The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017 #4

Moist.

That has been the over-riding theme of today. The forecast was very specific. Rain coming in around lunchtime. And not leaving until late evening. So we were up and out, off to bag another Wainwright. Very much a “there and back” walk, get up, get back down, and get back under cover until the rain passes.

After an afternoon of unceasing rain, we wondered if it would ever be dry again. When we arrived on Thursday, we had to pitch our awning in a swamp. The swamp had started to recede, but as the afternoon wore on, the swamp was back and bigger than ever. Squelch squelch. The only sensible option is to retire to the pub.

We did just that. After a good effort at finishing it up, the Eden Valley had gone, and was replaced by Ullswater Blonde, also from Eden Brewery. I’ve had this beer every year for the last three, and the current batch seems lighter in colour than previous brews. An easy drinking golden ale.

Food next, and after a cool and wet afternoon (if only we’d brought our radiator in August!) a warming bowl of smoked haddock chowder was just what was needed. A lovely mini loaf of bread accompanied it, but I wasn’t convinced about the salad. It doesn’t seem to fit with the creamy chowder (which was very nice).

And after plenty of properly plated meals, we have a double whammy of disappointment. A slate set into a bread board. Why, cruel fate, why? Why not just a plate?

Luckily, the plate was around for the pudding (often a prime candidate for a slate). This dark chocolate delight with raspberry ripple ice cream and a few raspberries was a lovely end to the meal, the richness of the chocolate being cut through by the raspberries.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the Cumbrian classic of sticky toffee pudding, which was sticky and delicious.

We’ve had lots of lovely meals at The Brotherswater Inn. When you are a captive campsite audience, it’s always a worry in case it doesn’t turn out to be very good, or there’s a limited menu. This was not the case. A lovely pub with lovely food and beer. Perfect for a campsite.

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017 #2

As foretold yesterday, we are back again. A little more tired today, as we have been doing one of our walks, and we have certainly earned some sustenance today. Not as hard earned as some of the dinners after the walks we have done as part of these circuits, but still a just reward for our efforts.

On to drinks, and if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Which is another way of saying that there were no new ales on (despite our efforts to empty the Mobberley cask yesterday) so it was more of the same.

Back to the specials board again, and it’s time for spot the difference from last night. There are 2 changes. A new soup, and the chicken special replaced by lamb.

The lamb was very tempting, but I was going fishy again, with the last of the char grilled marlin, with lemon and asparagus risotto.

This was not bad, but I always expect a risotto to be amazing, because of the amount of care and effort that should go into it. I find that making risotto is quite a therapeutic thing, you take your time and make a lovely dinner. It’s just stirring at the end of the day, but that process produces great results. So when you get one that’s just ok, it can feel like a bit of a let down.

The second matter in hand, is whether to flake the fish and distribute it throughout the dish, or plonk a lump on top. The flaked option can feel more like paella, but the plonked option does feel a bit like an afterthought. Mrs MOFAD had a pork stroganoff which was very nice.

It was soon time for pudding, with this ice cream sundae/knickerbocker glory concoction.

Sweet and delicious. Just like last night, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. Yet another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Hopefully another walking weekend will bring us this way soon, lovely place.

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017

Firstly, a note on pronunciation. Combs is pronounced “combs” like the thing that you use on your hair, as opposed to “coombs”, which many of us may have mistakenly called it. Maybe.

On to food and drink. We find ourselves back here again, finishing off a circuit of walking circuits that we started back in May 2014. We were last at the camp site up the road in September 2015, doing some of those walking circuits. On that occasion we came to The Beehive for dinner on both nights. It was good. So we are doing that again. Once again, we find ourselves in the bar area where dogs are welcome, as Suzy the ninja hound is with us as usual.

Tonight began as the previous nights began, a quick photograph of the specials board so everyone in our party could find out what was on it.

Whilst they perused, we were ordering some drinks. As well as some dull and predictable Marstons, there always seems to be a good guest ale or two. Tonight that guest ale was Route 97 from Mobberley brewhouse. It was a delicious hoppy pale ale. Refreshing and good Chinook hop profile.

Food next. Last time several of us had the seafood platter. We were pleased to see that it was still on the specials board, and several of us had it again. It wasn’t quite as good as last time, the bread seems to have been downgraded to a slice of Hovis Seed Sensations instead of a nice chunk of fresh granary, and the fishy offerings were less. Not as many leaves as last time, and more sliced peppers I think.

Mrs MOFAD opted for duck breast, with sweet potato and rosemary mash and a Cumberland sauce.

Although we hadn’t yet earned one, we had to have a pudding, having spotted the chocolate and candied lime tart on the specials board. This is an important lesson – if you see something on the specials board that you want, have it, because it might not be there the next time you come. This handy poem will help you to remember:-

Never put off what you can do today,
For it may lead to sorrow.
If you do it today and you like it,
You can do it again tomorrow.

The chocolate and lime choice was absolutely spot on. Lovely rich chocolate, reasonably crisp pastry and the candied lime was absolutely divine. As you may have already gathered, I love lime.

Somewhere in between courses, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. We hung around for a while with drinks and a few games of Uno, as per. Another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Lovely people, lovely pub.

Lucy’s on a Plate, Ambleside, January 2017

A change to normal procedures. We find ourselves at Lucy’s on the last night of our holiday, instead of the first. This was by design, as we wanted to indulge on our last night, after plenty of walking.

