Pub of the month – October 2016 – The Jolly Sailor, Orford

A pub heavy month this month due to spending a lovely week in Southwold and having a trip to a pub nearly every day of the holiday. I love holidays.

A special (but not in a good way) mention first to The Marquis Wellington, which became the first place to gain MOFAD approval and then have it revoked. Six visits in the last 2 years before this month, although it’s fair to say that during the previous one, the cracks were showing. On our last ever visit, we were there for some pre-show dining as usual, but after 45 minutes of waiting, half of the food hadn’t turned up, and 2 of our party had to go hungry.

On to better tales. A special mention for previous winner The Needle & Pin, who held an IPA tasting night at the start of the month. Patrons went on a tour of beers from the pale ale category, whilst Sean entertained us with some of the history of IPA. This is just the kind of thing that happens in “that London” so it was nice to be a part of it in a local setting. A great night at a great pub. Great beers too, including some oddness like the IPA full of peach flesh. It wasn’t an IPA.

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On to one of last month’s runners up next, the Church House Inn in Sutton. Three visits in 3 weeks, which must count for something (as I mentioned up above, we don’t go back to places if they let us down). October’s visit came after another lovely long walk in the Peak District, and saw us “upgraded” into a different room for good behaviour (the behaviour of Suzy the Ninja Hound who was with us). Another tasty triple pork nirvana was achieved here with these lovely ribs:-

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A lovely little village pub that deserves to keep thriving (it has been packed out on all of our visits).

For the rest of this month’s contenders, we find ourselves in Suffolk. On our first real active day of the holiday, half of us (Matt & I) were cycling, and the other half (Hazel & Mrs MOFAD) were touring by car (Mrs MOFAD was a bit under the weather). After visiting three different car parks to attempt to rendezvous with them, we had a little stroll and then headed into Walberswick for lunch.

The Bell is a lovely coastal pub, and is an Adnams pub, like so many in Suffolk. A lovely lunchtime menu offers some good choices, with three fishy sandwich options, two ploughmans and other pork and cheese choices alongside the usual full menu (which includes a very tempting Vietnamese style slow-cooked lamb shank with lemon grass and lime basmati rice).

Hazel & Matt had one of those ploughmans which was very good indeed and meant a free apple for the Minister 🙂. Mrs MOFAD opted for the crayfish tails and prawns in lime and dill mayonnaise sandwich, which was very tasty, with a very nice side salad. A posh fish finger sandwich for me, smoked cod fish fingers with mayonnaise, lettuce and parmesan pea pesto in toasted ciabatta – this was crunchy and delicious, a proper posh fish finger sandwich. With parmesan pea pesto, it can’t be anything but posh! Mushy peas for the Kensington set.

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The Bell Inn is a lovely seaside pub, well worth cycling to (or driving to). It’s a very easy ride from Southwold, with very little road involved if that’s your thing. There’s a nice (and big) beer garden out the back for the warmer months, and plenty of tables inside.

To our final day of holiday now, when we encountered two more great pubs. The Sole Bay Inn was the venue for our final dinner out. Much like the previous evening, we tried to get in to The Nelson again, but it was full. We split into two groups, to wait for tables in The Sole Bay Inn and The Nelson, harnessing the power of the internet to communicate when we had found one. The Sole Bay Inn got a free table first, so we grabbed it and sat down for dinner. It’s an Adnams pub, #obvs.

Triple pork nirvana was at stake again today (spoilers for the upcoming mention of the lunchtime pub), I had passed a few times during our week away due to lots of lovely fish to choose from, but on this visit the lure of the pulled pork burger was too strong to resist. It turned out to be a good call, a decent portion of pulled pork, not too sweet, served in a good roll with chips and a decent home made coleslaw. Good work team! Mrs MOFAD had the same, Hazel had some lovely ribs and Matt went for gammon. All good for our final meal out of the week.

