The Newbourne Fox
Review date: January 2015
Adrian Rawlinson visits a
family favourite for a weekend treat
The months of January and February can, I find, be a little drab. The excitement of Christmas is over, the days can be dull and spring seems a long way away. Add to this the chance that after festive retail over indulgence one’s eye may be focussed a tad more keenly on the bank account and you can see why these early weeks of the year for many become a self-imposed social hibernation.
However it doesn’t have to be this way. A popular good value destination for the Rawlinson household throughout the year is The Fox at Newbourne. In the summer it is a great venue to sit outside and enjoy its chocolate box exterior festooned with beautiful hanging baskets but for me it is the winter when it really shines.
It is what I call a cosy pub, a perfect destination and refuge on a winter’s day. The bar area with its inglenook fireplace, beams and red tiled floor is, to my mind, the template for what an English country pub should look like. It is small enough to be intimate but large enough to drink and dine in comfort. In addition to the bar area (where dogs are very welcome) The Fox has a separate dining room and it was here that my wife and I chose to eat on our recent Sunday lunchtime visit.
Like the great country pub Sunday lunch is a very British affair and one I enjoy in winter more than summer. There is something very comforting about a roast dinner ‘with all the trimmings’ and as much as I enjoy cooking knowing that someone else is doing the washing up makes it taste even better. Also with our children now away at university going out for Sunday lunch seems to make sense on a number of levels. The first is that I think a roast always taste better when it comes from a large joint rather than a smaller one that your are more likely to cook at home for two people, and the second is choice - whether that choice be a different roast or something entirely different.
The Fox offers a menu of regular ‘set’ favourites which is changed throughout the year, daily specials and, on Sundays, a roast menu generally featuring pork, beef, a vegetarian nut roast and sometimes lamb.
With a busy Sunday morning behind us and having arrived with heightened appetites we had already decided that we would have a starter and were both tempted by options from the specials board. I went for whitebait and Lesley for slow roasted belly pork bites served with a chilli sauce. Both were excellent but I was particularly impressed with the pork belly which was supremely succulent and melted in the mouth.
For my main I was set on a roast and enthusiastically plumped for the pork with Lesley taking an alternative path and choosing the steak, mushroom and ale suet pudding from the regular menu. As we waited the short time for our meals to arrive I, as my wife tells me I often do, ‘rubber necked’ watching other diners choices arrive. As I did so I was wondering, despite my hunger, whether having a starter (and sampling some of Lesley’s) had been such a good idea. To say the roast portions are substantial is an understatement. Nouvelle cuisine this isn’t and while it may not make the prettiest of photographs the real picture that should be captured is the look of delight on customer’s faces as it arrives. I was not disappointed. My pork was moist, flavoursome and far more generous a portion than I would serve at home - even on my most indulgent days. The vegetables, roasts potatoes and Yorkshire pudding were all top notch and at just £11.95 I don’t think anyone could ever say that it didn’t represent exceptional value.
Lesley’s meal was perfect comfort food. The suet of the pudding was light and the ale gravy and meat delicious. It was also a very generous portion that ultimately defeated her and again was just £11.95.
One the reasons we are fans of The Fox is that it is a relaxed pub. Having really over indulged with our first two courses we were in no hurry to decide if we were going to go blow our calories for the week and have a dessert. As we sat chatting and just enjoying some time together I realised although the dining room is separate from the bar area, and is designed to be brighter, there is a clear line of site between the two areas that joins the parts and, in doing so, creates a consistent affable atmosphere wherever you choose to sit.
After a suitable break and another lovely pint of real ale – a real strength of the pub – we decided we may as well be in for a penny as a pound and asked for the dessert menu. I knew that if I went for options such as sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownie or spotted dick I would have to be extracted with a fork lift so went for what I always consider a lighter option - a selection of ice creams of which I would certainly recommend the morello cherry and honeycomb and fig. Also looking for a lighter option my wife chose the citrus tart which had a well-balanced sharpness, an excellent end to the meal.
After a coffee and more time to talk we said goodbye and headed home with another excellent visit under our belts. We shall return and suggest if you want a little treat on a dull day, or even a bright one, in the next couple of months you should too.
The Fox Inn
The Street, Newbourne, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4NY
In January and February The Fox will be offering 2 for 1 on Sunday roasts after 4pm
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