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The Chequers Inn in Smarden gets triple win of accolades

By Rebecca Tuffin

A village pub has bagged a triple win of accolades.

The Chequers Inn in Smarden has won the Trip Advisor excellence award, and has made it into this year's AA Guide 'pick of the pubs' and regained their five star hygiene rating - all in a matter of months.

In May, the business was slapped with a two rating by the Food Standards Agency.

The Chequers Inn, Smarden
The Chequers Inn, Smarden

Inspectors visited the venue and deemed improvement was necessary.

They said hygienic food handling was generally satisfactory but improvement was needed in cleanliness and condition of facilities and the building.

But pub manager, Melissa Spalding felt this was an "unfair" assessment, as the inspection took place during a refurbishment.

The pub is surrounded by idyllic gardens
The pub is surrounded by idyllic gardens

At the time, she said: "We have always had a five rating before.

"It seem unfair you get rated on the building when it is the food handling they should be looking at and we have always maintained a five when it comes to food hygiene.

"The inspectors said they will come back in June and do it again and told us as long as the pub stayed the same was, we would be rated five again."

And it seems Ms Spalding and her team have lived up to her claim.

Chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes
Chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes
Chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes
Chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes

Inspectors stayed true to their word and returned last month, awarding the pub the highest rating possible a 5.

Ms Spalding added: “We put our heart and soul into restoring this historical 14th century coaching inn.

"It has taken a lot of hard work and money but it is fantastic to see that it is all paying off.

The Chequers Inn has six 14th century-style bedrooms
The Chequers Inn has six 14th century-style bedrooms

"We would like to thank all of our customers for their continued support.”

Named as one of the top 16 pubs in Kent in the AA Pub Guide last month, The Chequers Inn has six historic-style bedroom chambers above the bar and restaurant.

The business has also won the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award for the fifth year running.

The Chequers Inn has six 14th century-style bedrooms
The Chequers Inn has six 14th century-style bedrooms

The tavern is set next to a large, lily-topped pond and overlooks a church in the idyllic village of Smarden.

Hospitable innkeepers, the Spalding family offer plenty of local ales including Harvey’s, Sharp’s and the Old Dairy Brewery.

Seasonal ingredients are sourced locally and a Sunday roast, with all the gravy and trimmings, is served between noon and 5pm.

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