New life has been breathed into a South Warwickshire pub despite many pubs being forced to close due to the pandemic. The Cottage Tavern in Ashorne, near Warwick has undergone an exciting transformation with new managers at the helm.
Tim Sidwell and Mark Williams took over the village pub in May 2021 spending several weeks decorating, adding new furnishings, transforming the cellar, and re-designing the garden before opening to the public on 19 June. The menu has also undergone a radical change and offers a daily changing blackboard menu using locally sourced produce, a 3-course Sunday lunch and a regular Thursday steak night.
Mark and Tim, who are both Directors of Ghost Inns Ltd, have been friends for over 17 years when they worked together at The Howard Arms in Ilmington. They decided to combine their knowledge and experiences of the pub trade and open their own pub in Ashorne. They are currently in the process of buying the lease which will enable them to have greater control and flexibility over their stock.
Both Mark and Tim have different areas of responsibility, Tim concentrates on the front of house whereas Mark looks after the bar. The Chef, Ryan Davies, was trained at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Academy and was awarded ‘apprentice of the year’. He has also worked under a Michelin starred chef at Bistro Bruno Loubet. Ryan describes his food as ‘hearty, fresh, homemade seasonal produce made with a lot of passion’.
Mark and Tim have also introduced a regular live music night and quiz night which have both proved popular. Although open for less than 3 months, the team have achieved a 5-star food hygiene rating and received 5 stars on Trip Advisor and Google, with customers saying, “This is the best food we have eaten in many years” and “the host was amazing, very attentive, warm and welcoming, he took time to explain all the various dishes in great detail” and“This is a little gem of a pub! The Cottage Tavern is back”.
Mark said “We are delighted to have brought our experience and passion to The Cottage Tavern and revitalised a tired village pub. It’s been our aim to make the local community and the wider area proud and to give everyone a pub they can love whether its popping in for a half pint of ale or enjoying a 3-course meal. We look forward to welcoming visitors and putting The Cottage Tavern firmly on the culinary map as a destination pub in Warwickshire”.