Food review: The Fritton Arms is so close to perfection
- Credit: Archant
As the weather (hopefully) starts to turn, we take a trip to the countryside.
Taste. The Fritton Arms is the definition of it; both the menu (which promises a lot) and the place itself ooze cosy class. It's the kind of spot that gratifies Londoners wanting a weekend in the country without compromising on the kind of culinary flare they may be accustomed to.
To start we shared the mac and cheese with tomato chutney and the 'snack' of oat and treacle bread with our (meaning their) butter.
Now I don't know what 'our' butter means exactly but the only discernible difference I noticed between their butter and anyone else's is that they had coated theirs in poppy seeds – which actually made for quite a nice snap of texture when melted onto the warm roll. The bread itself was fluffy and the treacly aftertaste made it quite something.
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The mac and cheese was the highlight of the entire meal. Not too stodgy, the pasta was coated in a light layer of subtly cheesy sauce with a smoky punch – unexpected but deserving of a big thumbs up. You can get it as a main and I wish I had because my main, the sautéed potato gnocchi, with mushrooms, onion and cauliflower, onion seed crumb and sage butter was not quite up to scratch. The first moan being that both vegetarian mains on the menu that day involved mushrooms. I don't like mushrooms and apart from my mother, I know very few others that do. I even asked seven colleagues and they all responded with a look of disgust in place of words. Despite the beautiful presentation and satisfactory flavour of the dish - the gnocchi itself was sautéed to perfection – it was let down by the complete lack of moisture. No sauce, not even a fancy schmancy token 'drizzle' in sight. Fortunately by some miracle it wasn't hideously dry and if I'm being nice, I quite liked the charred cauliflower.
Dom opted for the pan-fried salmon with mussels, fennel, crispy potatoes and butter sauce and you should've seen his face drop as the 'crispy potatoes' put in front of him revealed themselves to be five minuscule cubes that were inhaled as if they were air. All was not lost as the salmon more than made up for it, it was a beautiful piece of fish and the mussels were a nice addition.
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Moving swiftly on, all the desserts sounded exceptional and I liked the modern spins on old-fashioned classics. I was tempted by the vanilla set custard and rhubarb jelly but I was still really hungry and wanted something savoury to make up for my main course blip. The cheese and biscuits were described as 'properly garnished' and thank goodness, no empty promises here, it was! It came with three cheeses, a decent amount of crackers (seven to be exact), chutney, blueberry compote/jam, a quince jelly and grapes. Woo hoo!
Meanwhile, Dom had succumbed to his childhood self with an ice cream sandwich, which truly was sickly sweetness for grown-ups with mini toffee meringues that were to die for.
A proper bar! I treated myself to a Bullard's strawberry and black pepper gin and tonic which was beautifully presented in a massive glass with lots of fresh strawberries.
Its stunning yellow exterior and extensive grounds make
it really stand out. Inside there's a pink sofa, a really pretty flower wreath and a roaring fire. Outside you'll find one of the best playgrounds going, the lake and a gorgeous beer garden.
There's plenty on site.
Part of the attractions at Fritton Lake, the pub was really easy to find with a well labelled turn off from the main road.
Very pleasant and clean.
Starters range from £ 6 to £7, while mains start at £12.50 and rise to £16.50 with a big jump up to £26.50 for the fillet of beef. For the quality of the food, service and overall experience I felt the prices were just about worth it.
Delightful! Our waiter was extremely polite, diligent and we didn't have to wait for anything.
Entrance doors are reasonably accessible and the restaurant itself is spacious.
Despite a slight waver in the middle, The Fritton Arms is doing most things right. The attractiveness of the venue and our overall dining experience didn't disappoint, but next time I'll just order the mac and cheese.
This is an independent review