The landlord of a Ledbury pub says it is going from strength to strength despite the cost of living crisis.

But rising food prices and energy costs have forced The Oak Inn at Staplow to make changes to its menu.

Chris Howell, who is celebrating four years at the pub with wife Heather, said: “The business is improving all the time. We’re bucking the trend at the moment.

“We have Jason Henderson, our ex-Michelin Star chef, working with us every Wednesday night and all day Saturday.

Ledbury Reporter: The Oak Inn at StaplowThe Oak Inn at Staplow (Image: Chris Howell)

“He’s creating exciting new dishes and mentoring our head chefs Iveta and Leo.”

The Oak is now the number one pub in Herefordshire for Sunday lunches on Tripadvisor - and is ranked fourth overall out of 453 restaurants in the county.

But the price of ingredients has meant a rethink over certain parts of the menu. The price of prawns has already seen them removed as a starter option.

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“We are seeking alternative dishes for expensive ingredients or even recreating a dish removing expensive elements and new local suppliers so that we can minimise price increases,” said Chris.

“Also, we now only have our homemade Italian pizzas available on weekends to save on energy costs.

“More and more we are using local suppliers to minimise carbon footprint and expensive delivery charges.”

Pub's rooms renamed in Queen's honour

Chris attributes the Oak’s success to the fact it is focussed on food, adding that “wet-led” pubs that make most of their money from drinks are having a tough time.

“We’re about 65-70% food - if it was the other way around, we’d be struggling.”

The Oak is also boosted by having rooms that Chris says have maintained a good occupancy rate since Covid restrictions were eased.

Ledbury Reporter: Rooms at the pub have been renamed after royal residencesRooms at the pub have been renamed after royal residences (Image: Chris Howell)

“There’s the added benefit that if someone is staying here, they are almost certainly going to have a meal here as well,” he said.

The Oak’s guest rooms have all recently been renamed in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s official residences, so visitors can now choose to stay in the Buckingham, Balmoral, Windsor or Sandringham suites.

Another popular Ledbury pub, the Prince of Wales in Church Lane, is currently up for sale.