A simple starter tonight, tasty toasted pittas with houmous, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Light and flavoursome.

Eventually some beer arrived. The Coniston brews were all out of stock (a crime given that they are just a short drive down the A593). I ordered a Hawkshead Lakeland Gold and a Red turned up instead. It had been a long enough wait already, so I had that instead.

On to the main event, a nice piece of crispy skinned salmon with saffron mash, tender stem broccoli and roasted tomatoes. Very nice indeed.

Mrs MOFAD had this very nice prosciutto wrapped chicken dish:-

You have to finish things off with a pudding here, and it was sticky toffee pudding and two spoons. Moist and delicious.

A lovely meal at Lucy’s as usual, we shall always be back. It’s just a matter of when. Another great week in the Lakes comes to an end…

The Sole Bay Inn, Southwold, Suffolk, October 2016

The final night of our 2016 East Anglian epic adventure. What an adventure it has been. We have enjoyed lots of great food and drink, some lovely cycle rides and found plenty of new pubs to relax in.

Much like last night, 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.

As luck would have it, we came up trumps with a table in The Sole Bay Inn, and settled in. Hazel & Matt returned from round the corner and we walked the two steps to the bar to order. I don’t need to tell you that The Sole Bay Inn is an Adnams pub do I?

First up, a pint of Jack Brand Ease Up IPA, a decent enough session IPA, good hoppy notes, some malt, a little sweetness. It’s better on keg than it is out of the bottle.

Triple pork nirvana was at stake again today, I have passed a few times this week due to lots of lovely fish to choose from, but today, 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 this week.

This needed some more Adnams accompaniment, sticking with Jack Brand I went for the 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.

The end of the holiday should be marked with a pudding, and another tasty chocolate treat awaited here, dark and dense with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

A fantastic end to a fantastic holiday. A great little pub, with food served 12-9pm. 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, a friendly atmosphere and very definitely MOFAD approved!

The Crown Hotel, Southwold, Suffolk, October 2016

Poshing it up a bit tonight. We had tried to get in to The Nelson but as usual it was full, so we had a short stroll around and happened upon The Crown. They had a few tables free, so we requested one and settled in for some dinner.

Do I need to tell you this is an Adnams establishment? Probably not. So away we go. A pint of Cashmere IPA, which I had the other day, a very decent pale ale but doesn’t fit in the category of IPA.

Keeping with my fishy theme (we are beside the seaside after all), I had a very tasty piece of hake, crispy skin, lovely risotto with fennel and pea shoot salad.

Mrs MOFAD also had fish, in the form of steamed sea bass with noodles and pak choi, and a ginger, chilli and sweet soy broth. Also very tasty.

Hazel & Matt had pork belly and rump steak respectively, and Hazel’s request to swap out the fennel accompanying her dish was accommodated without any fuss.

Mrs MOFAD fancied a pudding, and had this Cambridge burnt cream (creme brulee with a Fens twist) with “cat’s tongue biscuit”. Both were very good.

A very pleasant meal in a very pleasant hotel. If you’re looking for something other than good pub dining in Southwold, this should fit the bill.

The Angel Inn, Wangford, Suffolk, October 2016

Pub quiz night! As you’ll know by now, we do like a pub quiz. We haven’t done very many this year so the opportunity to take on another one was most welcome. What is a holiday without a pub quiz after all? To be sure of our place we booked a table in advance so that we could eat first and ensure we were in tip top condition for quizzing.

Here comes the first shock of the night. The Angel Inn is not an Adnams pub. I repeat, not an Adnams pub. This is proof that there are a few pubs in Suffolk that the Adnams mafia haven’t got their claws into 🙂

This means that for the first time this week, I’ve been able to order a non-Adnams beer in a pub. This was an Otter Ale, from Devon, something I’ve had before, but in pre-Untappd days so not for a few years. It’s a classic malty English bitter with caramel notes. Very nice.

We ordered our dinners and sat back and waited for them to arrive. Their were a few other diners around too, all enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Matt & I ordered steaks, Mrs MOFAD and Hazel chose chicken & mushroom pies. Two steaks arrived soon afterwards. This was mine.

Or so I thought! A mix up with our neighbours’ table meant that we got their steaks, and Matt had just sprinkled some salt on the chips before this was spotted and rectified, with the plates moving a few feet to our right. So around 5 minutes later, our dinner arrived. As you can see, presentation is pretty consistent:-

The taste was good too. I ordered rare as usual and it was cooked to perfection, although Matt’s medium-rare was very much on the medium side. Classic accompaniments of tomato, mushroom and peas and good home-made chips. A pub classic done well.

The pies were also good, a proper, complete pie, not just a dish with a lid of pastry. We did have to question Hazel’s alleged northern credentials though, as she was not putting gravy on her pie and chips.

As we were staying for the pub quiz, we decided to have some more food and drink. We cross over the border to Norwich for this Woodforde’s Wherry, another one that I’ve had before, a nice smooth session bitter.

As I keep on saying, a chocolate pudding is always the correct choice, and this was indeed the case tonight. A lovely dense chocolate mousse, rich and intense, complemented by the creamy white chocolate pieces, and offset by the tartness of the physalis (also known as the cape gooseberry, although it’s from the nightshade family). Tasty tasty chocolate.

All that was left was the pub quiz.

Except it wasn’t. Not enough people had turned up, so there was no pub quiz. Despondent, we trooped out and went home to drink beer instead. A good pub with good food and beer, certainly worth a visit.