The Old Inn at Holton is run by Phil Kent.
How did you end up at The Old Inn?
Before The Old Inn, I was working as an executive chef for a large company in Lincolnshire. However, fancying
new challenges and to be nearer family , I headed down South. A chance visit took me to The Old Inn and I immediately fell in love with it’s charm and community feel. It had so much potential and when it came on the market it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.
What’s your favourite local place to visit on an afternoon off?
On those rare occasions a chef manages to get an an afternoon off and being a small independent business myself, I believe it’s important to support local. There are a few firm favourites including The Bath Arms at Horningsham, The Beckford Arms at Beckford and The Nog Inn, Wincanton.
Tell us about your 2020…
Unfortunately, being classed as one of the extremely vulnerable myself, The Old Inn was closed completely during the lockdowns. However, I have managed to put a positive spin on this by adding accommodation to the establishment, giving her a thorough freshen up and revamped the menu. Returning to work has been enthusiastically welcomed as I was running out of things to paint!
What’s been your biggest challenge since taking over – apart from COVID, obviously!
Honestly the biggest challenge I’ve found so far at The Old Inn was the high custom demand that came much sooner than expected – and we can only thank everyone that has supported us throughout. Especially my team who have stood by me through all the uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic. Alice Sims, my Assistant General Manager has been with me since the first time we opened the door and runs the front of house allowing me to concentrate my skills in the kitchen.
What part of the pub is your absolute favourite?
I know it’s a little cliché but my favourite part of The Old Inn is the bar. Here, there are days you really feel the heart of the community. Seeing familiar faces and hearing the stories old and new. Holton has welcomed me in to their village and having them congregated together enjoying everything I’ve worked so hard for is always heart warming.
Which dish is your most popular?
I always follow the seasons and use what’s fresh and available locally where possible. This reflects in our dishes. The most popular at the moment is the pan fried wild seabass which is served with sauteed thyme, chirzo, garden pea veloute and sprouting broccoli. It’s just so fresh and vibrant and packed full of flavours.
What’s next – do you have big plans on the horizon?
Next on the horizon for The Old Inn is becoming a destination establishment for events and functions, including weddings and corporate events. Being a family orientated and dog friendly venue with menus to suit everyone and a large space to hold these events we feel it would be a fantastic chance to take. Especially now we have accommodation to offer those visiting now too.