Living dangerously: Eating out mid week

I WAS living dangerously this week and went out on a Thursday night. No special occasion this time, just dinner out with my better half at the Rose & Crown at Great Horkesley, writes Emma Crowhurst.

The menu consists of tried-and-tested favourites – warming autumnal soups, classic smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade, a plate of divine venison carpaccio with English truffle and rocket. Main courses are varied and some quite traditional. There’s fish and chips, chicken and ham pie and roasted sea bass.

At the Rose & Crown they take their steak seriously. They use 28 to 35-day dry-aged local beef and, as I cook a mean steak myself, I had high hopes for my food. I ordered a 6oz rump and Alistair the 12oz rump. Rump is known to have a good flavour but is not as tender as sirloin or filet. The mains were each delivered on a wooden board, served with hand-cut chips, slow-roasted tomatoes and watercress salad. I also asked for b�arnaise and peppercorn sauces.

I can’t find words to express how good that steak was. It was certainly one of the best I have ever had – and that’s saying something. The sauces were perfect and each mouthful was blissful. I gush, I know, but the joy of being served great food that I haven’t cooked myself can’t be underestimated. The chips were crisp and fluffy inside and the tomatoes had an intense, slightly garlicky flavour.

There’s a good reason for the fact that the food is so good: in the kitchen is chef/patron Edward Halls, who was born and raised in Suffolk and has developed an intense passion for cooking seasonal local produce to the highest standards over many years.

Edward began his career in sales and moved into recruitment in the City of London, returning to Suffolk with a desire to become a chef but not knowing whether it was possible at the age of 28. Starting on the bottom rung of the kitchen ladder, Edward quickly learned that to succeed he would have to dedicate every aspect of his life to learning (something he continues to do).

Taking his first trainee position and offering to work for free to prove himself, Edward began to realise that this move could be the best he had ever made. His natural flair took him to some of the best establishments in the country, including two Michelin-starred restaurants.

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Edward knows he is surrounded by some of the best local produce in the country, and wants to offer every customer an exceptional dining and drinking experience.

He’s interested in what customers want and ensuring that they return to dine at the Rose & Crown. This is reflected in the menu and, amazingly, his prices have actually come down since last year. On Wednesdays and Thursdays you can eat a 12oz rump for only �14 or �19, including a dessert.

Edward does a tasting plate of mini desserts. This allows the diner to try several perfect examples of some of the best puddings around. This is my idea of heaven and should be a guide to others of the ideal way to end a meal.

We had a plate to share: sticky toffee pudding, cr�me brul�e, lemon sherbet ice cream, fresh mint choc chip ice cream, chocolate brownie, chocolate and hazelnut slice.

This place is a great find. I only wish it were nearer to where we live.

? To contact the Rose & Crown telephone 01206 271251 or email

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