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A good pint to go with it too, Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale which I also had earlier in the week. Hints of lemon, peach, mango and pine and a nice little blast of mosaic hops.

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There was also a tasty pudding to finish things off. You can’t reserve tables, but it is well worth the wait if you have time for one to become free. A lovely cosy pub with a friendly atmosphere.

Earlier in the day we had been on another lovely Suffolk cycle ride, which with some simple planning meant that we found ourselves in the Jolly Sailor in Orford for lunch. We parked our bikes in the beer garden, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat.

As with the other Suffolk pubs in this month’s round up, it’s an Adnams pub. The usual beers and lots of enticing food. Five options on the sandwich menu:-

Hoisin duck and spring onion wrap
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and avocado open sandwich
Prawn and crayfish Marie rose
Smoked ham and Gruyere cheese toasties with Suffolk chutney
Cumberland Sausage Baguette with onion jam

I opted for that last one, and it comes with a really nice dressed salad and vegetable crisps (Tyrell’s I suspect):-

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A lovely sausage baguette, great sausages, nice crusty baguette and sweet onion marmalade (they call it jam). Hearty and delicious. Mrs MOFAD opted for the ham & cheese toastie, which was well filled with ham and cheese, and nice and warming on a day of sea breezes. Our cycling and dining companions Hazel & Matt had the cheeseboard and some accompaniments, all very tasty stuff. I also got free grapes from the cheeseboard 🙂

The Jolly Sailor is a lovely seaside pub, and there’s a nice big beer garden out the back for warmer months too. Really nice food and good beer. And they allow dogs. Well worth it if you’re in the area, and definitely worth stopping off at if you’re riding the Suffolk coastal cycle route, which passes within about 50 yards of the pub… A worthy winner of pub of the month.

The Hunting Lodge, Barrow Upon Soar, October 2016

What is it that you need after you’ve been away in Suffolk for a week, sampling a few Adnams beers. Another Adnams pint of course! A pint of Broadside to accompany a catch up with some friends from work.

The Hunting Lodge in Barrow upon Soar is somewhere that I’ve been a few times over the years. It has always been known for good food and drink, and that reputation continues. It’s always busy because of that. Plenty of things to choose from on the menu is just one reason why there are always plenty of customers in. There’s masses of choice on the a la carte menu, plenty more on the early bird and snack menu.

Keeping it light today with a BBQ pulled pork baguette with chips and salad. Another good pub pulled pork, staying away from sickly sweetness and tending towards gentle spiciness and stickiness.

A lovely spot for some food and drink and a catch up. Well worth checking out if you’re in the area.

The Jolly Sailor, Orford, Suffolk, October 2016

Hello sailor!

This week has very much been about lovely coastal pubs, and The Jolly Sailor is another of those. Nestling just a short distance inland from the River Alde, and only a mile from the actual sea, The Jolly Sailor fits nicely in that category.

We parked our bikes in the beer garden, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat.

I probably don’t have to tell you by now that it’s an Adnams pub. Suprisingly this was my first pint of Spindrift this week. Adnams call this a blonde ale, but it’s more of a gose/lager hybrid. Refreshing and delicious, and still as good as the first time I had it in Norfolk many years ago. Certainly very good when you’re out cycling by the seaside.

On to the next most important thing – replacing lost calories. Five options on the sandwich menu:-

Hoisin duck and spring onion wrap
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and avocado open sandwich
Prawn and crayfish Marie rose
Smoked ham and Gruyere cheese toasties with Suffolk chutney
Cumberland Sausage Baguette with onion jam

I opted for that last one (triple pork nirvana is on again, after several near misses earlier in the week) and it comes with a really nice dressed salad and vegetable crisps (Tyrell’s I suspect):-

A lovely sausage baguette, great sausages, nice crusty baguette and sweet onion marmalade (they call it jam). Hearty and delicious.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the ham & cheese toastie, which was well filled with ham and cheese, and nice and warming on a day of sea breezes.

