The Flitch of Bacon

The St, Little Dunmow, Dunmow CM6 3HT

Daniel Clifford’s relaxed alternative to the two-Michelin-starred fare of his renowned Midsummer House in Cambridge is the ultimate high-end restaurant with rooms – coolly furnished with furniture hand-made in Portugal and quirky, mostly decorative touches mainly on the theme of pigs. Named after a famous annual event in the Essex village of Great Dunmow,  it's a much more relaxed affair than Midsummer House, but the food is of similar quality and aspiration, with just 4 starters, mains and desserts, accompanied by the sort of wine list you would expect in a restaurant of this quality. It's all meticulously prepared and presented, and comes out of a kitchen you can observe from a specially situated counter. There is an emphasis on simple, hearty ingredients and unfussy techniques – sea bream, pork tenderloin, haunch of venison – that don’t stray too far from the restaurant’s initial incarnation as a posh pub, indeed the relaxed authenticity of the service keeps the place real and earthy in a way Midsummer House could never be. There's a small bar area at the front for pre-dinner drinks and even 3 dog kennels outside for hungry hounds to occupy during dinner service, although summer months see the garden beyond come into its own, with a Big Green Egg barbies and bar housed in a funky vintage Michelin van. Foodie heaven in an otherwise unremarkable Essex village.