Ladies Who Lunch

The Pelican, Tacolneston, Sunday 21st March 2010

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The Pelican, TacolnestonI was taken to lunch this time by my young friend, whom I think of as almost a daughter, so on almost-Mother’s-Day (the Sunday after, in fact) we went to the Pelican Pub and Restaurant in Tacolneston: she was driving so I decided to pick somewhere a decent distance away. 

We were early so we waited outside at a table, in the warm spring sunshine, downwind of last night’s rain-filled ash-trays, (I had forgotten the indoors smoking ban) until a handsome, pleasant young man put us out of our misery by unlocking the door to let us in. I was happy to exchange the smell of the dog-ends for the fabulous smell of food cooking, which more than made up for the ashtrays outside.

Mr Handsome offered me erudite advice about which of the real ales to try, and then led us through to the restaurant proper. The older part of the pub is a cosy old world establishment with beams and low ceilings and a few tables that you can eat at. The restaurant proper was much lighter, brighter, spacious and airy, whilst still retaining the character of the rest of the pub.

There was no carvery, but there was an extensive choice from the menu and the specials board: I chose roast lamb which is a rare and welcome sight on a pub menu, and my friend chose spinach risotto. While we waited I drank my beer which was called Humpty Dumpty, and it was perfect - having a fat round malty taste which went down a treat.  We didn’t have to wait long for the food, my portion of lamb was generous indeed, and thickly cut - wonderful! My friend’s risotto looked a little ‘wet’ to my eyes but she said it tasted fabulous and eventually asked for some bread to help finish it off. This arrived neatly on a plate with butter.

My mint sauce / gel came in a separate tiny pot which was a nice touch, and it was beautifully light and sweet and minty. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and there were plenty of them. A jolly decent main course all round. I chose my pudding but unfortunately it was what they insist on calling ‘off’ in the trade. So chose the ice cream surprise instead – the surprise being that … there wasn’t one! But it was delicious, draped with two different sauces and plentiful enough, even for me. By this time I had finished my beer so I had ordered a half-pint of a different one, this time less sweet, more hoppy. My friend chose cheese and biscuits for afters which came neatly served with a small pot of olives and an edible decorative garnish. Half a dozen biscuits and at least three cheeses filled the plate: creamy Wenslydale, something blue, and Stilton with apricot (I wish they would leave poor old Stilton alone - apricots, strawberries, whatever next, toffee chips? I like mine straight, but that’s just me). All the cheese was freshly cut and my friend polished it off in no time.

I was delighted to see on the menu that drinks included Darjeeling and Earl Grey tea. A rare sight these days, and would have delighted my husband (had he been there). I prefer coffee so ordered that, my friend, having been strictly abstemious with the alcohol so far, asked for an Irish coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. The restaurant was full but not noisy or crowded, and the attention by the staff was timely and precise. There are quite a lot of odd steps in the building, but I was assured that disabled access could be found at the rear.

Total cost for two: Food £32.10. Drinks and Irish coffee £11.15. The extra bread was free.
Satisfaction rating: Pretty near perfect. One demerit point for the ashtrays outside
Would we go again? Definitely!


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Copyright Village People. This article was first published in Village People. If anyone wishes to use any, or part of the Review, in any material, they will be required to ask permission of Village People, which should be given in writing. Village People reserves the right to charge a fee where permission has not been obtained to use any, or part of the Review in any material, online or offline.