Honiton now boasts Devon's 'Best Gastropub'

The Holt in Honiton has just been awarded top honours by Taste of the West in their annual hospitality awards.

The Holt in Honiton has just been awarded top honours by Taste of the West in their annual hospitality awards.

Owned and operated by brothers Joe and Angus McCaig, the business not only won gold in the 'Best Gastropub' in Devon category, but was also the highest points scorer in the county and the only one of the eleven finalists to receive gold.

Judges comments ranged from "superb service, great style and very good food" to "absolutely flawless" and "can't praise it enough." The Holt will now go forward to represent Devon in the regional finals later this autumn and battle it out against gold winners from Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The overall title of 'Best Gastropub in the South West' will be announced in early December.

The award follows an amazing summer for Joe and Angus as The Holt has now been recommended in all of the major restaurant guides including Michelin, Alastair Sawday, the AA and most recently the 2010 Good Food Guide. It has also just been included in the Telegraph's round up of their best UK pubs.

Angus McCaig commented "The Holt is a pub, restaurant and a smokehouse now as well. We had no idea we'd even been judged for this award, so to win it so conclusively is a fantastic feeling for Joe and I. Running a pub is extremely hard work but it's also a very rewarding experience - knowing you're making people happy every day and helping them to relax. Our formula just seems to work. Whether it's tapas at lunchtime or something more sophisticated in the evening, I like people to order something simple but then receive something exceptional. The Holt has become a cosy bolthole where everyone is welcome and that's how we want to keep it!"

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Situated on the main street in Honiton, menus change every six weeks at The Holt and the full range of five Otter beers are always on tap. Since 2006 Angus has been smoking and curing his own food (duck, pigeon, chicken, salmon, bacon, smoked olive oils and Cornish sea salt) to add a unique twist to menus. Their maple smoked duck breast has now been served in Gordon Ramsay's flagship Chelsea restaurant in Royal Hospital Road.

Plans are now being finalised to begin smoked food classes at The Holt later this month along with bread making and cooking demonstrations.