The great Yorkshire pudding saga continues: I approached today’s lunch with a firm determination not to have anything to do with this most variable of comestibles; but read on, and you will see what transpired.
I always felt a little sorry for The Countryman being positioned exactly opposite a Little Chef restaurant (eatery?) on the A140. How many drivers, busy and tired, opted for the predictability of the purpose-built fast food café rather than risk somewhere unknown? Now that the Little Chef is sporting plywood curtains and a late flowering of groundsel sprinkled with the detritus of passing cars, the Countryman remains, a traditional but lively, grade 2 listed pub, outliving the here-today, gone-tomorrow burger-server.
My companion this time was a fellow northerner whom I regard more as a sister than a friend. We were both surprised by the size of the car park, and the very neat outward appearance of the pub/restaurant. Had it been warmer we may have opted to sit outdoors, but as the weather had suddenly turned ‘an overcoat cooler’ we went inside. A bright young lady greeted us and said there was a choice of areas to sit in, so we chose the dining-room proper, where I could look out of the window at the well-planted garden area. She showed us the ‘specials board’ and mentioned that they had some lovely fresh haddock as the recommendation of the day. As my favourite meal is fish and ice cream (in series not in parallel) I ordered the fish. My companion had Gammon with egg (declining the pineapple alternative) and we both had salad. And chips.
The food was quite honestly faultless: my fish was extremely fresh and well battered, and my friend’s gammon tender and tasty. All was hot, and served with a generous portion of salad – not just a garnish - from which we both left our raw onion rings; but that was all we left.
The menu said ‘sweet included’ (note: not on Sundays): what a nice surprise as the cost of the main course was very reasonable. Classic lemon tart and (for me) a warm chocolate fudge cake of a deep velvety black, smothered with chocolate sauce and accompanied by ice cream - which I much prefer to fresh cream. My friend’s lemon tart was served with a generous portion of fresh cream. Brilliant puds! Coffee was individually made and brought to the table piping hot and absolutely fresh. The milk for it came in those little tiny plastic cartons that defy the most strenuous attempts to open. I am sure if we had asked for fresh milk, it would have been provided; but we were a bit slow there.
By this time the room had begun to fill up with other couples. I heard one lady order the giant Yorkshire pud filled with what sounded like (and I was trying to be discreet here) beef stew. The waiter brought it in and I have to admit, it looked fabulous; golden and crisp. I turned in my chair for a peep at it and the lady in possession charmingly gave me a full report. I didn’t dare ask for a taste but the waiter said that the chef came from Leeds, and indeed we had a little ‘by gum’ sort of chat on the way out. I will go back there sometime and try one of her Yorkshires for myself.
Drinks, main course and pud, coffee £27.40 for the two of us. a nice mid-price lunch.
Plenty of attention given to wheelchair access ramps, but because of the age of the building they can't build a special disabled toilet.
No demerit points. Would I go again? Absolutely! I have to try that Yorkshire!
The Countryman, Ipswich Road, (A140) Tasburgh.NR15 1NS - 01508 470946
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