I HAD my traditional Christmas dinner served up in fine style at Flockton this week.
For the first time in years I indulged myself with turkey and all the trimmings, savoured in the pleasant surroundings of the Sun Inn in the village.
We hadn’t booked, but we dropped in on spec on Monday lunchtime to see what was on offer.
I recalled recently in this column a most convivial evening out at The Crown, at Scissett, where we hit on the Friday Fish Night and enjoyed a delightful selection of delicious sea food.
The Crown is now a ‘sister’ pub to the Sun (the Rose and Crown, at Thurstonland is also in the same stable), so we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the Flockton hostelry.
We were not to be disappointed.
There was plenty of space in the capacious car park, but inside the place was a hive of activity. Several couples were having a drink in the cosy bar area, warmed by the traditional open log fire which helped promote a welcoming festive spirit.
A party of ladies who lunch were chatting in the corner of the small, but attractively laid out, recently refurbished restaurant, down a couple of steps from the bar.
I liked the homely feel of the place – a nice balance between drinkers and diners, the ‘wet trade’ and the food service.
Our lunchtime host, the attentive Sarah, showed us to a table for two in the opposite corner. She then took the meal orders from the ladies, who were making selections from the Christmas menu. Sarah returned and served us with drinks while we pondered over the food choices.
Of course it would have been a churlish seasonal snub to ignore the Christmas menu – and after all it certainly stimulated the taste buds, making for impressive reading:
For starters there was a choice of Chef’s Soup, roast sweet potato and butternut squash with homemade warm bread; Langoustine & Home-cured Gravadlax, served with cucumber and tomato salad dressed with lemon and black pepper vinaigrette and homemade warm bread; Slow Cooked Ham Hock & Parsley Terrine, served with homemade bread and beetroot salsa; Warm Salad of smoked dry-cured crisp bacon, saute button mushrooms, roast baby new potatoes and finished with a soft poached egg or Plum & Orange Duck Filo Parcels, breast and leg meat in a sweet sauce wrapped in filo pastry.
Carol went for the soup – and was glad she did. Served in a large poppy-patterned bowl she gave it her instant approved, describing it as “richly textured, very warm and wonderful”.
Say no more.
And the bread too tickled her palate.
I opted for the Langoustine & Gravadlax and I found that too was an inspired choice. The dressed salad was well balanced, the baby tomatoes were sweet, subtly contrasted by the lemon and black pepper vinaigrette, and the gravadlax (gravlax) – a Nordic dish consisting of raw salmon, cured in salt, sugar, and dill. usually served thinly slices as an appetiser, was finely textured, full of flavour and plentiful.
Then came the mains and my re-introduction to the classic turkey dinner.
Sarah served up a large platter heaving with slices of prime succulent roast turkey crown, delicately flavoured cranberry sausage, chunks of pork sausage wrapped in tasty, crispy, smokey bacon and delightfully light dauphinoise potatoes. It was an impressive assembly of ingredients fit for a king.
The servings were most generous, but I was not to be beaten and cleaned up the entire plate. It brought back happy memories of feasts of Christmas past.
Carol had chosen the vegetarian option of Wild Mushroom, Fresh Rhubarb and French Brie Strudel served with a boozy sherry cranberry cream. As with her starter she was impressed with this unusual combination of textures and tastes. We shared a large bowl filled with servings of cauliflower (with a bite), sliced tender carrots and crispy Brussels sprouts.
As with my turkey dinner, Carol’s fine plateful was of most ample proportions.
Also on the Christmas mains menu was Slow Braised Game Cassoulet, in red wine with rosemary and thyme dumpling; Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb, with damson jus and potato rosti and Oven Baked Seabass Fillet, on a compote of olives sun blushed tomato and roasted peppers with sticky balsamic syrup.
For desserts there was Christmas Assiette, a mini Christmas pudding, mince pie and brandy sorbet; Iced St Clement Parfait, sweet orange and tangy lemon curd in a homemade iced parfait; Millionaire Toffee Shortcake topped with caramel, chocolate ganache and cherry chantilly cream or the Cheese Board with biscuits, homemade chutney and a shot of port.
The puddings were inviting but we were both sated – there was no more room at the inn.
The main course was £12.95, our two courses came in at £16.95 each and it was £19.95 for three courses which included coffee and petit fours.
The menus and the prices were the same at each of the three pubs in the group and represented remarkably good value for money.
And now its back to nut roast for my Christmas Day dinner!