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|Address:||Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk CO6 4SE|
|Price: £30.00||Wine: £12.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-9.30pm (Fri-Sat -10pm) Sun 12N-9pm|
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I took my dad here for lunch on his 61st birthday – a snowy day at the end of November meant that it was very quiet and somewhat lacking in atmosphere as we were one of only around 4 tables occupied with a few people at the bar and there is also no music.
The venue itself is perfectly pleasant; a typical large country pub (they also have a boutique hotel on the same site) that is well maintained and clean with wooden tables and comfy seats all painted in restful greenish and brown hues and with a selection of art for sale on the walls and views over the Suffolk countryside, though I suspect this would be better when it's sunny and you could sit outside rather than look at fields full of snow.
Service was mixed – all the staff were very friendly, polite and helpful in the manner that you only ever get outside cities but they were also somewhat disorganised despite it not being busy; we must of had at least 3 different waiters/waitresses during a couple of hours and menus had to be asked for on more than one occasion and a replacement dessert spoon had to be asked for as the original didn't look absolutely clean.
Food was mixed – I started with celeriac, chestnut and roast almond soup and it was excellent, rich, creamy, packed with a range of flavours and perhaps most surprising compared to a lot of restaurants it was properly hot – only somewhat spoiled by the accompanying bread being a bit of ready sliced thick cut Hovis and the butter being too hard to spread. My main course was pheasant breast with redcurrants, calvo nero, caramelised parsnips and bacon – a commendable effort but the pheasant was just a bit drier and more chewy than ideal. Desert was bread and butter pudding with whisky soaked prunes and vanilla ice cream – fine, just unexceptional. Credit though that the menu changes regularly and there is always fresh fish and locally sourced ingredients and the previous occasion I've eaten here the food was a bit better and more consistent between courses.
Value for money is good – 3 courses for two people plus drinks came to around £65, though there is no service included.
Worth a visit – but save it for the sunny days and enjoy a seat in the garden.