Is this the best pub in Ipswich? An astonishing range of craft beers from around the world, a beer sommelier, gorgeous gins, street food on a Friday and the friendliest staff.
Why are all the decent pubs I've been to recently near Woodbridge? Last week I took Mr SuffolkFoodie to The Turks Head for a late Sunday lunch, as I'd been invited by Jemima the owner. Jemima was actually away on holiday, so I was sorry not to meet her. Still, I admire an owner who offers a review meal and shows such enormous confidence in the staff ... and the staff were brilliant, all quite clearly trained in their roles, and friendly, without hovering or being stifling. The Turks Head is a family and dog friendly gastropub with the Hasketon countryside providing some great local walks. (Handy PDF downloads for 11 guided walks are provided on the website). Even at 5pm, on an early April evening, the terrace was busy with families who looked as though they were stopping for mid walk refreshments. There's also a proper pentanque pitch, which has been added to my list of 'must investigate further, it could be fun' activities. The Sunday lunch is a set menu of 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses £24. I was hoping to try the Gressingham duck steamed dumplings which apparantly are a favourite of the regulars, but they had eaten them all, and so the replacement dish was an oriental duck salad with hoisin, which came garnished with wafer thin hot and piquant pickled ginger. A Caesar style, wild turbot salad had crunchy homemade croutons, whole anchovy fritters and with a very generous amount of wild turbot soldiers, a novel and very good take on the classic version. Spotted also on the menu was a foraged nettle soup which sounded tempting. The head chef, Mauri is a classically French trained chef who was born in India and has worked in many high profile establishments, the menu reflecting his eclectic range of cooking styles from around the globe. The highlight dish of our lunch undoubtedly being a local venison bhuna masala with rice, papad and raita. It is probably the best curry I've had between Southall and Leicester with powerful spicing providing the punch required of a great curry. Tender, pink roast sirloin of beef was topped by an impressive and very large Yorkshire pudding and was served with side dishes of tomatoey ratatouille, roasted carrots, celeriac and a cauliflower cheese. We finished with a banoffee pie (Birdy our delightful waitress telling us that the customers had petitioned when the pudding had been removed from the menu, so now reinstated) and Hamish Johnston selected British cheeses, which included a Perl Las, a Godminster organic Cheddar and Ellingham goats cheese. Behind the bar is a great range of local cask ales and my favourite Aspalls cyder and notably an excellent range of interesting soft drinks for the driver. There are three sittings for Sunday lunch starting at 12 midday with the last sitting at 5pm.
- Dogs are welcome
- Oriental duck salad with hoisin
- Caesar style wild turbot salad, croutons, anchovies
- Roast sirloin of Suffolk beef, Yorkshire oudding, red wine gravy with lovely seasonal vegetables
- Local venison bhuna masala, rice, papad, raita
- Banoffee pie, toffee sauce, caramelised banana
- British cheeses from Hamish Johnston
- Families are welcome
- the dining room
Last time I ate at The Tickell Arms in Whittlesford there was a sign on the door saying 'no long haired lefties'. That was in 1981. Nowadays the pub is part of the CambsCuisine Group and is much more accommodating. Dogs are welcome (in the pub) and long haired lefties are allowed in too. I ate duck breast with pearl barley, roasted red onions, parsnip puree and port sauce. Very good it was too!
People have been telling me the food is good at The Bear Inn, Beyton, so we nipped in for a family supper, which was just going to be a main course and then the chicken liver parfait sounded tempting with the fruit chutney and homemade bread (which had been toasted over the flame grill) so I ordered that. It was excellent. Much to the surprise of my family, as I never eat steak when I am out, I ordered a rib eye steak cooked rare, which it was. Salad leaves were properly dressed and fat chips crisp. That left no room for a pudding...or did it? I noticed the taster puddings which are scaled down portions so ordered the apple crumble with homemade vanilla custard. Wow, was that good and just £3 for the small, yet not so mini, deliciously tart apple crumble with sugary crunchy top and the best custard that I have eaten out for a long time.
Here is the link to The Bear Inn recipe page. Try making their lemon possett.
Benson Blakes in Bury St Edmunds has just taken over a country pub; not to make it into a burger bar but for a very exciting project. The pub is owned by the local farmer who will be supplying the pub with rare breed pork (Oxford Sandy & Black) with beef, lamb, free range turkey, wild venison and local game. There will be a small holding established early next year for herbs, salads and vegetables. The farmer will also be growing wheat, barley & hops for a microbrewery that will be established in the farm. They are also setting up a smokery and doing a full range of charcuterie meats and chutneys... Real Suffolk food !!
We don't want you all to know about this pub because it's busy enough as it is but we just had a tasty and great value home made lunch here, two courses for £5.70. The bill for four was under thirty pounds - including four drinks from a selection of guest and house ales. We had plaice and chips, chicken veronique (a bit like chicken supreme with grapes, but we didn't find any grapes in ours...) peach mousse with Archers, and bread pudding. There was a dish of fresh veg each; a choice of mashed, chipped or sauted potatoes, and custard or cream on the puddings. When the puddings ran out they put on new ones - hot chocolate pudding or whisky and raspberry trifle. This is how to fill up a pub or restaurant - very friendly staff welcoming lots of older local people who were brought up on this kind of home-made food and who know how good it is.
It's a long drive for us but inspector x drove, so I had three glasses of cava and a sloe gin at this evening's launch event at The Plough, near the coast and only three miles from Woodbridge. There was generous hospitality from Ruth the landlady, introducing her new chef Jerome and the autumn menu to a group of foodie friends and supporters. We ate mini-burgers, toad in the hole, welsh rarebit and fish and chip canapes, followed by mini strawberry pavlovas and treacle tarts.
Quirky Black Lion Hotel in Little Walsingham, Norfolk has a menu especially for dogs. It also has a Stitch 'n Bitch Knitters Anonymous evening on a Wednesday night. I ate there last week, in the middle of the afternoon and the only person in the place. I had the fresh sea bass as I didnt fancy the rawhide chew. It was very good.
Whether you approve or not the Wetherspoons Brand is making its' mark here in Suffolk. The controversial new one due to open in the beautiful Corn Exchange in Bury and the Willow Tree, just opened in Stowmarket, specialise in budget food and drinks at remarkably low prices. I went to see for myself how Stow was getting on. It was packed on a Friday lunchtime - families with babies in pushchairs, office workers and lone drinkers. My daughter went to the bar and ordered two cokes. A male customer stopped her and asked if if she was on her lunch break, pulled a hip flask of rum from his pocket and offered her a shot in her coke!
I tried the Sweet Chilli Noodles. Described on the menu as egg noodles tossed in a sweet chilli sauce with red peppers, spring onion, choy sum, bamboo shoots and carrots. £3.30 for 356 calories. What arrived was something called Yuk Yuk Yuk so I saved those calories for another day.
Too tired to cook Sunday Roast but very hungry after the festival so we tried this pub carvery - in spite of a review that said 'avoid at all costs'. Why? We just had to go there...! But a lovely waitress, young hard-working chefs willing to give you all three types of meat and extra vegetables for a tenner, and home made Arctic Roll...what more could you want on a Sunday evening?
This is a pretty village right in the middle of USA - land Mildenhall and Lakenheath, with a Native American buried in the churchyard and a pub that sells chili!