David and Fiona Howden, also have a 240-acre farm where they raise award-winning rare breed cattle and pigs.
The adjoining butcher’s shop sells their meats (which are also used in the pub kitchen), along with around 70 other organic ingredients.
The restaurant has plenty of character, with several lounge areas warmed by open fires, and on sunny days food is served outside in the garden and terrace.
Rebecca Burr, the editor of the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs guide, said: “Not only is it a delightful place, but it is exceedingly well run by a young, personable team.
"They really pay attention to detail and nothing is ever too much trouble for them.
“The frequently changing à la carte menu offers a good range of modern dishes. Presentation is first rate, refinement and precision are there in equal measure, and much use is made of organic ingredients from their farm.”
So, how are the pubs in the guide judged, and what's the criteria?
According to Burr, it's all about the food: "We know a great pub is about more than that, so of course we look at service, atmosphere, the drinks offer and so on, but the key thing is the quality of the food," she says.
"We want to see excellent ingredients used well – and it’s good to see so many pubs committed to doing exactly that.”
When The Telegraph visited The Pointer in July 2015, our reviewer said: "The Pointer in Brill has achieved what gastropubs rarely can: the successful creation of a dining space and a bar space that both credibly look like what they’re meant to be.
"Normally, either the dining room looks like a pub to which some crackpot has applied starched napery, or the bar looks like a make-believe one from The World of Interiors.
"But this is proper beam-ceilinged, enveloping pub loveliness at the front and chic, plush and hush at the back; we actually sat in the garden, but I would have been happy anywhere."
We were also impressed with the food (you can read the full review here).
The Michelin Eating Out In Pubs 2018 guide is priced at £14.99