Please note: I was invited in to review The Queens, who covered part of the bill for this meal (I paid the remainder). This in no way impacted on my opinion. I was not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.
There’s something quintessentially British about driving out to a village pub for Sunday lunch. In the Bristol area we’re blessed with plenty such places, and since moving to Long Ashton I’ve tried to work my way through as many of them on this side of the city as I possibly can.
One that I hadn’t tried until recently was The Queens in Chew Magna: a pub with guest bedrooms that was taken on by its current owners in 2019. After a refurb they opened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic – and to celebrate their second birthday this year they held a party in June, as well as launching a new food menu.
Tucked away off Silver Street, just up from the Chew Magna Church Hall, the place does have some parking outside – but up a very narrow road and with limited space available. If you’re driving, you may well find that you need to park on a side road nearby and walk up, like we did.
Walk through the front door and you’re immediately in the bar area, leading through to the dining section. With walls of orange and green, regular tables with bench seating along the wall and a few raised tables for four, it’s a beautiful place with a cosy, relaxed feel.
Through the back (and also accessible from the side of the pub without having to walk through) you’ll also find a decent-sized garden area to enjoy on warmer days.
Head Chef Jordan Meagher’s Sunday lunch menu changes regularly but always offers two courses for £27 or three for £33. And believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
Rather than order a separate kids’ meal, we two adults decided to order three courses each to share with the small child.
The crispy squid starter was beautifully cooked and had an almost Cajun flavour to its seasoning – and came with plenty of punchy aioli for dipping. The only disappointment was that the batter felt a little sandy in texture in places.
My San Marzano tomatoes with pickled white peach, aged balsamic and Gouda wasn’t a dish I’d normally order but it was fantastic. Without the rich nuttiness of the Gouda and the tang of the balsamic, the whole thing could have been way too sweet with the juicy tomatoes and super soft peaches, but it worked…it’s a flavour combination I’m going to experiment with at home, for sure.
I’m always excited when I see lamb on a Sunday lunch menu – and at The Queens in Chew Magna, it was a bit different to the norm. Instead of slices from a roasted lamb joint or a whole lamb shank, they served up a huge mound of tender and rich braised and pulled lamb shoulder – almost too much, if truth be told.
Plated with it was a perfect Yorkshire pudding, two types of beetroot, a massive roasted carrot bathed in butter, a sweet and tangy shallot puree and a heap of spiced red cabbage that instantly made me think of Christmas. As well as the gravy that had already been poured we were given additional gravy in a separate jug, alongside the remainder of our vegetables.
The roast potatoes were incredible, I’m pleased to say – for me, a poor roastie can destroy a Sunday lunch offering. The bowl of buttered green veg added some freshness to an otherwise very rich meal – the only real let-down was the broccoli and cauliflower cheese, which had a lovely crispy topping but the sauce was just a little on the floury side.
The child loves local ice cream business Chew Moo’s – so two scoops of their ice cream (mint chocolate and coconut & mango) were a must. Out of intrigue, we also ordered the meringue with Cheddar Valley strawberries, vanilla custard and crumble, one of the two vegan options on the day’s menu.
For the most part, you’d have been hard-pressed to guess it was vegan. The custard was thick and creamy, the meringue the perfect consistency with a chewy interior and a slight tang to the flavour. You can’t beat a Cheddar Valley strawberry, either – the flavour is totally off the charts compared with the pale, enormous pretenders that you’ll find in the supermarkets.
A shout out to the front of house team, too, who made us feel incredibly welcome and who seemed like they were truly happy to be there. Having seen the lunch and dinner menus at The Queens in Chew Magna I’m keen to head back: it’s a place that perfectly expresses what a “proper” village pub should be all about.