Historic pub awarded three AA Rosettes for 'outstanding' culinary excellence

Killingworth Castle, Wootton, near Woodstock
Killingworth Castle, Wootton, near Woodstock

An historic Oxfordshire pub has received a prestigious award due to the "outstanding" standard of its food.

The Killingworth Castle in Wootton has been awarded a third AA Rosette for its culinary excellence.

Staff accepted the gong at the AA Hospitality Awards yesterday (September 25) in London which was presented by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman.

The AA, known for its inspections and recommendations of hotels and restaurants, only gives this high rating to a select few establishments that demonstrate an "outstanding" standard of cuisine.

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Following a visit from an anonymous inspector, the gastropub was reviewed against nine assessment areas, ranging from standards of service to cleanliness and quality of food.

The inspector described the establishment as “well run in a personalised way with very good hospitality from a customer-focused team which made for a welcoming atmosphere throughout the stay”.

Restaurants with three Rosettes "demand national recognition well beyond their local area" and the maximum is five, for places where the "cooking compares with the best in the world".

The AA Guide estimates that only 10 per cent of restaurants nationwide are of a standard that is worthy of one rosette and above.

Oxford Mail: Killingworth Castle, Wootton, near Woodstock
Oxford Mail: Killingworth Castle, Wootton, near Woodstock

Owners Jim and Claire Alexander, who previously ran The Ebrington Arms across the Cotswolds near Chipping Camden, took over The Killingworth Castle in 2012 transforming the derelict site.

Mr Alexander, said:  “We’re extremely proud to have been awarded three Rosettes by the AA.

“This recognition is a testament to our commitment to producing exceptional food and unparalleled guest experiences each day.

“Our talented team consistently go above and beyond to ensure that hotel residents and local diners alike enjoy a memorable visit.”

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The Killingworth Castle is one of only seven new inns with rooms in the whole of the UK to be awarded a third rosette in 2023 at the AA’s annual Hospitality Awards last night.

The pub has eight en-suite rooms with food that focuses on seasonal, wild and organic fare from the Cotswolds.

Mrs Alexander added: “After a few challenging years, it’s particularly rewarding to get the recognition of being in the top few per cent of food providers in the country.

“It’s a huge motivator for us as an independent, family-run business in an ever-increasing environment of pubcos and chains and we’re over the moon.”

Managing director at AA Media, Simon Numphud said: “Every year we present awards to the very best AA-rated hotels, restaurants, spas and their teams across the UK.

“The AA Rosette award, first awarded in 1956, was the first nationwide scheme for assessing the quality of food served by restaurants and hotels.

“AA Rosettes recognise culinary excellence and dedication to ensure consistent quality of the highest order.”