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Northern Daily leader

Crack open the champers for the best pub in the bush

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Champagne Occasion: Willow Tree Inn manager Tim Muschamp, left, and chef Damion Moyses celebrate the hotel’s new title of Best Country Pub in NSW. Photo: Gareth Gardner 191113GGB02

IT'S the best country pub in the state with arguably the best steak to boot.

The Willow Tree Inn is located on the New England Highway, Willow Tree, exactly half way between Scone and Tamworth – just a 45 minute drive.

“Exceptional in every way” is how The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Pub Food Guide 2014 reviewers glowingly describe the Willow Tree Inn, which was awarded the Best Country Pub in NSW title and coveted three schooners accolade at an awards ceremony in Sydney on Monday night.

More than 500 pubs were assessed and scored on their food, service, ambience and that magic feel-good factor, with only 15 receiving top recognition, the three schooners award.

Located 45 minutes’ drive south of Tamworth on the New England Highway, it is the local produce, especially the fine-grained sirloin steak and heavenly desserts, on offer at Graze Restaurant that lures many punters to the country gem.

It has been an amazing year for owners Charles and Cheryl Hanna, who took over the pub about three years ago and transformed it into the first-class establishment it is today, with the pub also making it into the ultimate foodies’ bible, the SMH Good Food Guide 2014, last month.

Mr Hanna said he was “delighted” to receive the prestigious pub food guide award.

“This is truly well-deserved recognition of the great work from our four chefs, plus kitchen staff headed by Damion Moyses, and all of our bar and wait staff, who offer excellent service under the guidance of our manager, Tim Muschamp,” he said.

Mr Muschamp said it was a combination of providing customers with the highest-quality food and rigorous front-of-house service training that set the business apart.

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