Villagers put new chef to test

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ABTHORPE’S pub, The New Inn, has a new chef.

Ben Davies succeeds Andy Houghton who has moved on to pastures new.

Ben and his partner, Jennifer, live in Pattishall and have two young children.

He was trained at the very popular Hoste Arms in the Norfolk town of Burnham Market, which aims to produce local seasonal food of the highest standard.

Ben emphasised that he wishes to adopt this aim in Abthorpe and will be sourcing much of his food locally, including meat from Rob Smith in nearby Slapton.

Once a regular pattern has been established Ben intends to introduce theme evenings such as curry nights.

Ben is happy to admit that Jennifer is the brains behind the business, and says she is very supportive of the new venture.

The pub’s kitchen is open from Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 9pm, and for Sunday lunches.

A group of villagers decided to put Ben’s catering skills to the test one weekday evening.

John Riches writes:

“Once we were settled in the cosy restaurant, we were presented with a menu that offered a home-made soup, marinated prawns with salad plus a pâté dish.

“There were five main courses on offer, including baked salmon with sautéed potatoes and vegetables and also a vegetarian dish with wild mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Meat dishes included seared pork loin, vegetables and apple sauce plus a pie with vegetables and mash or chips. All were very reasonably priced. A small number of well-chosen desserts completed the evening’s menu.

“Now the verdict! The food was well presented and tasted delicious.

“Towards the end of the meal, Ben came to our table and bravely asked for comments. He listened to the constructive criticism and noted where we thought improvements could be made.

“Overall, the meal was very good. It was a delightful evening and we wish Ben and Jennifer every success in their exciting new venture.”