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Flitch of Bacon: Little Dunmow restaurant loses Essex's only Michelin star

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Little Dunmow’s Flitch of Bacon restaurant is one of six eateries across the country to lose a Michelin star in the world-famous guide’s 2021 ratings.

The derelict pub was converted in 2015 by Daniel Clifford, the chef behind the two-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge, and rebranded as Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon in 2018.

Allen had previously secured a Michelin star for the Wild Rabbit at Kingham, Oxfordshire, and during his tenure at London’s Launceston Place, and the coveted accolade followed for the grade II listed Flitch of Bacon in 2019 and 2020.

Tim Allen
Tim Allen

It was the only restaurant in Essex to hold a star until it was removed last month. Although Clifford remains the managing director, Allen resigned from the board last October.

Michelin demoted 20 restaurants in this year's guide, but most were deleted because they closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. There had been industry speculation that the guide would recognise the impact of coronavirus by not removing the gastronomic status symbol.

However, those which lost their stars, despite remaining open like the Flitch of Bacon, included Jason Atherton's Social Eating House in Soho and the Black Rat in Winchester.

Flitch of Bacon
Flitch of Bacon

The Little Dunmow eatery is one of 12 in Essex to earn a mention in the guide, including a Bib Gourmand for Galvin Green Man in Howe Street.

In Hertfordshire, the Fox and Hounds at Hunsdon has retained its Bib Gourmand and is one of eight restaurants in the county to earn a mention.

The Bib (Bibendum) is the nickname for the Michelin Man, the guide’s corporate logo for more than a century, and is diners’ assurance of "exceptionally good food at moderate prices" at the Hunsdon pub owned and run by James and Bianca Rix since 2004.

James honed his skills alongside Michelin-star chefs Gary Rhodes and Alastair Little and was head chef at Tom Conran’s The Cow in Notting Hill.

Fox and Hounds couple Bianca and James Rix with their pop-up shop and produce takeaways
Fox and Hounds couple Bianca and James Rix with their pop-up shop and produce takeaways

Bianca, who is in charge of front of house, said: “We were really pleased to keep our prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand – and as far as I can see the only one in Hertfordshire?”

The past year, with three lockdowns, has posed huge challenges for the hospitality industry, but the couple were already used to selling home-made bread and preserves and quickly ramped up their takeaway menu and set up a shop in response.

Bianca said: “The main hurdle has been recreating dishes that can be heated at home and still be of a similar standard to that of what you would expect in our restaurant.

“There are certain dishes that just don’t work for takeaway, and we wanted to do something a little different from the same old pizza or burger etc.

“We've adapted some of our recipes and offer a selection of Fox and Hounds ‘at home’ meals that include a curry, cannelloni, soufflé, pie, weekly special and soups. They have the the same high-quality ingredients used in our meals made here by James and the team to enjoy at home until we can reopen.”

With the lockdown set to continue, James has created a £40-a-head, three-course Valentine’s Day takeaway menu.

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