Five years has flown by, if you’ll pardon the pun (of which we are guilty of many). When we threw the doors open to The Muddy Duck back in 2012 we were brutally honest (at least with ourselves) that we didn’t know what we were doing.

We gazed at our beautifully renovated pub and restaurant and never expected the phone to ring, tyres to crunch into the car park or feet to pad through the door. And yet you came – dare we say, sometimes, in your droves. It was both a pleasant shock and surprise that, having never run a restaurant or pub before, we seemed to be getting it (mostly) right.

Half a decade on and it’s genuinely pleasing to watch the surrounding area grow and prosper but with that influx of new blood came the creeping realisation that we suddenly risked looking a little ‘done’. The Muddy Duck opened to be unashamedly different’ so it’s time to up our game.

Our pockets, energy and kitchen have all taken a hammering from the stampede of loyal regulars, locals, far-flungers and first timers visiting us, so we’ve closed the doors for a few weeks to take stock, rip out the old, tart things up and start the next chapter.

Going the extra mile (as some have commented they have to do when finding us in the wilds of rural Hethe) starts with ripping out our once-snazzy, now cream-crackered kitchen and replacing it with a completely open kitchen – what you see is what you get. We want to reignite the excitement of what should be a treat. Part of the show of dining out is enjoying the theatre of the kitchen – the flames, steam and clattering of that, often, highly charged stage and all the wonderful sights and smells that go with it. Gone are the days when customers preferred their food to magically appear from behind closed doors. Transparency is really important to customers. And you’ll get that from our new kitchen, in spades.

Fancy something a bit more special, but non-fancy? Try our Malthouse restaurant at t’other end of the Duck.

We are all about the food. It’s in our blood, it’s what we know and we’re pushing our neck out to take things to the next level. We believe we’re the only pub in the country (and one of few in Europe and globally) with our own salt ageing chamber, so our steaks really pack a punch and are some of the best you will wrap your chops around. The Himalayan salt wall draws moisture from the meat, slowly intensifying it to give it a very dense, powerhouse flavour. Perfect for a board choc’ full of special cuts from our new, feast style menu.

With head chef Pawel and team, we have introduced our own English charcuterie, prosciutto and cheeses, chef-made ricotta, pickles, chutneys, preserves and syrups, foraged and wild seasonal food from the fields around us, home-grown salads and vegetables and not forgetting our other feathered friends – our ?ber free range hen and duck’s eggs. No short cuts – if we can do it ourselves, we will because you always invest time in what you love.

We’re not out to play arrogant but we’re simply doing what we do, trying to do it (very) well - and adding our own little spin on things to keep you on your toes.

The Muddy Duck, Main St, Hethe, Oxfordshire OX27 8ES is re-opening on Friday October 20. 01869 278099 or