Pubs toast awards success

Suffolk’s prize pubs are in the spotlight again with two top taverns being recognised by industry judges.

The Good Pub Guide - released today - features some of the best hostelries the region has to offer, including charming country inns and inexpensive dining recommendations.

Less than a month after some of the county’s purveyors of real ale were celebrated by beer campaigners, another Suffolk pub has scooped a national award for its affordable menu, while a second - just five miles down the road - was named the best regional eatery, not only the guide but also at yesterday’s EADT Suffolk Food & Drink awards.

Nick Musgrove, who has been running Middleton’s Bell Inn for the last two years with wife Trish, was delighted to pick up the guide’s Value Pub of the Year award. He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to bits for everyone here. Our head chef, Richard Andrews, is incredibly good at what he does.

“We use locally sourced ingredients to produce good quality food and everyone is a valued customer.

“All I’ve ever done is offer something I would want, at a price I would want to pay. Some people only want your money once but it doesn’t make good business sense - we want people to keep coming back.

“Our customers come from a 30 or 40 mile radius and get regulars coming in for fish and chips from Aldeburgh and Southwold, where they have some of the best in the country!”

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Fiona Stapley, joint editor of The Good Pub Guide, said of the pub: “Using carefully sourced local produce, the well liked and fairly-priced food includes lunchtime sandwiches, chicken and duck liver pat� with home-made relish, and sausage and wholegrain mustard mash. The landlord’s warmth and courtesy make for a really relaxed and contented atmosphere.”

The frequently acclaimed White Horse, in Sibton, meanwhile added another prize to the collection by being named Suffolk’s Dining Pub of the Year - a day after sealing the same title at The EADT’s Suffolk Food & Drink awards.

Neil and Gill Mason take provenance to another level, sourcing not only their produce from the local area, but most of their staff. Mr Mason said: “Of our 16 full and part-time staff, 15 are local. We even have three sets of sisters from Sibton and Peasenhall.

“We’re very passionate about what we do. Our meat comes from village farms and we grow our vegetables in the back garden.

“It doesn’t get much better than being recognised twice in one week.”

Elsewhere, Southwold’s Lord Nelson finished joint runner-up in the value pub category while Nethergate Brewery, based in Pentlow, just over the Essex border, was named Brewery of the Year for its “splendid range of interesting beers.”

Another of this year’s big awards, for East of England Pub of the Year, went to the Rose & Crown, in Snettisham, Norfolk.