Food: Community Project
Here’s a heartwarmer. Guilden Morden’s gorgeous 17th century pub, the Grade II-listed Three Tuns, stood empty for a full five years; set to be turned into housing, it looked like it was closed for good. And then the villagers stepped in: establishing the pub as a Community Benefit Society, an action group raised more than £250,000 - from an incredible 267 private investors - to buy and renovate the building.
Also awarded £100,000 by the Plunkett Foundation’s More Than A Pub scheme, which seeks to support rural communities, the society then set to work, with villagers giving hundreds of man-hours to help renovate the period property, doing everything from painting to making blinds to gardening.
The ribbon finally cut in August, by South Cambridgeshire’s MP Heidi Allen and County Councillor Sebastian Kindersley, both long-term supporters of the project, the pub’s opening attracted 500 punters - and was marked by a Hurricane fly-by.
With Megan and Peter Friskey installed as landlady and chef, The Three Tuns is, say the society, in safe hands: Megan spent five years as assistant manager at Balsham’s Black Bull, while, in his more than 20 years in the kitchen, Peter has cooked at The Anchor in Cambridge, The Eight Bells in Saffron Walden and Horningsea’s Crown & Punchbowl, and even head cheffed at Windsor Castle.
A mixture of pub classics and more adventurous plates, highlights of the current menu - which features in-season, locally sourced produce - include turbot fillet with gnocchi, buttered spinach and saffron moules, and a halloumi filo parcel with sweet potato mash, tempura courgette flower and salsa.
“People can meet for a coffee, it’s a venue for local groups, it even hosts regular presentations on topical issues such as health and wellbeing,” says villager Justine Smith. “The Three Tuns isn’t just a pub - it’s a community hub.”
Visit thethreetunsguilden.co.uk for more.