A lunch at the Shepherd and Dog at Forward Green near Stowmarket is the first of my posts venturing further afield. Appearances are deceptive as the square brick building doesn’t look so exciting from the outside but inside it’s comfortable and welcoming. There’s a bar area with scrubbed wooden tables, a more formal restaurant called the ‘eaterie’ but we chose to sit in the lounge area where food is also served. It’s a relaxing room, soft grey walls and a darker gunmetal grey painted bar, with mustard and pink soft chairs, and grey and maroon herringbone cushions dotted around.
The grazing menu is full of tempting dishes with the food coming on small plates as soon as it is made. It came in a sensible order, thank goodness, and we could have just eaten our own plates of food. But this time, we just fancied tasting everything; so we did. First up were some tender pork ribs with a sticky tangy Aspall glaze,
followed by smoked mackerel pâté, crème fraîche, lemon and chives, with home made malted toasted bread.
Then we had a cheeseboard, which is helpfully divided on the menu into blue, hard and soft so we chose one of each, Miss Temple Binham Blue, made with pasteurised cow’s milk, Shipcord, a Cheddar style cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk at nearby Needham Market and Wensum White from Norfolk, a goat’s cheese. They were served with crackers and little dishes of home made rhubarb and date chutney and fresh honeycomb on the top tier of the slate platter which made it feel special and original. It was good to know we were eating carefully sourced East Anglian produce, served in exactly the right stage of ripeness.
For pudding, we could have had a full size portion of dessert but chose instead ‘mini sweet treats’ sample sized versions of the à la carte desserts.
It was so relaxed and comfortable that we could have sat there all afternoon and we will definitely be back, not least for some full sized portions of pudding.
Opening Times:Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00 – 21:00 (Monday closed)
Forward Green, Stowmarket
Suffolk IP14 5HN Just on the A1120, the main road as you pass through the village
Tel 01449 711685