Lying at the heart of the sleepy Cambridgeshire village of Abbots Ripton, but less than 10 minutes from the A1, A14 and the market town of Huntingdon, The Abbot’s Elm is a traditional thatched English country inn & restaurant with rooms. Partially destroyed by fire in 2010 the Grade two listed Inn was lovingly rebuilt and restored to its former glory by Lord & Lady de Ramsey of the local de Ramsey Estate before being reopened in 2012 by long standing restaurateurs John and Julia Abbey. In 2016 they were joined by Roberta Hall & Shaun McCarron – formerly head chef and restaurant manager respectively of Dominic Jack’s renowned Edinburgh eatery Castle Terrace Restaurant – who now run the Inn with the Abbey’s behind-the-scenes support.
In the few short years since its reopening the Inn has been recognized by Michelin in both their restaurant & pub guides; by the Good Food Guide; Sawdays pub guide; Hardens restaurant guide; the AA with a ‘highly recommended’ 4 stars in their pub guide and with two rosettes in their restaurant guide; and in 2016 was awarded “Best restaurant in Cambridgeshire” by the Michelin-owned Bookatable.
Diners have the choice of an informal bar area with its interconnecting rooms and original 17th century brick fireplace or the slightly more formal 45-seat restaurant. In the summer meals can be taken al fresco in amongst the plethora of herbs in our walled garden terrace whilst drinks and bar snacks can be enjoyed in the main pub garden. For those wishing to stay we offer a choice of five luxuriously appointed en-suite double bedrooms – all of which offer sky tv, free wifi, tea & coffee making facilities and, of course, fluffy towels & dressing gowns.
Chef Roberta Hall arrived in 2016 with a wealth of experience under her belt. Including 3 years under the patronage of Michelin-starred Scottish chef Tom Kitchin at The Kitchin, before going on to open the sister restaurant to The Kitchin, Castle Terrace Restaurant run by Chef Patron Dominic Jack where she spent six years there. Originally as Sous Chef before becoming Head Chef. As well as her fiancé Shaun and a level of drive and energy that has to be seen to be believed she has brought with her to the Abbot’s Elm a genuine passion for – and love of – fresh seasonal local produce.
She combines modern & classical cooking techniques with an almost fanatical attention to detail to produce stunning and deceptively simple-looking dishes on her daily-changing menus.
The heart of any decent English pub should be its bar. And ours most certainly is, offering as it does a selection of local real ales as well as more traditional draught beers and continental lagers. But The Abbot’s Elm offers a whole lot more. A short but eclectic and regularly changing list of cocktails created by manager Shaun McCarron is complemented by an equally individual wine list.
Of the seventy or so wines offered nearly 60 are available by the glass or carafe. Our 5 house wines are bottled for us exclusively by Lamblin et Fils in Chablis whilst many other wines – including our superb range of Champagnes - are shipped directly from the vineyards.
Much of our vegetables and meat – and particularly our game – come from either the de Ramsey estate or from its tenant farmers. Our superb beef comes from local farmer and butcher Johnsons of Old Hurst.
Specialist herbs and salad leaves are grown in our extensive herb garden or our polytunnel whilst fruit for our chutneys & deserts comes from our own small orchard.
Most have been with us since we opened. Three have left to start families and returned either full or part time. Several are now at university and return during their holidays. They come from diverse backgrounds and have widely varying ambitions. But they all have one thing in common. They SMILE. It is part of our fundamental philosophy that you - our customers - come to us not just to eat, drink or have a bed for the night, but to enjoy yourselves. And it is our belief that smiling, happy, knowledgeable staff go a long way towards creating an enjoyable experience. So when you walk through our doors you will be greeted by a smile and a friendly hello. As long as you are here you will be looked after with the same cheerful professionalism and you will depart with an equally cheerful ‘thank you and goodbye’ ringing in your ears.