First look: The Fox at Bulmer Tye is now open!
- Credit: Archant
Family-friendly dining and a fantastic selection of real ales on offer at pub under new ownership.
Not content with running their own brewery (Brewshed) and four other pubs in and around Bury St Edmunds, the couple behind the Gusto Pronto group have just opened the doors to their fifth inn - The Fox.
Sitting at the gateway to Essex in Bulmer Tye near Sudbury, The Fox has been an important part of the local culinary landscape for many years, but shut suddenly at the beginning of 2019.
David and Roxane Marjoram (who also run The One Bull in Bury and The Crown in Hartest) snapped up the property in the summer, flinging the doors open once more at the weekend and creating 24 full and part time jobs for the local area.
Key to the success of all their food and drink operations is staying true to their brand's mission. "We are a pub," says Roxane. "We're a foodie pub, but still a pub and we're not trying to be anything else."
Inside, The Fox has been furnished with a lick of fresh paint, fluffy new carpets and injections of colour in both the fun animal prints on the walls (from foxes to flamingos) and the mustard yellow blinds.
The front dining space has been stripped back to allow room for a lounge area - ideal for nibbles and drinks.
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And a long communal table facing the bar reinforces that pub/bar vibe. "We want to be the kind of place where people feel they can just come in and have a glass of wine and some of our bar snacks," adds Roxane.
Speaking of the bar, it's over to David, who's proud of the range of ales and lagers on tap, many from their own brewery in Bury St Edmunds. "We've got our core range on, so Best Bitter, Pale Ale and American Blonde. We may end up having a Brewshed seasonal beer but we prefer to sell a smaller range so we can keep the quality high. On the craft keg side with have our own Counterfeit on at the moment, that's an intensely hopped pale ale, and we've just started on our own stout."
Continental lagers complement these, alongside an array of soft drinks, a growing range of gins, and a wine list packed with favourites of David's (he's a bit of a wine buff).
Popular at the couple's other inns is the wine flights and The Fox is no exception. It's expected that customers will get lots of enjoyment out of the flight planks, which offer a 50ml serving of either every white available by the glass, or every red, for only £10.50. "We don't want people to feel restricted," Roxane explains. "It's nice for them to be able to try a bit of everything and to try something a little bit different."
Onto the food, and trusted chef Luke, who's been with David and Roxane at their other locations for several years, has been brought in to head up the kitchen. Luke's menus change quarterly, with specials and Sunday lunches switching on a weekly basis. There's certainly a lot of choice, and everything (apart from the odd loaf of bread sourced locally) is made in-house.
Pick at the grazing boards of cheeses, seafood, charcuterie or puds with your mates.
At lunchtimes enjoy a soup and a full-sized sandwich with fillings such as homemade fish fingers for only £8.
Set lunches (Monday to Saturday) are £14 for two courses or £17.50 for three (think cod cheek scampi with minted peas and tartare sauce, and pork burger with skinny fries).
And there's a comprehensive dinner menu, made up of old pub classics, given the company's tasty little twists, with vegan and gluten-free menus coming soon.
David picks out his favourites. A Blythburgh pork Scotch egg with piccalilli. Cod cheek and chorizo chowder (the staff love that). Homely fish pie with buttered kale. Pigeon wellington. Chicken breast with roasted leek and garlic risotto and truffle oil.
Apparently, the chocolate brownie on the dessert menu is not to be missed.
A menu David and Roxane particularly covet is the one designed for children. Having two youngsters of their own, the couple know the struggles of trying to feed a family well, and they work hard at all their sites to ensure the children's menu is fun and interesting, without dumbing down flavours for growing palates…after all, they can't eat chicken nuggets and beans forever. Parents looking to upskill their kids' tastebuds will find on the menu here ham hock bon bons with apple sauce, Blythburgh pork schnitzel (a grown up step from those nuggets) and ricotta gnudi - a surefire hit with smaller folk. And there's homemade ice cream too!
The Fox is open from noon every day, serving lunch Monday to Friday from 12noon to 2.30pm, and from 6pm, and with all day dining from midday at weekends.