Din­ing Out At

The Sun Inn at Ded­ham

Essex Life - - INSIDE -

At the end of a fran­tic day, there’s noth­ing nicer than a long walk with the dog and some­one else to do the cook­ing. As a for­mer coach­ing inn, The Sun has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence re­viv­ing weary trav­ellers and their four-legged com­pan­ions. The newly-re­fur­bished in­te­rior was a mix of bright pas­tel shades which worked well to show off the dark orig­i­nal wood beams and ex­posed brick­work.

We sat op­po­site the glossy-elm bar, which is dog friendly, and be­low us was the ma­jor part of the restau­rant. Both ar­eas have new plush seat­ing and smart new tables. Ser­vice was both friendly and ef­fi­cient. With the dog hap­pily set­tled un­der our ta­ble we checked out the ex­ten­sive wine list, help­fully grouped into types of flavours and coun­tries of ori­gin. With a glass of the Serie ‘A’ Chardon­nay/Viog­nier in hand I sur­veyed the menu.

Breads were swiftly de­liv­ered with tape­nade and a de­li­cious ex­tra vir­gin olive oil for dip­ping. We set­tled on Swiss chard, tomato and chick­pea soup for my guest and, for me, I was in­stantly drawn to the Parma ham, black mis­sion figs and ri­cotta with Ali­son’s

honey. The chef got a tick in the box for pre­sen­ta­tion when they ar­rived, for both the food and the care­fully se­lected art­ful pot­tery used to frame each dish. Both starters were full of Mediter­ranean colours, but with plenty of lo­cal pro­duce on the menu.

Next came pep­per­onata for me, a veg­e­tar­ian op­tion of slow-cooked pep­pers, capers, moz­zarella di bu­fala with char­grilled po­lenta, and for my guest more nods to lo­cal pro­duc­ers with grilled Mersea Is­land lamb served with Swiss chard, an­chovy and olive. The whole menu has a Mediter­ranean feel with whole­baked bream served with Ital­ian pep­pers and roast cod with lardo di colon­nata tempt­ing op­tions.

Again at­trac­tively pre­sented, I would highly rec­om­mend my pep­per­onata. It was fully of zingy flavours with a colour­ful mix of pep­pers, pure white moz­zarella with pesto driz­zled over, a light vinai­grette to bind all the tastes to­gether and even the sim­ply grilled po­lenta was de­li­cious.

My din­ing part­ner’s lamb was pink and suc­cu­lent, sweet in flavour from the min­er­als gained graz­ing in the marsh­lands off Mersea Is­land. We or­dered two side dishes, beans with al­monds and also a side of new pota­toes. I did feel a lit­tle short changed when only three small new pota­toes came for £3, but they were cooked to per­fec­tion so I left my guest to en­joy them. The French beans how­ever were plen­ti­ful and more than enough for us both.

For dessert, a mix of de­li­cious op­tions to choose from. It was el­der­flower and le­mon pos­set for me served with stewed goose­ber­ries and home­made short­bread, then choco­late and espresso cake with a cream cheese for my guest – both were ex­quis­ite in taste and fi­nesse.

What was in­ter­est­ing to note was a sep­a­rate ve­gan menu and with an award-win­ning wine list to ex­plore fur­ther, there’s more than enough rea­son to visit again, with or without the dog.

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