REVIEW: The Shepherd at Langham
PUBLISHED: 15:34 31 July 2019
Next up for Stephanie Mackentyre on her culinary tour of Essex is the The Shepherd, a lovely dining pub in Langham
New owners took over the flock at The Shepherd at Langham in 2017, with a mission to create a good gastro pub. I booked online, which was easy to do via their website. The pub is easily found just off the A12 on the outskirts of Colchester in the pretty village of Langham. There's parking to one side of this typical country inn which has three new en suite bedrooms each with a king-sized bed.
The décor features calming shades of green and cream with bare wood tables and chairs on a striking black and grey tiled floor. The menu invites you to enjoy snacks either at the bar or while you decide on your meal. So we did just that, ordering the artisan bread board with virgin olive oil and aged balsamic.
Unfortunately there was a short delay for our breads so that seconds later our starters were served too.
However the selection of five different types of bread were each light and extremely well baked. Not wanting our starters to get cold, we ploughed into scampi fried cod cheeks with a lemon mayo and served with lace potatoes for me, and for my partner the beef kofte Scotch egg with a choban salad and chilli sauce mayo, which was hot, hot, hot!
My starter was delicious, as was my guest's, although there was quite a considerable difference in the portion sizes.
It was really refreshing to see a chef experimenting with his menu and the soused mackerel with poached rhubarb and a mustard and dill mayo sounded intriguing, as did the 'whipped feta hydari' (Turkish yoghurt dip haydari) with roasted beets, candied orange and pistachios.
For my main course, although I loved the idea of them using local Mersea skate, I stuck with the cheek theme and tried the braised Dedham Vale beef cheek with a roast garlic mash and treacle cured carrot.
The meat was oh-so-tender and full of flavour with wonderfully creamy mash and roasted carrots cut lengthways.
The Shepherd lamb burger was my guest's choice. It came with a slice of aubergine and a slice of halloumi in a bun and was served with harissa mayo and French fries. His verdict, 'not sure the cheese and lamb work together'. However, he loved the French fries and the portions for both main courses were extremely generous.
So much so we had to leave their deliciously-sounding Maldon salted chocolate caramel tart with walnut dust and rose-infused yoghurt and the treacle sponge with ginger ice cream and rum and ginger butterscotch for another visit.
If you love your coffee, you might like to try their own-brand, hand-roasted coffee which is also available to buy in bags and take away. If you're more of a tea drinker, there is a selection of award-winning Novus teas to tempt you.
Table Talk: With Martin Goss his wife Rachel Goodwin, Jenny Axcell and Pete Walker, with Diane and Mick Grove
Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Colchester and I'm a project manager.
What did you choose from the menu?
I chose the Scotch egg starter and the lamb burger for my main course. I didn't have a dessert but I did have a spoonful of my wife's.
Why were you at The Shepherd?
We booked it six weeks ago as we periodically go out with the other two couples every few months for a catch-up.
Describe your dining experience in a phrase:
A country pub with decent, above average food and an eclectic choice of craft beer.
What could they do better?
It was absolutely perfect. A lovely atmosphere, the food was exquisite and the service was good too.
How would you rate the value for money?
Really good. The meal was very reasonably priced.
Worth visiting again?
What was the best part of your visit?
The food was really good and their craft ale on tap was absolutely fantastic.
Book a table
The Shepherd, Moor Road, Langham, CO4 5NR
Useful to know
The total bill came to £55.20 for two courses for two people plus drinks, and dipping breads. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.