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31st March 2022


A traditional country pub is set to serve up a tasty new menu, thanks to the arrival of a classically-trained Head Chef.

Shepherd Neame pub the Bush, Blackbird and Thrush in East Peckham, between Maidstone and Tonbridge, welcomed experienced licensee John Fox last year, and has now been joined by Head Chef Claire Edwards.

Claire trained at Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Tante Marie Culinary Academy in Surrey and also learned specialist French breadmaking in Paris, and plans to put those skills to use serving customers to the village hostelry.

The friendly rural pub, which can seat 55 diners inside, is unveiling a menu which highlights Claire’s flair with food, including her speciality sourdough.

John, who has been a publican for some 30 years, said: “I have always been excited by the pub and this is a new chapter – a fresh start.

“We have joined forces and together we bring some great skills and ideas to the table. We think we have got the right offer and our customers are going to love it.”

Headcorn-based Claire, who also has extensive experience in corporate hospitality, added: “I have long been a great champion for local produce, and I have been producing my own bread for 15 years, so I will be bringing those aspects to the menu.

“I think that what people want is really good quality food. And there will be extra touches; I like there to be little flavour bombs on the plate. And sauces – you can’t beat a good sauce.”

Customers stopping to dine can now choose from a range of mouthwatering dishes to tempt any palate.

To start, diners can enjoy delights such as Jaipur Crab Salad, served with handmade bread and English butter, or Garlic Chestnut Mushrooms, on handmade sourdough bread with rocket and truffle oil.

Mains range from Homemade Bushtucker Pie of the Day, served with roasted new potatoes or creamy mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and gravy, to Chicken Chasseur – a braised free range chicken breast supreme in a rich sauce with new potatoes or creamy mashed potato and seasonable vegetables, and the Bear Island Signature Burger, a beef burger and brie, on a Bear Island bun, with skin-on fries and Noughty Bear slaw.

There is also a delicious selection of Claire’s Tartines available at lunchtimes only, served with handmade bread of the day, with four options, including The Mediterranean – hummus with roasted red peppers and pesto dressing; the Great Cumberland Banger, featuring a Cumberland sausage with bacon and tomatoes, and the BBT Classic British Bacon Butty, comprising British bacon with melted cheese and a rocket and marinated tomato garnish.

The popular Sunday roasts will also remain, including John’s own specialty, the Super Roast, for suitably hungry visitors.

There is a children’s menu, and even four-legged visitors are catered for, as the dog-friendly pub has treats available for them near the bar.

The country pub also has a large outside space, with views of the surrounding countryside, and a play space for children; a new covered seating area; decking and a marquee, where functions can be held. Two weddings are already booked for this year.

It also hosts car rallies every April to September, which can have as many as 135 vintage vehicles to admire.  The first to be held in 2022 will be on Sunday, April 10.

The country pub also hosts events through the year, such as live music and has a rare ‘gravity-fed’ cellar, popular with cask ale drinkers.

You can find the Bush, Blackbird and Thrush at Bush Road, East Peckham, TN12 5LN, telephone 01622 871349. To find out more visit


About Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.

Press release from Shepherd Neame

For further information please contact Communications Executive Angela Cole on 01795 542142 or email