New owners hope to return pub near Northamptonshire border to its former gastronomic glory

It re-opens tomorrow after it closed its doors last April

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:24 pm
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:30 pm
The Pheasant at Keyston and, inset, Martin and Zoe
The Pheasant at Keyston and, inset, Martin and Zoe

A once award-winning pub just outside the Northamptonshire border re-opens tomorrow (Friday) after more than a year of closure - and its new owners have high hopes for it.

The Pheasant at Keyston, which is just in Cambridgeshire but just a few miles from Raunds and Thrapston, shut its doors in April last year during the first national Covid lockdown.

But it now has new owners who hope to return it to its former gastronomic glory, which included two AA rosettes and a bib gourmand.

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Head chef and one of the new proprietors, Martin Russell, said: “The Pheasant at Keyston has been known as the go-to foodie destination in the past and that is our intention for the future.

"That’s why we’ve focused on ‘re-establishing' over simply re-opening.

"We are going to deliver great food experiences, no gimmicks but outstanding food and brings people from across the county and beyond.”

Both Martin and his partner Zoe have experience in some of the country's best hotels and restaurants.

Martin started his career working under the acclaimed chef, Paul Heathcote, at his restaurants in Manchester and it is where he discovered his love for modern British cuisine.

He then was being named head chef of the popular The Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon where he met Zoe and soon after embarked on their next adventure, which included the popular, if not curiously named, ‘Grumbley’s Bistro’ in the Peak District.

For Zoe the Pheasant at Keyston is somewhat of a homecoming as she started her career as a waitress at the pub in her teens, gaining experience that led her to work at the grand Osbourne Hotel in Torquay and then back to Cambridgeshire to the Old Bridge Hotel.

They are promising a daily menu of dishes showcasing the very best aspects of locally-sourced ingredients.

Martin added: “We will look at the changing seasons, and towards the sea, rivers, woods and hedgerows for our inspiration to create unique dishes that speak of our providence.

"The Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire countryside has so much to offer our guests and we are excited to share all the exciting flavours year-round.”

By the time of opening The Pheasant at Keyston will have created more than 20 new full and part-time jobs for the area.

It's hoped that as the food offer grows and the expanded garden area is opened the team will expand further, creating more job opportunities for local people.

Zoe, who is heading up the front of house team, said: "The past year has shown us all how much we value experiences like visiting a pub and eating with friends and loved ones, and so we are committed to offering the very best experience to our guests.

"We can do this whilst offering on the job training for the future service superstars.”

The Pheasant at Keyston will open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday, from tomorrow (May 28).

The owners say guests are encouraged to pre-book their visit in advance using the booking link on their new website. They say visitors are welcome to drink in the bar without a reservation but are encouraged to check the opening times on the website.