Dining out at The Shepherd, Langham

PUBLISHED: 11:44 20 November 2013 | UPDATED: 11:44 20 November 2013




IT’S always exciting to hear of an establishment which has undergone a transformation and opened under new ownership. The Shepherd, formerly the Shepherd and Dog, was built in 1928 but had only been open again for six weeks in its new guise. Owned this time by Esther and Richard Brunning, previously from the Mistley Quay Café, the Shepherd has plenty of parking round the back in a sizable car park.

The exterior still speaks of a traditional ale house, however, inside it’s far more contemporary with a backdrop of fawn, warmed pleasantly with shades of moss green and autumnal tones of orange, creating a cheerful décor which immediately puts you in a happy place.

To the side of our table was a platter of delicious-looking homemade fruit scones and also copies of Esther’s Best, full of her own recipes beautifully illustrated with full colour photography. This newly-opened restaurant can be enjoyed throughout the day (open from 9am to 11pm), serving breakfasts, lunch, afternoon teas and evening meals. The menu, although tempting, is quite simplistic and belies the complexities of the dishes served. Had I read Ether’s recipe book foreword first, I would have been aware of her culinary ethos to serve generous portions to avoid snacking between meals.

My two salmon and cod fishcakes where plump with a crisp breadcrumb coating and served with, not only a sublime sizeable dressed salad with sweet chilli mayo dressing, but also hand-cut, skinny chips – with the skin on! My dining partner chose the warm chicken Mediterranean salad, again a mighty bowl with two glistening chargrilled chicken breasts on top of salad, olives, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and a hefty slice of homemade brown bread.

As time was against us we had opted to go straight to mains, leaving the choices including pea and ham soup and chicken liver parfait for a return visit. There’s plenty of attention to detail in both the dishes and the surroundings; the fresh flowers on each table and on the bar, the classy light fittings, the Fever Tree tonic and Coca Cola from bottles rather than a mixer tap, and the friendly yet professional service throughout.

However, it was the iced peanut butter parfait with caramel, banana and mango tart with Amaretto which made us decide another visit would definitely be on the cards.

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