It’s all About Restaurants with Rooms…
The Dog and Badger in the Chilterns shows why local cuisine and luxury digs is a winning formula
Review by Marion Graham
These days, opening a hotel is a little passé – what you really want is a “restaurant with rooms”. Such is the sweaty-palmed fetishisation of food in popular culture right now, a nice high thread count can only get you so far; but offer a menu peppered with the spoils of an onsite vegetable garden and juicy creatures that, pre-plate, grazed in the field next door and they’ll be queuing out the door…
Owners Nick and Jane Robinson have taken a nice old pub in the upmarket Chiltern village of Medmenham, installed a chef who used to work at London’s “consistently excellent” Bibendum, and thoughtfully renovated the Grade II-listed, 14th-century cottage next door to offer six self-contained, en-suite bedrooms, so there’s not far to fall when you pass out post-feast.
Sounds simple enough, but the reason The Dog & Badger works so well is the huge amount of thought that has gone into getting it right. So while the rooms retain all those cosy cottage hallmarks (ceilings so low they bear “please mind your head” warnings, proper wood doors), they are also a masterclass in contemporary luxury (in-bathroom hammam, fancy toiletries from local brand Bramley, opulent splashes of purple and, most important of all, no draughts). Think of it as an up-to-date take on “quintessentially British”, which might also explain why the rooms are all named after gin botanicals – a drink at once traditional and currently undergoing a modern, youthful revolution. Very au courant.
There’s also bags of personality to set it apart from your average country gastropub. The dining room, though filled with period features like wood beams and a vaulted ceiling, pops to life courtesy of the owners’ eclectic art collection, which I’m told is sourced and commissioned during frequent trips across Europe – the unusual subjects include primary-coloured robots. It gives what could have been a snooty set-up a generous dose of gaiety that effortlessly turns the temperature of the room to “… and relax”.
Enquires: Dog and Badger, Marlow Road, Medmenham, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 2HE / 01491 579944 / www.thedogandbadger.com/