Eat­ing out at Snape Plough & Sail

Tra­di­tional din­ing with a twist

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE - WORDS: Frances Hopewell-Smith PHO­TOS: Plough & Sail

You’ve prob­a­bly heard of the slightly dis­parag­ing term ‘baby brain’. Well, I have ‘dog brain’. Hav­ing in­her­ited a large lurcher just be­fore last Christ­mas and re­al­is­ing it was for life, not just the hol­i­day,

I’ve been knocked side­ways. I have a per­ma­nent shadow, a silent stalker who is de­mand­ing in an un­de­mand­ing way. Thirty ki­los of con­cen­trated de­vo­tion is quite a re­spon­si­bil­ity and also means no spon­ta­neous trips away and re­mem­ber­ing to take as much kit for him as for me – if not more – on any out­ing. On the plus side I’ve dis­cov­ered umpteen foot­paths and new walks wher­ever I go and my ex­er­cise level is at 6/10. Or maybe just 5/10.

Con­se­quently any­where that is dogfriendly now gets my vote and al­though the Plough & Sail at Snape wel­comes dogs, the most im­por­tant rea­son to come here is the qual­ity of the food and Oli Burn­side’s bril­liant cook­ing. I have been here many times (once by ca­noe) and know that the menu never dis­ap­points. Tonight I leave the shadow re­lax­ing at home be­cause my friend and I are eat­ing in the restau­rant part of this lively pub. Alex Burn­side (Oli’s twin brother) is front of house and gives us menus to read while hav­ing a drink in the gar­den. And hur­rah, this fol­lows the tra­di­tional for­mat of starters, mains and puddings, but it’s a tough de­ci­sion-mak­ing process at the end of a long day. The em­pha­sis is on good lo­cal meat and fish but Oli puts his own in­ter­est­ing touches to each dish. He also re­sists the temp­ta­tion of over-com­pli­cat­ing the de­scrip­tions and so, when the beau­ti­ful, in­tri­cate plate of food ar­rives, it has more im­pact and ex­ceeds ex­pec­ta­tions.

In the newly-dec­o­rated restau­rant (rest­ful muted colours with com­fort­able chairs in dusky pas­tels) the at­mos­phere is un-fussy and ca­sual but ooz­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Alex brings soft brown bread from lo­cal bak­ers in Wood­bridge with two sorts of but­ter and a dish of oil and bal­samic vine­gar and shortly after ar­rives with our starters. I’ve cho­sen Mediter­ranean fish soup with gruyere and my friend has short ribs from the spe­cials board. Well, the fish soup is fan­tas­tic. Smooth, rich and flavour­ful, no hint of grit and with bites of per­fectly cooked scal­lops, hal­ibut and tiger prawns. The melt­ing strings of gruyere are a bit chal­leng­ing and prob­a­bly not a good idea for a first date, but a great taste com­bi­na­tion. The meat on the beef ribs is soft, sweet and unc­tu­ous and the (very gen­er­ous) stack is served with a creamy chilli sauce.

Our main cour­ses seem to be a food re­ver­sal. I have slow cooked pork and

friend has hal­ibut. (The fish is a size­able piece and we ques­tion Alex about it. Surely too big to be hal­ibut? It turns out we need to brush up on our fish-siz­ing knowl­edge. The big­gest one they’ve dealt with in the kitchen was nearly two me­tres long.) Dressed with se­same seeds and tahini and served with crunchy TSB – ten­der stem broc­coli, not the bank – this is pro­nounced to­tally de­li­cious. My slow cooked pork belly is fall­ing-off-the-bone lovely. It comes with creamy chorizo, chick­peas and tar­ragon with spinach and a tomato sauce in a cute lit­tle jug. I give it my best shot, but ul­ti­mately it’s too much for me and friend kindly fin­ishes it. He doesn’t seem to find it a hard­ship.

‘Chef Oli Burn­side works out his own way of mak­ing in­ter­est­ing and tempt­ing dishes’

On­wards to pud­ding. Alex rec­om­mends lemon cream with rhubarb three ways (friend) and I’m not go­ing to miss out on mille feuille with straw­ber­ries and cream, lime curd and crushed meringues. Now we’re all ex­perts in the finer points of bak­ing thanks to GBBO and I can tell you this mille feuille is spot on. The straw­ber­ries have been ma­scer­at­ing (lolling about in icing sugar), the lime curd is sharp and smooth and the bis­cu­ity leaves are flaky and nutty-flavoured. Add the meringues and it’s nigh on per­fect. Mean­while the rhubarb three ways and set lemon pos­set seem to be go­ing down well. A small shot glass of rhubarb jelly, a sor­bet and poached pieces are sit­ting on a crumbly scat­ter­ing of short­bread. He says it’s pure the­atre and ut­terly gor­geous.

When chef Oli Burn­side comes to chat we re­lay our praise and par­tic­u­lar favourites from sup­per. He ex­plains how he starts from the won­der­ful sup­ply of good pro­duce from round about, sup­ple­ments it with one or two in­gre­di­ents from fur­ther afield and works out his own way of mak­ing the most in­ter­est­ing and tempt­ing dishes. He is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of what he and his brother have achieved (they also run the Golden Key just down the road) and they man­age to make it all look so easy. Busy times can be hec­tic, he says, but they’re used to it and rel­ish the buzz and sat­is­fac­tion of hav­ing both restau­rant and pub full to burst­ing.

Sup­per over and back home, where the shadow greets me ex­pec­tantly. A dog­gy­bag per­haps, with some lovely, tasty treats? But no, with food as good as it is at the Plough & Sail, there’s not a crumb left over.N

Oli and Alex Burn­side

LEFT AND BE­LOW: De­li­cious food made from ex­cel­lent in­gre­di­ents

ABOVE: The re­laxed, stylish in­te­rior of the Plough and Sail

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.