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This weekend I finally escaped London to stay at The Mash Inn, a recently opened modern age inn created by clever restaurateur Nick Mash. He grew up in this area and has proven his worth in the big smoke but in coming back home has created something that really is showing others how it should be done. As a child, I always dreamed of having my own small exclusive place which was truly individual and felt like a unique home from home experience and in all my travels this place has ticked the same boxes that were in my imagination.

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Mr Mash totally renovated what was the Three Horseshoes gutting it all and re-designing it to get it just right. It has the most wonderful tone with cosy nooks in the bar, original old ceilings and contemporary Scandinavian inspired decor.

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He has collaborated with so many hand picked innovative people: Another Country, London Terrariums, L:A Brucket, Rare Tea Company, Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeses and soon to expand with bespoke cabins from that clever team at Out of the Valley. In addition he has designed pieces like chairs himself and worked with local craftsmen to bring his designs to life.

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Add in a dose of reclaimed, upcycled treasure and you have everything you could possible need. Clearly this man has exquisite taste, has done his research and knows his mind. It all adds up to a great customer experience.

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What takes this place into an even better realm for me is the way he has connected that concept with the local land and the food. Looking out of my snowy window you can see the beginnings of the veg patch which will be abundant with goodies as Spring comes. For now, there are pickles and preserves from last season to play with and certainly a desire by the whole team to embrace all that nature is delivering here. Head Chef Jon Parry trained with Tom Aikens and has gone on to great places since then but you can just sense his excitement at getting his hands on this kitchen and a place that supports him to create something really unique and special.

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The kitchen is at the end of the dining room, just as it would be at home and you are positively encouraged to go and chat and enjoy the space. Clearly Mr Mash has brought inspiration from the likes of Ekstedt and Extebarri (see my entry about that here) insisting on open fires and a unique ‘hob’ again designed by him. The logs and flames add to the feeling of the kitchen at the heart and soul of the whole operation.

Chef Jon has boundless energy and bounces from one idea to the next with the quality of produce he has at his fingertips. He is trying everything from viennoiserie to cheese making, preserving to foraging. And his tasting menu, which is very reasonably priced, is a journey through his experiments. Deep fried beef tendon is like a beef version of pork scratching and pops as he brings it to the table. Seasonal purple sprouting broccoli is charred on the griddle and then laced with home made curd cheese. The meal ends with his version of a chocolate bar. Some items are more of a hit than others and I think I would actually opt for a la carte next time, or ideally Sunday lunch, but you can’t knock the enthusiasm.

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My favourite was actually breakfast in bed, brought up to your room by the lovely girls who clearly run everything with charm and professionalism. Each with our own white tray of chosen elements, there is loads to indulge in before getting out and discovering the local area. This morning the car had an inch of snow and driving out of the car park was like driving away from a perfect cocoon. Dragging ourselves away down the M40 and getting closer to the big smoke, you could see the snow melt away and that magical halo disappear with it. By the time we came onto the North Circular, there was no sign of the snow, just the crazy thoughtless London drivers. But they couldn’t take away the atmosphere inside and that was one which I will certainly treasure for a long time.

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