REVIEW: The Sun Inn at Dedham
PUBLISHED: 14:57 13 November 2018
Stephanie Mackentyre continues her tour of Essex's best eateries by stopping to eat at Dedham's Sun Inn with her pooch
At the end of a frantic day, there’s nothing nicer than a long walk with the dog and someone else to do the cooking. As a former coaching inn, The Sun has plenty of experience reviving weary travellers and their four-legged companions.
The newly-refurbished interior was a mix of bright pastel shades which worked well to show off the dark original wood beams and exposed brickwork.
We sat opposite the glossy-elm bar, which is dog friendly, and below us was the major part of the restaurant. Both areas have new plush seating and smart new tables. Service was both friendly and efficient. With the dog happily settled under our table we checked out the extensive wine list, helpfully grouped into types of flavours and countries of origin. With a glass of the Serie ‘A’ Chardonnay/Viognier in hand I surveyed the menu.
Breads were swiftly delivered with tapenade and a delicious extra virgin olive oil for dipping. We settled on Swiss chard, tomato and chickpea soup for my guest and, for me, I was instantly drawn to the Parma ham, black mission figs and ricotta with Alison’s honey.
The chef got a tick in the box for presentation when they arrived, for both the food and the carefully selected artful pottery used to frame each dish. Both starters were full of Mediterranean colours, but with plenty of local produce on the menu.
Next came pepperonata for me, a vegetarian option of slow-cooked peppers, capers, mozzarella di bufala with char-grilled polenta, and for my guest more nods to local producers with grilled Mersea Island lamb served with Swiss chard, anchovy and olive. The whole menu has a Mediterranean feel with whole-baked bream served with Italian peppers and roast cod with lardo di colonnata tempting options.
Again attractively presented, I would highly recommend my pepperonata. It was fully of zingy flavours with a colourful mix of peppers, pure white mozzarella with pesto drizzled over, a light vinaigrette to bind all the tastes together and even the simply grilled polenta was delicious.
My dining partner’s lamb was pink and succulent, sweet in flavour from the minerals gained grazing in the marshlands off Mersea Island. We ordered two side dishes, beans with almonds and also a side of new potatoes.
I did feel a little short changed when only three small new potatoes came for £3, but they were cooked to perfection so I left my guest to enjoy them. The French beans however were plentiful and more than enough for us both.
For dessert, a mix of delicious options to choose from. It was elderflower and lemon posset for me served with stewed gooseberries and homemade shortbread, then chocolate and espresso cake with a cream cheese for my guest – both were exquisite in taste and finesse.
What was interesting to note was a separate vegan menu and with an award-winning wine list to explore further, there’s more than enough reason to visit again, with or without the dog.
Useful to know
The total bill came to £65.70 for three courses for two people with 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.
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The Sun Inn
High Street, Dedham