Review from About my area

Seasonal Greetings to everyone.

Is Lavenham now the food capitol of Suffolk? In recent months the editor has sent me to review at least three very fine restaurants in that lovely village and I suspect there may be others…

Aptly, as it was just before Xmas, he sent us to that beautiful historic market place just east of the main street through Lavenham to review the recently changed hands Angel Hotel. Although I’m told that there was some “friction” between the previous owners and the good denizens of Lavenham, the new owners Cozy Inns appear to have addressed many of the issues and have turned the Angel back into a wonderful “cozy” inn, encouraging “drinking” in the bar (stocking some of East Anglia’s finest brews including Adnams bitter and Aspells cider) and allowing dog lovers to take that vital half way stop off at the pub, an essential part of any good canine exercise regime. With its stunning bar and open fire, comfortable lounge area (almost like sitting in your front room) and private snug, the Angel has that perfect “local” atmosphere.

Cozy Inns have a reputation for returning the magic to historic inns and actually run one of my favourite all time hostelry’s the Cricketers at Rickling Green (just off the road from Bishops Stortford to Saffron Walden) and not just because its opposite one of the most idyllic cricket greens in East Anglia!

Lorna’s daughter Penny accompanied Lorna and I so there were enough of us to justify ordering one of the Angels signature starter “grazing” boards. We chose the Charcuterie platter which featured 3 Italian style meats, some “Antipasti” vegetables and some very light and freshly baked Focaccia. This was the perfect “light” starter and Pen was especially delighted as “Parma” Ham is one of her favourite edible things in the world.

As many who have read my column know I’m a great believer that “less is more” on a menu in that the longer the list the less chance you have of something being cooked fresh. The Angel is perfect in this regard with no more than 18 dishes listed in total for both starters and mains (a couple of which could be taken as either) even so there was a choice of risotto (with or without meat), fish, chicken, steak, pork chop, sausages and burger together with a couple of interesting looking vegetarian dishes. In fact vegetarian options are a feature of the menu with at least third of the eighteen dishes suitable. Because of the season there was, of course, a “Xmas” menu which added a further very interesting looking four starter and mains options.

Penny chose the Burger which was housed in a brioche bun together with some Cheddar Cheese and Smokey Bacon and accompanied by Skinny Fries (hoovered) and salad (not hoovered). Never the most effusive when it comes to food, she declared it one of the best burgers she’s ever eaten! High praise indeed…

Unusually Lorna chose the Rump Steak with a Peppercorn Sauce accompanied by Hand Cut Chips, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Watercress. She rarely chooses steak when we’re out and about in the UK but she must have had one of those “womens intuition” things as this turned out to be an inspired choice, the steak was melt in the mouth good and the chips crispy outside and fantastically fluffy in.

I chose the Pork Loin Chop in a Cider, Honey and Mustard Grain Sauce accompanied by Garlic and Rosemary Roast Potato Crush (smashed up roast potatoes), Savoy Cabbage together with Doreen’s Black Pudding Triangle (we never did discover who or what Doreen was). This was just perfect cold winter evening food. Perfectly cooked juicy pork with a crispy rind and beautifully cooked seasonal vegetables. So good was it that there was not a scrap left on the plate just a very lonely looking chop bone.

Penny’s burger must have been filling as she declined a sweet but Lorna and I couldn’t resist. Lorna took the Chocolate Truffle Torte with Spiced Orange Compote and Clotted Cream. I think she enjoyed it as I never got within a spoons length of trying it. I had the Winter Fruit (Apples and Berries mainly) Crumble with Crème Anglais and Cinnamon Ice Cream. This was a winter wonderland full of gorgeousness and it would have been worth coming to the Angel just for this dish alone.

Only a month into their tenure and Cozy Inns have created a superb atmosphere in the Angel with food good enough to make it a special occasion destination and with a menu change proposed sometime in the New Year, a revisit will definitely be on the cards.

Our meal for three with a couple of rounds of drinks was a very reasonable £96.

Originally published here

Published on: 28th December 2014