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Review: The Anchor, Burwell: ‘Exciting, delicious, attractive food in a cosy, old-fashioned pub’

PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:36 23 October 2020

The Anchor at Burwell has been making waves on the Anglian food scene under new Chef Patron Stuart Drake

The Anchor at Burwell has been making waves on the Anglian food scene under new Chef Patron Stuart Drake

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The Anchor in Burwell has achieved viral fame recently due to their spectacular sharing Sunday roasts. But is there substance behind the style under new Chef Patron Stuart Drake? Mark Heath and his wife Liz went along for a Saturday lunch to see for themselves - here’s what they made of it....

Mark's pig cheek starter at the Anchor in BurwellMark's pig cheek starter at the Anchor in Burwell

Food

Like many people, The Anchor first came to my attention via social media - scrolling through Instagram, I saw some incredible pictures of the sharing Sunday roast on one of my friend’s accounts, and swore under my breath! ‘Holy cow!’ or something to that effect...

Swiftly added to my ‘must review’ list, I did a bit more digging and discovered that the man in charge there now is none other than Stuart Drake, formerly a senior sous chef at Tuddenham Mill – one of our favourite places to eat in Suffolk.

So, is The Anchor worth venturing across the Suffolk border for? Happily, I can report the answer is..... yes, definitely.

First up, in these unprecedented times, you have to mention Covid protocols. There’s a one way system in place, and masks are mandatory while you’re moving around the pub. Our waiters, too, were masked.

Liz's starter at the Anchor in Burwell - tempura squidLiz's starter at the Anchor in Burwell - tempura squid

Seen to our table – trusty hound in tow, The Anchor is dog friendly – we ordered up a couple of pints of Amstel (just £3.90) and began the usual back and forth menu dance.

Ultimately, I plumped for the three course set lunch while Liz, a little more fussy when it comes to food, decided to order the tempura squid off the ‘small plates’ selection as her starter, with the Suffolk beef burger for main.

First up for me was the Birchwood smoked pig cheek, served with sweet cucumber, mushroom ketchup and crispy onions. Lordy, what an introduction to The Anchor. It looked great - as one would expect from Drake’s kitchen – but ate even better.

The meat just flaked apart under my fork’s touch, while the onions, ketchup and cucumber worked perfectly with it too - smokiness, crunch from the onions, umami from the ketchup and sweetness from the cucumber. There was plenty of it too - a cracking first dish.

For Liz, while her squid was tasty - light, crunchy batter and well-cooked squid, not at all chewy, as it can so often be – it was more of a sharing dish. To be fair, it’s not sold as a starter - but something to keep in mind if you’re ordering off the small plates offering.

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Main event time next. For me, flat iron steak, chimichurri, pecorino-coated chips and sweet onions. The menu told me it would be served pink – as such a cut should be – and it certainly was. Some might find it a little too pink, but if that’s you I suggest you don’t order it!

The steak ate and cut well - no steak knife needed – and the chips were a crunchy, fluffy triumph. The chimichurri and onions added some delicious, classic complementary flavours too.

Across the table, burger connoisseur Liz was enjoying her meaty offering. A red onion Suffolk burger, served with smoked applewood cheese, maple and smoked bacon relish, salted plum tomotoes and fries. The only problem was it was too hefty to eat - but when she worked out how to tackle it, it scored very highly on the Heath Burger Scale (TM).

A pink patty, juicy and full of flavour, on a nice soft bun and teamed with what is easily the best bacon jam we’ve ever encountered, boasting tremendous chunks of porky goodness. As we said to our waiter, if The Anchor put that in jars and sold it over the bar, we’d have bought at least two. It was that good.

Onto dessert then, and the finale of my three course set lunch - sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch and vanilla ice cream.

Mark's main at the Anchor in Burwell - flat-iron steak and chipsMark's main at the Anchor in Burwell - flat-iron steak and chips

We decided to share and boy, what a way to finish. I said the bacon jam was the best we’d ever had, and this was potentially the best sticky toffee pudding we’ve had too.

Sure, it was sweet, rich and indulgent - like any STP should be – but the inclusion of the butterscotch added an extra level of magnificent molasses-like caramel flavour which was an absolute joy.

A great meal, at what looks sure to become very much a favourite on the regional food scene.

Drinks

Liz's main at the Anchor in Burwell - a burger and chips. But not just any burger and chips!Liz's main at the Anchor in Burwell - a burger and chips. But not just any burger and chips!

A large range of the expected beers, wines and soft drinks - plus a goodly amount of cocktails, gins and liqeurs.

I also enjoyed the fact that our water was served in proper, cut glass crystal glasses. That’s a nice, classy touch.

Service

As previously mentioned, our waiting team were all masked up.

Our shared dessert at the Anchor in Burwell - sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream. One of, if not the best, sticky toffee puddings we've ever hadOur shared dessert at the Anchor in Burwell - sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream. One of, if not the best, sticky toffee puddings we've ever had

Plenty of friendly chat and smiles too – as far as I could tell!

Setting

The Anchor is a proper, old-fashioned pub - plenty of exposed wood and beams.

It’s a little tired in places, but I’m sure a facelift is on Drake’s to-do list.

The Anchor at Burwell has achieved viral fame for their sharing Sunday roastsThe Anchor at Burwell has achieved viral fame for their sharing Sunday roasts

Parking

There’s a decent-sized car park at the rear of the pub.

I’d imagine you’ll be ok at all but the busiest - sharing roast Sundays - times.

Sharing roasts

As I’ve already mentioned, The Anchor’s spectacular sharing roast platters have gone viral.

I would have loved to reviewed those - but they’re fully-booked on Sundays now until the end of November!

Value

Very, very good. My set lunch cost £20 for three high quality courses, and all told our bill was just over £50.

For food of that standard, that’s tremendous.

Highlight

Liz is still talking about her burger - and it was a cracking offering.

For me, that sticky toffee pudding shall live long in the memory.

Summary

Exciting, delicious, attractive food in a cosy, old-fashioned pub. Can’t wait to see what Drake does over the next year or so!

Rating: 8.5/10

- Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.


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