9 of the best Sunday roasts in Suffolk

The family sharing roast at The Black Lion in Long Melford Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

The family sharing roast at The Black Lion in Long Melford Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

Our food and drink editor shares her favourite places to tuck into one of Britain’s favourite dishes.

Rib of Belted Galloway beef cooked to perfection at The Duke's Head, Somerleyton Picture: Charlotte

Rib of Belted Galloway beef cooked to perfection at The Duke's Head, Somerleyton Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

If there’s one thing we could all do with at the moment it’s a little bit of comfort. And what better way to nurture the soul (and belly) than with a soothing plate of that ubiquitous British classic – the Sunday roast? The tender meat. Crispy, golden-edged roasties pooled in gravy. Fluffy, sky-high Yorkshires. It’s the stuff of dreams.

Here are just a few of the roasts I rate in our fine county.

Editor’s pick: The Duke’s Head, Somerleyton

Sunday lunch at The Unruly Pig. Picture: The Unruly Pig

Sunday lunch at The Unruly Pig. Picture: The Unruly Pig - Credit: Archant

Cost: Regular roasts average £15pp, sharing roasts from £28 for two

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This is the last place I ate out before lockdown began – and I still salivate about that meal when I think about it now, many months later. The young couple who run the place really have hit the nail on the head when it comes to creating the perfect pub. Spacious dining areas, a great selection of real ales and wine, genuine hospitality...and absolutely wonderful food.

Provenance is king, and the staff can tell you where pretty much everything on the menu came from – be it the rare breed meat or vegetables.

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If I were you, start with a plate of the kitchen’s own charcuterie, which usually comes with a homemade celeriac remoulade. You can then choose from an array of meaty feasts – sirloin of beef, pork, British lop pork for two, roast pig’s head for two, a sharing shoulder of Norfolk lamb. But for me it has to be the pub’s signature roast rib of beef (priced up by weight on the board). Cooked to sticky-edge umami perfection on the outside, but meltingly tender and medium rare within. It is quite simply the most incredible beef you may ever eat. All roasts come with potatoes, Yorkshires, seasonal vegetables and gravy. You can add extras such as black pudding cauliflower cheese and sticky pigs too. Alongside, try a glass of local Chet Valley Vineyard wine.

Sunday lunch at The Ufford Crown Picture: BOOM ROASTED

Sunday lunch at The Ufford Crown Picture: BOOM ROASTED - Credit: Archant

The Black Lion, Long Melford

Cost: Adults £25 for two courses, £30 for three, children £12 or £15

When I tried the family sharing roast here with my husband and pre-teens nothing could have quite prepared us for the feast that arrived. In fact, I ended up leaving with an armful of takeaways tucked into brown cardboard boxes.

The sharing feast should be taken by the whole table and needs to be ordered at least 24 to 48 hours in advance. What arrives to the table is a banquet of roast beef, chicken, pork belly, pigs in blankets, stuffing, roasties, honey and herb glazed carrots, parsnips, plenty of seasonal veg, sauces and not one, not two, but three types of gravy to lap it all up with.

Delicious. You might want to skip breakfast!

The Greyhound, Pettistree

Cost: Set Sunday lunch £18 for two courses or £22 for three

I absolutely love this country pub near Woodbridge. There’s definitely a feel of ‘home’ and generosity – largely down to its Scottish hosts. Louise’s food is hearty and rustic, putting flavour and quality of ingredients first.

If having a starter I recommend her smoked mackerel pate with divine homemade soda bread. And I’ve eaten fantastic home cured salmon here too.

The Sunday menu includes lots of interesting, seasonal options alongside a set menu, often roast shoulder of pork with Aspall cyder sauce, served up with all the trimmings. I look forward to visiting in the depths of autumn for local game – especially venison.

The Dolphin, Thorpeness

Cost: £14.95 for two courses

Sundays at this lovely community pub, set in verdant grounds behind a white picket fence, get fully booked very quickly. Why? Because the roast is an absolute bargain at just under £15 for your main course and a seasonal fruit crumble.

Meat is sourced from Salter & King in Aldeburgh and vegetables are either grown on site or sourced from local suppliers. The pub is very dog-friendly and this is the spot (pre-lockdown) we were most likely to end up with with friends and their pooches for lunch and an amble on the beach (a couple of minutes’ walk away).

The Ufford Crown, Ufford

A marvellous spot with a nice drop of ale and lots of spirits at the bar, and a simple, comfy gastro-pub feel. Sundays offer up a regular ‘cocktail of the week’ and a regularly changing menu of interesting plates such as red Thai prawn curry with rice and green papaya salad, and curried beef pie. Roasts are a speciality, with a dizzying amount of choice – be that classic sirloin of local beef, through to confit duck leg or a New Yorker style rib of beef to share. Each comes with roasties, seven veg mash, Yorkshires, carrots, kale, green beans and gravy. Stick around for dessert (think orange infused brioche doughnuts with chocolate ice cream and toffee sauce) which is always a pleasure here.

The Guinness Arms, Icklingham

Cost: £14

A reduced menu is running here at the moment, but they’ll never take of the Sunday roast, which includes a choice of beef, pork or nut roast with the trimmings. If you can’t make your mind up there’s the option to have a roast sharer for two (£26) including a bit of everything.

The smart 16th century former coaching inn is part of the Elveden Estate, with the kitchen using as much produce from its woods and farms as possible. Make sure you stop by the Eleveden Courtyard shops while you’re in the area to buy some fantastic food or homewares to take back with you.

The Unruly Pig

Cost: From £18.50

If your favourite thing about a roast lunch is the gravy, behold head chef Dave Wall and his brigade’s silky sauce- made the proper way, with lots of time over several days. It is an addictive elixir to anoint your proper bone-in cooked meat with. Only a certain amount of roast lunches is available each week – as they say at the pub, once they’re gone, they’re gone, so I recommend booking as early a slot as possible to up your chances. Roast pork and rib of beef are regular fixtures on a Sunday, served with the usual trimmings.

Make room for dessert too. I have a penchant for anything chocolate here (usually made with Pump Street’s bean to bar confections) and their panna cottas are sublime.

Twenty One at The Greyhound, Wickhambrook

Cost: From £13.95

Found betwixt Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds, this village hostelry won Pub of the Year in the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2020. A huge part of that is the super-friendly welcome given by the front of house team, alongside the numerous community initiatives they put in place throughout the year. It really is a local hub. Food is hearty, packed with flavour, and nicely portioned. We highly rate their warm Scotch egg as a starter, with its runny, oozy centre.

Sunday roasts range from chicken and stuffing, to gammon and 28 day aged beef topside. If you can manage it you can supersize your lunch to include a mixture of meats for £16.85, all served with the traditional accompaniments.

Also worth trying are the pub’s homemade pies.

The Four Horseshoes, Thornham Magna

Cost: From £11

A previous winner for Best Family Dining in the East Suffolk Food and Drink Awards. If you were asked to draw a quintessentially English inn, this would be it. All rosy and pink, with a thatched roof. Inside the pub is sprawling, with lots of nooks and crannies to dine in –and you’ll even discover a well!

Carveries are a speciality, but while social distancing measures are in place they are instead selling plated lunches at £11 for a small plate of £13 for a large. That includes a choice from the day’s meats, roast potatoes, fresh vegetables, Yorkshires, homemade stuffing and homemade gravy.

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