“Constable Country Delight”:http://hallfarmshop.com/contact/
My husband received a voucher for this venue for his 70th birthday from a good friend who lives close to Stratford St Mary, and who regularly goes there for coffee with friends, and lunch with her husband. What a fabulous gift it was!
We booked ahead and visited there in late September on a lovely sunny week-day, enjoying the drive through Dedham, with the rolling English countryside as beautiful as it was when John Constable painted it many years ago. Fields of sheep, ancient oak trees along the roadside, and beautiful cottages. We don’t live that far from there but I always love to visit the area, and cherish memories from childhood of feeding the ducks at Flatford Mill (except for the day I fell in!).
The car park was busy but still plenty of space. We noted the shop as we arrived, but went straight to the restaurant where we were immediately greeted politely and shown to our table. The place is very light and airy, with vaulted ceilings, but divided into smaller areas so one didn’t feel like you were in such a big place. There were tables outside too, but we decided to sit indoors.
The menu had a good selection for all courses, including fish and shellfish dishes, red meat, chicken, and vegetarian, and a tempting selection of deserts. My husband chose the mussels in white wine for starter, but I decided against one because I don’t have his appetite, and wanted to enjoy a good main course! Well, there were more than enough mussels for one, so I did help myself to 2 or 3! They were simply fabulous! Soft and tender, and so fresh, with a wonderfully light sauce.
Hubby had a steak for main, with tomato, mushroom and chips. He said that the steak was the best he had had for a very long time, and he is rather a connoisseur! I had the chicken breast on shredded cabbage, and asked for extra veg instead of potato, which was served without question. The chicken was also extremely tender and moist, with a delicate jus, and the vegetables were cooked just right, and just the right amount as well.
Neither of us had room for desert…… shame! Maybe we will go back and just chose a desert and coffee! We will definitely return more than once, and highly recommend this place. The Constable Country area of Essex/Suffolk border is popular for holidays, with plenty of places to eat, but this tops anywhere else we have visited for a long time.
We wandered outside after eating, where there is a small collection of farm animals, including those cuddly Highland Cattle! Then we browsed the Farm Shop, which has an amazing selection of fresh, local produce, meat and vegetables, as well as some pickles and jams and other packet produce. There is also a good variety of quality gifts on offer. A delightful place. We bought a couple of very life-like rubber chicken eggs to confuse the children!