“SuffolkEater” reviews… THE DENNINGTON QUEEN


Dennington Queen Front

Encouraged by the favourable entry in the 2014 Good Food Guide, we went to dinner at the Dennington Queen on Easter Monday. An ample car park, in front of an attractive well painted, attractively illuminated period building, led in to a clean, spacious, pretty and comfortable bar and dining area. Just two other tables were occupied, but the staff were in good form, welcoming, friendly and attentive.

The menu offers pub grub like ham, eggs and chips, fish and chips and grills, but also includes some interesting proposals. Six starters including: a soup of the day (mushroom, garlic and basil on our visit); slow roasted Cajun pork belly, pineapple & cucumber salsa; and marinated feta cheese, sun dried tomato & haricot bean salad, herb croutons. After this you may choose from seven main courses, four desserts and cheese.

Two of us took starters: smoked fish arancini with whole-grain mustard cream sauce, and faggots in a red onion gravy. Arancini is an Italian dish of scoops of savoury risotto formed into balls, coated with egg and bread crumbs and deep-fried. A nice idea – enjoyable without dazzling the tastebuds. It came with a small salad of greens heavily laden with coriander. The faggots, usually served ‘dry’ were declared of good flavour and they and the gravy were happily supped up.

We paired off for mains, two having ham, two fried duck eggs and chunky chips and two slow baked lamb. Ham pronounced “OK”, but not of the freshest and with rather a lot of fat. Chunky chips, good but not exceptional. On the other side of the table: two plates of slow roasted lamb on a bed of sloshy ratatouille with three new potatoes. The top of the lamb looked dry and cooked up. But it flaked well, and doused with some of the ratatouille tasted moderately Mediterranean. The whole dish, however, looked unappetising and tired.

One gooey chocolate mousse and cheese and biscuits completed the meal. The latter were the freshest and best part of the meal, four (small) pieces of English and French cheeses in excellent condition.

Around the table we drank: two pints of bitter, a bottle and a glass of gentle but quite fruity San Giovese rosé (£15.95) and sparkling water. Good coffee to finish. Bill including tip: £125.00.

Summary: Meal for two with wine £60.00 up. Open every day.

Verdict: Delightful building, very pleasing atmosphere, food on this showing, underwhelming. Value-for-money: if the food had been better it would be good.

The Dennington Queen, the Square, Dennington, Suffolk. IP13 8AB Telephone 01728 638421 www.thedenningtonqueen.co.uk


“SuffolkEater” is a four-headed, four-stomached reviewing body, who choose a restaurant, partake of different items on the menu, pay for the meal, depart and write about the experience. The foursome are experienced eaters-in and diners out, and unknown as reviewers to the places they

A gift for all seasons…..for many reasons



No matter if you’re Suffolk coast born and bred, an occasional visitor, a part-time resident, or like me a Patrick-come-lately to this lovely part of the world, I have a book before me that everyone should have. Buy one as a gift and I promise you will either keep that one for yourself or buy a second one.

“An Artist in the Garden” subtitled A Year in a Suffolk Walled Garden, published this year by Full Circle Editions is a beautifully designed and printed hard-back, priced at £25.00 that makes a nonsense of the slightest thought that books might be replaced by Kindles, I-pads or tablets various. It is more than a colourful, well written and evocatively illustrated book, it is a delightful possession, a pleasure to pick up from a side table to riffle through whenever you want a breath of our countryside. Its pages can both inspire and inform the gardener and the history lover. It is a small mine of information for the generalist country lover and it has more than 50 seasonal recipes that are all worth trying – see one example below.


Books these days, especially those concerning themselves with “leisure” seem to be compiled by an army of contributors, editors, designers and publishers and often the credits at front or back are as long as those for a film. There’s teamwork at the heart of An Artist in the Garden, but it’s a small one of complementary creative people devoted to the task. Suffolk artist Tessa Newcomb conjures up time and place, bringing alive the changing moods and seasons through clever vignettes. Jason Gaythorne-Hardy contrives to produce a text that both flows happily and imparts a not inconsiderable amount of knowledge.

There are others who have contributed, among them the author’s mother Lady Cranbrook, who, to quote the book’s dust jacket is “The current chatelaine of Glemham House; President of the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival and tireless campaigner for locally-produced food and the countryside. Caroline and her family have kept this two acre kitchen garden in full working order- a garden that has sustained up to 40 people continuously for almost two centuries”.

Full Circle have done full justice to the artist’s and the writer’s work. It is a lovely thing to have and a worthy addition to the burgeoning shelf of their publications. For full details visit www.fullcircle-editions.co.uk

Where to buy “An Artist in the Garden”

You can, of course, go on line and buy this book at a reduced price, as you clinically can millions of others.  You can also buy it direct from the publishers, which as they are a small group is in a good cause.   However, I am one of those people who love bookshops, and the delights of browsing and chatting with the invariably interesting people who run them.   We are exceptionally fortunate in having close at hand a superb specimen of its kind.

Aldeburgh Bookshop

Aldeburgh Bookshop, at 42 the High Street Star is more than a treasure trove, an Aladdin‘s Cave or a gem…  it is an institution.  I almost used the word beloved of those unbriefed commentators who “did” the Jubilee River Pageant for BBC Television:  icon.   But it’s, alive and lively as well as comfy and browsy.   Beats Amazon any day.  Go!

Star telephone 01728 452389  johnandmary@aldeburghbookshop.co.uk   www.aldeburghbookshop.co.uk


Recipe from “An Artist in the Garden”

This recipe, contributed by Claire Bruce-Clayton, is one of four for the month of February. The other three are: Caldo Verde, a simple and robust Portuguese soup; Wood Pigeon Sausage Rolls; and Baked Apples.

Leek & Potato Gratin

This is one of those satisfying, heart -warming dishes which is perfect for supper on a cold night or to return to after a brisk winter walk. The following recipe will feed six hungry people.

6 large main crop potatoes

4 or 5 large leeks

A good wedge of Stilton

2 generous handfuls of shelled walnuts

150g of butter

1 mug of breadcrumbs

Peel the potatoes, slice thickly and boil for eight to ten minutes, so that they are tender, but still holding their shape. Drain them.

While the potatoes are cooking, wash, slice and sauté the leeks with butter and seasoning until tender.

Butter a baking dish, cover the bottom with a layer of potato slices, then a layer of leeks, walnuts and some crumbled blue cheese.

Repeat the layers, lightly seasoning each of them. Finish with the cheese and scatter breadcrumbs over the top.

Cook in a medium (180C) oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

I love the crunch of the walnuts in this dish, but if you wish you can add a few chopped and sautéed rashers of streaky bacon instead.

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