The King’s Head in Billericay has been transformed into a premium pub with a quality menu (but it has still managed to keep its country pub feel).

This week marked the second anniversary of the complete remodelling of the well-loved pub.

Dating back 1750, it is owned by Mitchell’s & Butlers, part of the Vintage Inn brand, and the pub is one of its few flagship premier pubs.

Leanne Keep is deputy manager and has worked at the pub for the last eight years.

“We celebrated our two-year anniversary since reopening after remodelling on Valentine’s Day 2020,” said Leanne.

“We still have guests come in and say ‘wow’ when they see the transformation for the first time. Then they notice some of the familiar features are still there and that it is the same cosy country pub, but on the next level."

Echo: Country pub - the attractive pub has lots of history.Country pub - the attractive pub has lots of history.

They now have a private dining area that accommodates up to eight people and the dining areas are more spacious than before the remodel.

The high standard really comes across on the menu, where only the best produce is used.

“The menu has not changed that much, but it is the quality of the produce where it makes the difference,” said Leanne.

“It is hearty pub grub, but done properly, when you order a steak it is the highest quality steak and we don’t do pies with a pot and a lid, we do a full pie.”

The pub is at the heart of the community and the loyal guests love the new look and the delicious food.

“There was the initial push back when we reopened because the prices had gone up and there was no more set menu and regular dishes like hunter’s chicken weren’t there,” explained Leanne.

“But very quickly, once our guests had eaten here, they discovered that they were getting exceptional service front of house and the quality of the food had gone up so much. Now no one questions it.”

Leanne loves to be part of the pub family and being connected to the community.

“Everyone has a story to tell here, there is so much history in the place and just the other night a guest was remembering being here as a child and their memories of the place,” she said.

“I started working as a waitress and so I know it front, back and forwards. We recognise guests as they come in and always stop and chat.”

The team embrace the people and the history that goes with the place.

“People always ask about Billy and Lyn Crighton who used to run the pub. Not a day goes by without someone saying: ‘I remember Billy and Lyn’.”

What is the best thing about your job?

“For me it is seeing people’s faces when they first walk in for the first time when they are wowed by the look of the place. We are so proud of our pub and love making our guests feel at home.”