A 17th century country pub has achieved a prestigious award for culinary excellence.

The Elm Tree Inn in Langton Herring near Portesham has just been awarded the prestigious AA Two Rosette award.

The current team at the pub, led by Paul and Sasha Clarke, took over the Elm Tree in March 2022 and have achieved this most prestigious award within only 12 months.

The team set out with the objective of delivering the highest quality dining experience and said they are delighted that all their hard work and commitment has been recognised.

Paul Clarke, Executive Chef, said: “At the Elm Tree we operate as one big family, with the kitchen headed up by me and Emma, and front of house led by my wife Sasha and Sarah.

“Everyone does an amazing job and together we are so proud of what we have achieved in such a short time frame.

“Last year, we were awarded a Taste of the West Gold and we were shortlisted as one of the very best hospitality establishments in the South-West of England. The AA Two Rosette award this year really is the cherry on the cake!”

The AA Rosette awards were started in 1956 and were the first nationwide scheme for assessing the quality of food served by restaurants, pubs and hotels across the UK.

Very few pubs and restaurants in Dorset have ever achieved the high standards needed to be awarded two rosettes.

Sasha Clarke thanked all of the Elm Tree’s customers for their ‘continued support.”

She said: “Our passion for great food and amazing service is at the heart of what we do. We are so grateful for the continued support from everyone who visits us. We are really looking forward to the year ahead and to continuing our incredible journey!”

The Elm Tree Inn, once frequented by smugglers and ‘wreckers’, is said to be haunted.

Since 2020 it has been owned and operated by the Electric Pub Company.

During the war, Barnes Wallis stayed there when the bouncing bomb was being tested on the Fleet and it was even the secret rendezvous for Russian spies during the Cold War.