Dining Out At... Scutchers
PUBLISHED: 16:59 20 June 2014
This month Stephanie Mackentyre reviews Scutchers in Long Melford
THIS month see’s the return of the Taste of Sudbury Food & Drink Festival and one of its sponsors is Scutchers of Long Melford. With a long list of accolades including Good Food Guide awards, Michelin Bib Gourmand and AA Rosettes since it was established by Nick and Di Barrett in 1991, I needed no further excuses to try out the restaurant for an Essex Life review.
After many years of serving fine food six days a week, Scutchers is now open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays for lunch and dinner, plus some specific Sundays too. However, Nick and Di are still busy behind the scenes on their ‘days off’ as they also provide an outside catering service.
My guest and I arrived ahead of the restaurant’s scheduled opening at 7pm, but rang first and were invited without hesitation to arrive at a time to suit us. There’s a small snug area where we enjoyed lemon stuffed olives with our drinks while taking a proper look at the extensive menu and wine list.
Once at our table, with its crisp white linen, candle and fresh roses, we chose to begin with best white Cornish crab terrine encased in smoked salmon with a spring onion and ginger salad and, for me, early asparagus with crispy pancetta served with a tomato and chive dressing. The vibrant dishes were perfectly balanced and an absolutely delicious and eye-catching start to our meal.
Next my dining partner chose the luxury fish stew bouillabaisse-style served with rouille, croutons, Parmesan and new potatoes. The stew featured bass, sole, scallops, monk fish and salmon with some crisp slices of French bread to mop up any spare sauce. My main course was the roast loin of lamb on top of roasted vegetables with tomatoes and basil plus sauté potatoes in a rich gravy.
Both dishes were so good we swapped plates halfway through our meal just so that we could savour all the elements. My lamb was cooked medium and was rather succulent, while the fish stew was a triumph and will certainly initiate another visit.
We both remarked that our evening had been very relaxed and enjoyable with just the right amount of friendly and professional service. We finished with the Bakewell tart with clotted cream and, for me, it was the interesting cheese selections featuring generous portions of Colston Basset stilton, Brie du Meaux and Golden Cross goat’s cheese, served with biscuits, celery and homemade caramelised onion relish.
We didn’t leave until we’d drained not one, but two cups of filter coffee, such was its smoothness, and left resolved to visit again — very soon.
Useful to know
The total bill came to £99.20 for three courses for two people with coffees and drinks. 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.
Table Talk with newly-weds Julie Hoole and her husband John, plus their wedding reception guests.
What do you do?
We’re both company directors, John’s a civil engineer and I sell educational resources.
What did you choose from the menu?
We all had some very nice canapés. I specifically asked for the quails eggs with celery salt which I’d enjoyed before. Then our guests all chose from the a la carte menu. We trust Nick’s choices of food, so we left him to come up with an extensive a la carte menu which featured the produce in season. I started off with tempura prawns in chilli dip and then I had the lamb and finished with banana fritters.
Why were you at Scutchers?
To celebrate our wedding with our guests.
Describe your dining experience in one sentence
We received such a warm and friendly welcome and nothing is too much trouble for Nick and Di.
How would you rate the value for money?
Very, very good for the quality of food, and the wines are exceptional too.
Worth visiting again?
Oh yes, absolutely, I’d have no hesitation. We try to go once a month. We’ve never had a bad meal there and we live just four miles away so have visited Nick and Diane several times before.
What was the best part of your visit?
All our guests said what perfect service they had. Nick and Di are very professional and they left us to enjoy our afternoon with our guests. The service was attentive but discreet. We were very impressed and they exceeded all our expectations.
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