Tuesday 6 May 2014

The Anchor Inn at Sutton Gault, Cambridgeshire

The Anchor Inn at Sutton Gault
Bury Lane, Sutton Gault
Ely  CB6 2BD


On a day trip out from Hambleton Hall in Rutland, we'd headed to the Fens and had a mooch around a rather good producers' market in Ely (at which I managed to stock up on the excellent Lincolnshire Poacher butter), and been prevented from looking around inside the intriguing Ely Cathedral because of filming.

Ely Cathedral

Naturally thoughts turned to lunch.  Ely and the Fens are not exactly a culinary mecca.  There's the long-established Fire Engine House in Ely itself, but reading up on that seemed it wasn't really for us.  Fortunately, the ever-useful Hardens guide came to the rescue, as it often does in an area you don't know.  There's "no better gastropub in East Anglia" says one of Hardens' correspondents.  That could be damning with faint praise: scouring all the guides, there really doesn't seem to be much competition.

 But we set the satnav for a bridge leading to a causeway between two dead straight rivers that look like a blue railway line on the map - the New Bedford River and the River Delph - just outside a small village a few miles to the west of Ely.

New Bedford River
When we arrived, the rather random car park was already nearly full, which is usually a good sign.
The Anchor Inn - the bank on the right is the bank in the photograph above

The Inn dates backs to the seventeenth century, but when we went in, it seemed that the interior is much more 20th century.  Although there was an inglenook, there was a table half in it, and the decor seemed more slightly tired 1960s dark wood than 17th century charm, though there are a series of different rooms, most now open at one end to the bar.

I'm waffling on a bit rather than getting round to the food, largely because I didn't have a great deal of food, still being fairly full after a large meal the night before and a hotel full English in the morning.

The menu is good and very much on message for a pub anywhere, but it was slightly disappointing that it could be anywhere, and there was nothing on the menu that particularly marked this out as a Fenland pub.

I started with a very pleasant salmon gravlax with celeriac pannacotta and a lemon & dill sorbet.  The gravadlax seemed to be more just a good sweet cured salmon.  I enjoyed both the celeriac pannacotta (which was just a little loose) and the lemon and dill sorbet, but wondered if the dish really needed both.  Certainly if there'd been more of dill element to the salmon cure, there'd have been no need for the sorbet.
Gravlax with celeriac pannacotta and lemon & dill sorbet, toasted rye bread
Instead of a main course, I just had another starter: pigeon breast with mushrooms, kale & mooli. Just what I wanted.  A good dish, with all the ingredients done well, including the increasingly ubiquitous kale.  The pigeon breast had been nicely cooked, but remained tough in places. But that's always the risk with any meat, especially wild game, as every animal is different.

Seared pigeon breast with mushroom duxelle, wilted kale, mooli and brioche

I have to hold my hands up and make it absolutely clear that this wasn't really a representative meal, but just a couple of starters.  But I thought the food was good, and the service was good, and would have no qualms about going back again, preferably for a full meal, next time I'm in the area.

 Anchor Inn on Urbanspoon

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