Every day on holiday we walked. And every day half way through those walks there was a pub and food – what a joyous and surprising coincidence.
Day 1 – The Brudenell, Aldeburgh.
We ate right at the southern end of Aldeburgh at the Brudenell, sitting with our dog on their terrace by the sea.
It was lovely, the food was very good and reasonably priced – shocking really for Aldeburgh. There also weren’t too many annoying people there – except of course for the man with two fat Labradors who obviously had decided to overfeed them rather than train them and could barely hang on to their leads as they lurched towards my dog who was sitting neatly under the table and then struggled to drag them off.
Highlight was a little pot of hummus with candied pineapple and lovely buttery homemade flat bread for £2.50 – the two tempura prawns I also ordered were beyond delightful too – £1.75 each and well worth it.
In the evening we sat on the empty beach under a cloudy sky in the shadow of the nuclear power station and drank cheap fizzy with a lobster I had picked up earlier in the day, mayonnaise and homegrown cucumber because we know how to have a good time!
Day 2 – The Eel’s Foot Inn
We walked at the speed of a forced march to make it the five or so miles from Sizewell along the beach and then inland to Eastbridge to get to the pub before they stopped serving lunch. Their kitchen was closed for cleaning, but before I could collapse onto the floor in a weeping, hysterical mess they said they were still doing pizzas in their wood-fired oven outside for another 15 minutes. Suddenly everything was perfect and even though they had run out of plates I was still happy.
We also had a pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven the first evening we arrived at the campsite in Leiston. I have a feeling that wood fired ovens may be featured more frequently on this blog in the near future – they might even get their own category …..
Day 3 – The Ship Inn at Dunwich
We moved camp to Dunwich Cliffs and walked along the beach to the Ship Inn for dinner – we saw a seal on the way.
Hot-smoked salmon scotch egg and a cheese fondue thing for starters.
Then I had a grilled mackerel with gooseberries for mains and James had a goats cheese and beetroot tart.
I ate so much I felt ill and we wandered back by the sea as it was getting dark, very dark.
Day 4 – The Westleton Crown
We walked across Dunwich Heath to Westleton and feasted like kings at the Crown. As I didn’t over-eat too much I was able to swim when we finally made it back to Dunwich without sinking.
Day 5 – The Anchor at Walberswick
I had 6 oysters, tempura vegetables and cockle popcorn – basically I was in heaven even though the vegetable tempura only consisted of courgette and pepper – really? Where was the mushroom, the aubergine?
James had a massive pot of delicious home-made hummus and crudities and then a lamb burger, but of course. You may have noticed by now that James only eats burgers and pizza when he has the choice. It is a cruel twist of fate that he has ended up married to me and having to eat all those horrid home-grown veggies and strange bits of humanely reared animals – yuk yuk – poor him.
Day 6 – The Crown at Southwold.
This is a shit pub – OK there, I have said it. How it has managed to feature in the Good Food Guide I do not know. Now the food wasn’t bad, but I paid £18 for a very small handful of noodles – two types which suggests to me they were using the last of a couple of packs up – a few ribbons of carrot, half a baby pak choy, spoonful of broth (which to be fair was tasty) and a single fillet of seabass which was probably farmed as I imagine they would say if it was wild. £18! While I love food, I can’t eat much in one go so instead I eat a little but frequently. When we go out for lunch I usually have one or two starters and no main course. A main course always fills me up. This dish was so small I was still hungry afterwards – this is unheard of. The experience wasn’t helped by the bar staff giving me half a pint of lime and soda when we asked for a pint and then trying to charge us for a pint on the bill – oh and the dirty glass with lipstick all over it and the rather abrupt service wasn’t ideal either. I don’t want cheap food. I want to pay a reasonable amount that covers the cost of production, preparation, overheads, service etc., but this was a lot of money for a simple and very small main meal. We will never ever be going back. I can’t imagine this will upset them at all as there are plenty of exceedingly wealthy people holidaying in Southwold who obviously don’t mind. Oh yes, and you have to sit with your dog outside – really?
Luckily, the day was rescued by a visit to The Two Magpies bakery. God, this was a lovely place. They are one of the few places in Suffolk that can actually make a cappuccino – the fabulous Fire Station Cafe in Woodbridge also make a great one and both allow dogs.
We sat in a squeaky heap gleefully scoffing cake while the dog sulked under the table – cappuccino cake, a salted caramel cookie and salted caramel cake. Order was restored in our world. We should have also bought bread and croissants for breakfast, but we had a long walk back along the beach so didn’t. This bakery would lure me back to Southwold – and I never thought I would ever say that about anything. They apparently do pizzas on Saturday evenings – how perfect is that?
Day 7 – the Anchor at Walberswick – again
It was grey and going to rain, we walked along the river Blyth and as if by magic found ourselves outside this lovely pub again at lunchtime. They had space and we sat with the dog inside. James had fish and chips and I had smoked mackerel with chips. James ate most of the chips and the dog helped with the mackerel. There was a lovely lightly picked fennel salad with it and saffron aioli.
N.B. When we eat out at lunchtime we don’t often eat in the evening – maybe some crisps or olives. One night I did make us pasta with courgette and tomatoes from the garden – it was lovely.