The Duncombe Arms
The Duncombe Arms sits just inside Staffordshire (despite the Derbyshire postcode) in the village of Ellastone. The pub – a regular in the Top 50 UK Gastropubs List – presents a winning combination of friendly, local country pub with food more associated with fine dining. After taking over the boarded-up village pub, owners Johnny and Laura Greenall (Johnny of the famed Greenall brewing family and Laura a descendent of the Duncombe family from which the pub takes its name) undertook a major renovation and, re-opening in 2012, breathed new life into the 1850’s building, creating characterful spaces that combine elegance with tradition.
The cooking focuses on pub classics and modern British dishes that highlight local and seasonal produce. Dishes we’ve loved include crispy pig’s head with Yorkshire forced rhubarb and smoked pancetta; chicken liver parfait with black-truffle butter; braised beef cheek, smoked onion, cavolo nero and buttermilk; hazelnut cake with blood orange; and rhubarb soufflé with cardamom custard.
There are also individually priced pub classics such as ale-battered pollack with triple-cooked chips, Hereford beef burger and a ploughman’s board.
With exceptional food, a relaxed, informal atmosphere and a welcoming, efficient front-of-house team, it’s no wonder The Duncombe Arms has been described as “the local we wish we all had”.
By Lynne Barnsley
Photos: The Duncombe Arms