It's not fancy, it's not big and it's not clever, but the scrag end is delicious. For simple, honest opinions on restaurants, recipes, supper clubs and what not, you've come to the right place.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Anchor, Walberswick

Walberswick. What a thoroughly satisfying word that is. Go on, try it. Try rolling it around for a minute. It’s like a fine wine, with that lovely, open-mouthed wal, the puckering ber and then that gorgeous finish, swooping and stiffening into the k, full of rigour and chutzpah. 

I imagine the people of this coastal village absolutely adore it. I certainly did. There’s the sea, the beach, the river and the beer, to name just four. And for a fifth, there’s The Anchor.

Few things afford more delight than walking into a pub and not only seeing some of your favourite beers on tap (Meantime and Adnams), but also receiving a beer menu, listing more than 20 bottles, carefully sought and sourced from the great brewing nations of the world.

First impressions count, and The Anchor could hardly have made a better one. We drank for a while, enjoying the comfortably comfortable atmosphere, then took our seats. The menu is fish-heavy, as you’d expect, and each dish has a suggested beer match as well as wine.

I started with confit cod cheeks, alongside a glass of San Franciscan Liberty Ale. The cheeks, meaty and rounded in both senses, were notable for their richness, playing off a perky tomato, fennel and leaf salad. It was a marvellous start. Three of us had the cod cheeks, leaving just one to branch out with chilli squid, superbly cooked and sweetly sauced. 

Mains continued mostly fishy. Mine, a simply cooked whole lemon sole in butter and lemon, melted on the tongue, fresh and a lot naughtier than fish should be. It was hardly an unusual combination, but still provided a reminder of just how brilliant it is to take something very healthy (fish) and render it superbly unhealthy (lashings of butter). Battered cod and chips did something similar, the crispy batter undermining all the good work of that chunky cod fillet. 

One of us went for meat: short rib of beef on a truffle mashed potato. The rib had been slow cooked, stripped and remoulded into a little patty, texturally satisfying and pretty tasty too. The truffle mash, an oily, buttery number, was a good as it sounds. Flying Dog Gonzo Porter was a brave beer choice, but proved somewhat foolhardy. At 8.7%, it rather ruined one of our number for the rest of the evening, though we could occasionally make out approving noises through his drunken babbling. 

Desserts followed, as is their wont, sweet and sticky. Ever the unorthodox, I plumped for a cranberry and walnut tart with cranberry ice cream. I have no idea why. I don’t really like cranberries, and I certainly have no truck with desserts that carry the stench of virtue about them. I shouldn’t have worried. This was not in the least bit virtuous. The tart cranberry proved an ideal mediator, moderating and translating the rich caramel and walnut of the filling.

I didn’t try the other desserts. They looked good, if that’s any help – a chocolate pudding with coconut and a something-or-other panna cotta (I lost the receipt, so can’t remember what it was). Coffees all round brought the bill to about £40 per head. For what we ate, and especially for the quantity and quality of delicious beer, it was excellent value. We returned the next day for lunch, when beef rib and Yorkshire puddings reached a similar standard. 

You may never go to Walberswick, but if you do, visit The Anchor.

Phil Letts’ take: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment