Restaurant of the month: The Chaser Inn
The Chaser Inn
Tel: 01732 811168
The Chaser Inn is the flagship pub for Whiting and Hammond. Opened in the summer of 2003.
It was a big refurbishment to this beautiful site; we relocated the kitchen and toilets and increased the overall capacity to 90 covers.
As a result, the pub became an instant hit with the locals and has accumulated a number of awards over the years, including runner-up for Kent’s Best Pub at the Taste of Kent Awards three years running, as well as winner of the London24 Food and Drink Award for Best Gastro Pub and the very prestigious National Publican Food and Drink Award for Sunday Lunch Pub of the Year.
Taking its name from the local Fairlawn Estate where the Queen Mother’s steeple-chase horses were trained, the Chaser is situated in the heart of the British countryside. Sitting next door to the beautiful church of St. Giles and opposite a large grassy common with spectacular views. It dates back to 1880 when it was built by the Cazalet family, who owned the huge estate at the time, which ran from the south west side of Shipbourne through to the neighbouring village of Plaxtol to the north. In fact, Major Peter Cazalet trained the Queen Mother’s horses personally; upon her arrival to visit them, the jockeys would wait in the Chaser’s now affectionately named ‘Jockey Room’ to meet her.
Celebrated for its mouth-watering Sunday lunch, there is no better place to enjoy this delicious tradition than the enormously popular Church Room, a stunning oak beamed dining area, complete with a roaring fire, where friends and family can gather to enjoy the most cherished of weekly meals, as well as a number of other special occasions.
Diners can also eat in the pub’s unique courtyard area with a retractable roof, which is a popular choice both at lunchtimes and in the evenings. We have always been proud of the retention of our staff at the Chaser, some of whom have been here since day one, which we consider a testament to the way we work together as a team and a company as a whole.
It is this sense of time-honoured tradition rooted in a comfortable, friendly and home-grown environment that has made the Chaser Inn the success story it is today. Indeed, we at Whiting & Hammond have certainly come a long way since the pub’s grand opening.
Why do you do what you do?
I started out working in the hospitality industry from a young age and have worked my way up through the ranks to general manager. It's all I know
and I'm passionate about delivering the best service possible.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working for a family run pub company, means you're not just a number, you're an integral part of the W&H family and you're made to feel valued.
What do you enjoy least about your job?
Working long hours, weekends and key holidays can be hard, pulling me away from family, although living on site means they are never far away.
What achievement for the restaurant are you most proud of?
The Chaser is predominately the top performer in the Whiting & Hammond group and the awards it's received is testament to that.
Do you use British produce?
We source as many of our ingredients as locally as possible, supporting local farmers and producers while ensuring traceability and quality is paramount.
What do you think is best about using British Produce?
There are a number of pluses to using British, but the most important are supporting the local economy and also the environmental benefits.
What is your most popular dish?
Our steak burgers are the most popular dish on the menu and fly out the door. We use locally sourced beef and have undergone several taste tests to ensure they're amazing.