Our cycling and dining companions Hazel & Matt had the cheeseboard and some accompaniments, all very tasty stuff. I also got free grapes from the cheeseboard 🙂

The Jolly Sailor is a lovely seaside pub, and there’s a nice big beer garden out the back for warmer months too. Really nice food and good beer. And they allow dogs. MOFAD approved of course, and a MOFAD card was left. Well worth it if you’re in the area, and definitely worth stopping off at if you’re riding the Suffolk coastal cycle route, which passes within about 50 yards of the pub…

The Star Inn, Wenhaston, Suffolk, October 2016

Well, this was an interesting experience. Before I go any further, let me just say that the food was lovely and there was a nice pint too. And the staff were also very friendly.

Ok, here we go.

I don’t normally take photos inside pub toilets. I know that’s not a sentence you should need to write. But this pub was different. Very different. To almost any pub we’ve ever visited. A distinct League of Gentlemen feel to some of the decor. Are you local?

So let’s start with that toilet. An Adnams sign. NFS. Or “Normal For Suffolk”, since there are so many Adnams pubs. This was in fact just one of two that we visited this week that wasn’t actually an Adnams pub. There was a vaguely interesting old car picture on the far wall. Looks reasonably normal.

Let’s swing round to our right shall we? What’s that over there? Bar skittles, tournament horseshoes and something else that is all perfectly abnormal for a pub toilet. This is all rather weird. And these are just the bits that I could photograph because no-one else was watching.

The bar area was a similar mish-mash of things. Old newspaper articles, a lovely old fireplace, a dartboard, some randomly arranged 1970s style rope light, a harp with one string, skulls, spiky things, hooks and rings and more besides. It’s just all a bit odd. Not unpleasant, just odd.

On then to the food and drink. This pulled pork baguette was one of the best things I had all week. A real decent baguette (not just some part baked thing that you buy at the supermarket and heat up in the oven for 5 minutes). The pulled pork was really nice too. And a simple side salad with a nice dressing.

A range of local ales on too, including Adnams (for the tourists apparently) and then things from smaller breweries. I had a pint of Starling by Green Jack, a smaller brewery based just up the coast in Lowestoft. A very tasty light bitter, and just the kind of thing you hope to find in a nice village pub.

This pub has to be experienced to be believed. Great food and drink, and plenty of quirks to keep you talking!

The Pig in Muck, Claybrooke Magna

Another visit to this pub, which is on a regular walking route for us. We’ve been here a few times in the last 4 or 5 years, but haven’t done this walk for a couple of years, so it was nice to pop in for lunch today.

On Sundays they concentrate on their carvery menu, a selection of roasts for a good price. And this is proper pub carvery, none of that Toby carvery nastiness. However, they do also cater for those of us wanting something lighter (because we are cooking our own Sunday roast later on), with your choice of roast meat in a baguette, with salad and chips.

As you can see, this is still a very substantial lunch, and a very tasty one. A roast gammon baguette with a good salad and a good portion of chips. It was very nice indeed, accompanied by a pint of Pig Brewing Weiner bitter, a hoppy and bitter golden ale, very easy drinking and brewed on site too.

The Pig in Muck is a lovely little village pub, well worth stopping off at during your next walk in the area or if you are passing on the nearby A5.

MOFAD approved!

TPN 2016 #10

Birthday triple pork nirvana! This is the first time it’s been achieved in years, due to various reasons. The missed opportunities don’t matter, all that matters is achieving nirvana when you can.

It started at Table Table in Springwood Park, with a full English:-

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Nirvana continues at the Robin Hood in Rainow, with the classic that is sausage baguette:-

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We save the best for last, with sticky Oriental ribs at the Vale Inn, Bollington:-

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It’s probably the most exotic ending to a triple yet, although the Cumbrian pizza at Dodd’s is still one of my favourites. Not the first rib-based TPN either, as this visit to the Empress of Blandings rounded off another triple in the same way. However, these ribs were probably the tasiest of the MOFAD era.