Emma Crowhurst enjoys a birthday treat

One of the few beautiful days this June found us travelling to Westleton from Minsmere after a fabulous morning walking and enjoying the RSBP bird reserve. My choice for my birthday was a family day out. Luckily both our girls enjoy wildlife and the great outdoors.

Tired and hungry we arrived at the Westleton Crown for a late lunch. After a refit two years ago the conservatory is the place to dine, with wonderful doors which go right back to extend the room into the well-tended garden, which banks away with steps and lots of places to drink and eat outdoors.

Did I say it was nice weather? There was a brisk wind that forced us to seek shelter, so we joined the other diners inside. Lovely big, scrubbed, wooden tables, rustic chairs and a wonderful, huge skylight made it feel airy, with a contemporary modern finish. The mismatched chairs lent a relaxed and quirky feel that I rather liked.

Famously, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge stayed at the Crown in April whilst visiting Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. What a surprise that must have been!

I ordered smooth chicken liver pate, Ali had the smoked haddock tart, Tilly wanted the soup of the day, carrot and orange, and Bobby, the fussy one, settled with bread and butter as her starter. My pate was delicious, served with chunky caramelized onion chutney, toast and topped with clarified butter which came off in one nice thin sheet, served with salad on top of a little slate square.

I had asked for a glass of house ros�, which didn’t arrive until after I had finished the pate. The smoked fish tart that Ali had was excellent and Tilly’s soup also very good.

Mains were also first-rate; my rump of lamb was served with an aubergine tart, an entirely well-matched onion puree, mashed potato and a perfectly reduced lamb jus. The lamb was delicious, altogether a great dish. I would have liked a bit of green veg, maybe spinach or similar. Ali had “the best steak I’ve ever tasted” (his words), fat rustic chips and a fabulously punchy b�arnaise sauce, which tasted utterly amazing with the meat. I agreed with him about the steak; it really was terrific.

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Tilly had sausages, mash and vegetables with a rich gravy; and Bobby a made-to-order sausage roll with chips and vegetables. All delicious and very well received.

Puddings were a well-made almond tart with ice cream for me and the girls had a very tasty warm chocolate brownie. Strange children that they are, they didn’t want the ice cream that should have gone with the brownie. Ali got both portions of their ice cream as his dessert. They say ice cream is too cold!

We finished with coffee and felt very satisfied and happy. The food at the Westleton Crown certainly is good but the service was a little patchy and not of the same standard as the cuisine.

Ali had a glass of Merlot with his main and the bill came to �118, with my house ros� coming in at �9.50. The Crown has a good reputation for food and it was of a very high standard. Perhaps the gaps in the service happened as it was the end of lunch service. Well worth a visit and a pleasing way to finish the afternoon.

n The Crown, The Street, Westleton IP17 3AD, tel: 01728 648777

email info@westletoncrown.co.uk