Framlingham Pigot: Old Feathers

A traditional Sunday roast without all the preparation and washing-up, ANDY RUSSELL enjoys a visit to The Old Feathers at Framingham Pigot.

Our household is in that in-between phase – my wife and I not quite empty-nesters but no longer have enough mouths to feed on Sundays to buy a decent roast joint.

Cooking a small joint takes just as much preparation and clearing up and to get a decent piece of meat that doesn't dry and shrink in the oven we end up eating it Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…

And life is too short to spend a big chunk of Sunday cooking when we could be out enjoying ourselves. Fortu-nately more and more restaurants and pubs are cottoning on to this and offering sensibly-priced roast Sunday lunches.

Having heard good reports about The Old Feathers, at Framingham Pigot just outside Norwich on the Beccles road, we gave it a go.

I wish I had a pound for every time I had passed this pub – it would probably keep us in Sunday lunches for a year – but it is now owned by head chef Steve Clark who reopened it last year. And, in what it a real family, affair he is helped by partner Nina, his parents, Keith and Susie, and a couple of part-time staff. They're a really friendly bunch who make you feel welcome.

It was a good job we had booked as the large conservatory overlooking the back garden with its chickens and do-mestic rabbits was full of customers and the smell that greeted us made us even more hungry.

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And what a choice on the menu. As well as the �8.50 roast – beef or pork loin when we went – there were four starters (�4.95-�5.95), eight alternative main courses (�8.95-�11.95) and a desserts board (all �4.50).

I'd thought this was going to be easy, and having been tempted by the homemade steak and ale pie, stuck to my guns and chose the roast pork. My wife, Denise, and friend Yvonne went for the roast beef, while sister-in-law Linda took up the combo option of both roasts.

And what a roast dinner it was – a good portion of meat, perfect roast potatoes that were crisp on the outside and soft inside, honey roast parsnips and a Yorkshire pudding. And then the vegetables arrived – cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and carrots – piping hot but not overcooked so they retained their texture. The icing on the cake for my wife, who is gluten-free, is that it had a Yorkshire pudding and gravy she could eat.

While we tucked into our roasts, Yvonne's husband Simon was enjoying the huge steak and kidney suet pudding with vegetables and homemade chips which were as good as the roast potatoes — well, I had to help him finish them!

When the desserts board came round Denise was in heaven with two gluten-free puddings to choose from – take note all you restaurants and pubs that can offer only fresh fruit salad or pavlova! For a time I thought she was go-ing to have both the sticky toffee pudding with custard and the apple crumble but she opted for the former and it kept her quiet for a good five minutes as she devoured it.

Meanwhile Linda, Yvonne and I chose the hot blackberry and apple crumble from the desserts board but had ice-cream rather than custard – really tasty and clearly home-made. Other choices included lemon tart, raspberry and lemon torte and cheesecake.

We finished our meal with coffee and were pleasantly surprised to find the bill, including a pint of Adnams and four soft drinks, came to just over �69.

So would we go again? Definitely, we were so impressed by the food and friendly atmosphere we're taking my parents – they're normally small joint cookers too.

The Old Feathers

Loddon Road

Framingham Pigot

01508 495611

Open: Tues-Sun lunch 12pm-3pm, evening 6pm-11pm. Mon lunch for group bookings of more than 15 people.

Prices: Starters from �4.75, mains from �8.50, desserts �4.50

Vegetarian options: Good selection

Wheelchair access: Yes