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Keeping it simple

01:54 01 August 2012

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

Gerard King, butcher-in-residence at Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, visits the Plough and Sail at Snape Maltings, recently taken over by Alex and Oliver Burnside




Gerard King, butcher-in-residence at Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, visits the Plough and Sail at Snape Maltings, recently taken over by Alex and Oliver Burnside






Tess and I have often have difficulty deciding where to eat out.


The raw ingredients available locally are so good, sometimes the best meal is a home-cooked job. But wed heard the Plough and Sail in Snape had recently been taken over and I was interested to go and check it out. Also, I had delivered meat here once or twice in the past so it gave me an excuse to do drop off a business card you never know.


Walking in we were met by Alex Burnside, who with his twin brother Oliver, has taken over the lease of the pub/restaurant. He poured the drinks and told us how they had made the leap after 10 years learning their trade.


Both Alex and Oliver worked at Regatta in Aldeburgh for about seven years. Alex as front of house and Oliver as chef. Oliver has also worked at the Crown and Castle in Orford. When the Plough and Sail became available, it seemed the perfect opportunity to showcase their respective skills and, as Oliver says, to take the best of what he has learnt from both places and make it his own.


Theyve been at the Plough and Sail since early April and have already made their mark. Using the name of the pub to guide them, they intend to loosely separate the place into two areas, the more traditional pub area (plough) and the light and airy dining room (sail). The menu tries to reflect this with local meat from the land and fresh fish and seafood from local sources whenever possible.


There were some great fish options to choose from testimony to Olivers long stint at Regatta oysters from Ireland, freshly potted shrimps, cod and scallops. I really fancied the skate wing, but under pressure from Tess, who wanted fish too and, after all, I am the meat expert, I went for ribeye steak.


The dining room was refreshingly airy and un-pubby, and our table looked very welcoming with its plate of fresh bread, olive oil and home-made chervil butter.


My starter of warm confit of chicken salad with sugared walnuts was good, made with leg meat which has more flavour, from locally-reared chickens. Tess chose an interesting starter of sugared walnuts, spiced pear, cashel blue cheese and chicory a great mix of ingredients presented well, although the sweetness of the walnuts came out a little too much.


Both starters were presented beautifully and were a good size I had to help Tess out with hers. It was a Thursday evening and I was surprised to see only a few in. Perhaps people are not yet aware of the change of ownership.


The mains arrived and again looked great. My ribeye was cooked really well a crispy finish on the outside and good and pink in the middle. However, the steak was a little thinly cut and did lack a depth of flavour. This can only really be attained by using very good beef that has been slow grown, is as old as possible at slaughter, and then has been aged properly in a good environment a dry, cold chiller with plenty of air flow. But Im hard to please, being so used to fantastic steak at home, and I understand how difficult it is to find good beef from a reliable and consistent source.


To accompany, there were some delicious, crunchy vegetables and good tasty chips. I forgot to ask for my peppercorn sauce to be on the side as I like to taste and see the meat an oversight on my part.


Tess had scallops with spiced cauliflower, raisins and crispy pancetta which was well cooked, if a little busy with flavour combinations.


We were both pretty full when our helpful waitress asked if we would like to look at the pudding menu. Of course we would, there were some great choices: Irish liqueur cheesecake, warm chocolate brownie, local ice creams, Pavlova, sticky toffee pud . . . crikey!


In the end we shared a crme brulee with rhubarb compote which was spot on rich and creamy with a crispy top and a fresh tangy compote perched on the side.


As we were finishing, Oliver came out of the kitchen to chat. He explained that theyre trying to keep the lunch menu nice and simple with some classic dishes done really well, allowing for a bit more gastronomic adventuring in the evening.


The brothers have great plans and both have the skills to make it happen. Excellent news for us, and so close to home too.








Tel: 01728 688413


www.theploughandsailsnape.com







The Plough & Sail,
Snape Maltings, Snape IP17 1SR


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