Suffolk’s best pub - “We like to bring people together”

Outside at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant

Outside at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The Fox at Newbourne took a top prize at this year’s Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.

Managers Katy and Tim at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant

Managers Katy and Tim at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Pubs are an asset to our communities. They’re so much more these days than simply a watering hole. Pubs are meeting places. Events destinations. Shops. Post Offices. Restaurants.

One Suffolk pub demonstrating community spirit in spades is The Newbourne Fox. Delightfully pink and fringed with a sweetie-box assortment of flowers, hanging from baskets which ensconce the entire front of the building, the Deben Inns owned freehouse won the Best Pub category in the 2018 Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.

Judges praised the separate ‘proper pub’ and ‘dining’ areas, the fact The Fox is dog-friendly, with a barrel of water outside and doggy snacks at the bar, the lovely gardens (beside a babbling brook), and the delicious, homemade food from a menu which truly had something for everyone.

The Fox hosts a monthly quiz night for charity. Will soon have a defribillator on site inside a rescued red phone box. Was the meeting place for locals as they planned how best to deal with the snow flurry in February. And hosts multiple events to keep the community spirit alive throughout the year.

The dining area at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant

The dining area at The Fox, Newbourne Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

“We couldn’t believe it. We’re so happy,” says manager Katy Blake, who runs the pub alongside Tim Melero. Talking about why she thinks they came out on top, Katy adds: “It’s just so idyllic. It’s a proper country pub. You can just come in for a drink or come and have a lovely meal. Also, it’s not too far out and it’s become a bit of a destination.”

She’s not wrong. The Fox is regularly packed – even during midweek in the low season. And probably no more so than on Sundays, when a proper roast (with all the trimmings, including properly made stove top gravy) is two for one after 4pm. “We’ve got a bit of a cult following for our roasts,” admits Katy, who says you really have to book around a week in advance to get a table.

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Sundays usually offer up Blythburgh pork with crackling, sirloin of black Angus beef, nut roast and stuffed breast of chicken wrapped in bacon.

During the rest of the week food service begins at breakfast and runs right through until 9pm each day with a leaning towards local and seasonal ingredients.

“We get as much from local suppliers as we can,” Tim says. “We get strawberries from up the road, we’re now getting our meat from The Rare Meat Company in Essex who are really good, and we use Foskers for fruit and veg.”

“And in the game season,” laughs Katy, “John the game man will turn up with half a deer for the kitchen to use!”

All the classic pub dishes feature on the menu, from fish and chips, to homemade steak burger and pies, while specials (including homemade puds) are added daily, with a recent very popular addition being ‘The Little Piggy’. This meat feast consists of Cumberland sausage ring, pork and apple burger and barbecue pulled pork with popcorn crackling, chips, coleslaw and onion rings.

Drinks-wise, the pub sources its guest beers from all over the country, regularly changing what’s at the pump to excite local real ale enthusiasts. Soon to come on could be an ale created up the road in Trimley at a microbrewery – run by Katy’s former sixth form tutor!

The range of spirits available is ever increasing too, with Katy having recently ordered mandarin and cranberry, and strawberry and cucumber gins from the Suffolk Distillery.

But back to the community aspect. In August Foxfest returns. Katy reveals more. “It’s our big summer beer festival. The shed opens up with 10 cask ales. There’ll be live music, a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon modelling for the kids, an all-day barbecue and a hog roast. Adnams are coming down and they’re brewing a special beef for the day. Our other big event is on Christmas Eve. We turn this place into a winter wonderland with a Santa’s grotto and lots of games, snow machines out the front. It’s amazing and it gets bigger and bigger every year!”

“We like to do as much as we can to bring people together,” Tim smiles.

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