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A boon for Bedfordshire, Martin and Jayne Lee’s “lovely local gastropub” shows exactly how to combine the gregarious pleasures of a country boozer with the intelligence and culinary know-how of a serious-minded eatery. The kitchen is pitched up behind the bar and there’s no needless frippery when it comes to the food on the plate – although the results are “always excellent”. Expect dishes with bags of oomph and intensity, whatever the season: in autumn, for example, you might find Josper-roast pigeon breast with spiced beetroot purée and spiced golden beets ahead of roast monkfish with sautéed cavolo nero, bouillabaisse sauce and crisp garlic potatoes or slow-cooked Blythburgh pork belly with roasted red onions, cabbage roll and redcurrant chutney. Steaks and simply grilled fish please the die-hards, while puds might bring Amalfi lemon tart with Neal’s Yard crème fraîche. Also don’t miss the choice of three fascinating cheese selections (British, French, Italian) or the knowledgeably chosen worldwide wine list.
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