Beer and food - Ross Turner sings the praises of the recently reopened Badingham White Horse
PUBLISHED: 13:51 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:51 21 October 2014
It saddens me that there are still so many pub closures, so it brings me great joy to talk about a local, recent success - Badingham White Horse.
This pub opened in the spring under new freehold owners, Mark and Lisa, who shared an ambition that one day they would plough all their earnings into their dream pub. So, while Mark was working in Dubai, Lisa scoured the UK for the perfect property.
One day she contacted Mark to ask him if he’d ever heard of Badingham White Horse. Mark is originally from Yoxford and he’d spent a few merry nights in the pub when it was owned by Adnams. It was then they knew it was the right property in the right location at the right time.
In my view, Badingham White Horse is one of the nicest looking, picture post card pubs I have ever seen – and I’ve seen a few. Nestled in a small community about four miles north of Framlingham it’s set back from the main road, with views over the adjacent bowling green, giving it a quintessentially English feel.
It has a garden to the rear and plenty of seating at the front, two letting rooms upstairs, while Mark and Lisa have plans to create further rooms in the barn at the rear of the property.
The ales are kept on a stillage behind the bar and gravity poured from the tap, so there are no hand pumps. The lagers are English – Calvors and St Peters representing Suffolk and Meantime from the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
There are two ciders on tap, Aspall’s Harry Sparrow from Suffolk and Stowford Press from the Westons range. However, we are matching the Badingham Best, the pub’s flagship beer, specially brewed by Jeremy Moss, founder and head brewer of Cliff Quay brewery, and John Bjornson of Earl Soham Brewery, who have both relocated to Kenton, near Debenham.
Most beer lovers have heard of Earl Soham Brewery, which was based practically opposite the Victoria pub in Earl Soham, while Cliff Quay Brewery was situated at the old Tolly Cobbold site in Ipswich. It made sense to relocate to the new site in 2012 to spend more time brewing award winning ales and less time travelling between the two breweries.
I’ve sampled the menu on several visits and the dish that works well for me is roasted chicken breast stuffed with haggis and wrapped in pancetta, served with a Drambuie cream sauce.
There’s a choice of mashed potato, homemade chips or new potatoes, with fresh vegetables.
The breast was cooked to perfection and presented gracefully. The flavour combinations of salt from the pancetta and little spice and slight nuttiness from the haggis enhanced the moist chicken breast bathed in this scrumptious Drambuie sauce.
You might expect a whisky based sauce to be quite strong, possibly too much for the beer to cope with, but they complement each other well as the flavours of honey and herbs in the Drambuie are mentioned in the brewers’ tasting notes for the beer.
At 3.4% ABV (alcohol by volume) this beer packs all the flavour a higher ABV beer offers – grassy and fruity aromas, with a bit of sweetness, the taste is reminiscent of a classic English bitter.
It has great depth of flavour from the malt combinations – the sweetness contrasts with the salty pancetta and the slight citrus note with orange pithiness from the First Gold hops. I found the aftertaste had wonderful longevity – fruity and herby flavours and the bitter mouth feel that all great traditional bitters should have.
It worked well with this dish. But don’t just take my word for it – try it for yourself and experience one of the prettiest pubs around.