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Barford: The Cock

10:14 04 July 2011

Barford Cock

Barford Cock

Archant

It’s a village pub that serves good quality food but doesn’t do enough to make itself known. SARAH BREALEY visits the Barford Cock, which definitely deserves more trade.

The landlord/chef of the Barford Cock, Justin Ross recently sent out an appeal for people to support them, trade apparently not having been as good as it might be.

I can’t help but feel they might help themselves by getting in the phone book — while we were there, the only other couple dining were saying they had not been able to find a phone number — or even setting up a website for that matter.

The pub was taken over in December by Mr Ross, formerly sous-chef at the Elveden estate near Thetford.

Real ale drinkers might remember the Cock as the former home of the Blue Moon brewery, which to the best of my knowl-edge is sadly no more. With a position on the main Norwich to Watton Road, the pub has a small beer garden and a good-sized car park.

Inside, the pub is uncluttered, with wooden tables and walls painted cream and a deep warm red.

There was just one real ale, Coyote from the Wolf brewery in Attleborough, but it was well-kept, and the pub is a member of Camra’s laudable LocAle scheme.

As for the food, it was really quite good. It was June and there was Norfolk asparagus all over the menu, which I like to see during this vegetable’s brief season. It was Sunday lunchtime and both the lunchtime and evening menus were available, as well as a choice of roasts. The evening menu includes half a roast duck in red wine sauce, steaks with various sauces, and an unusual dish of chicken with cumin and coriander on a broth of butter beans and asparagus. At lunchtime there are burgers and baguettes as well as several things that are also on the evening menu, such as tagliatelle carbonara and fish and chips.

I started with asparagus soup, which made well is a gorgeous summer dish, and so this was – very creamy, pastel green, served with a bit of crusty baguette.

The Real Ale Drinker had mussels in a cider, garlic and cream sauce. They were not the largest mussels, but quite a generous portion for a starter. He thought they were perhaps a bit overcooked, but the sauce was very nice, with some bread to mop it up.

Next he had one of the fish specials, grilled fillet of sea bream, on leek and onion fondue with asparagus and poached egg. I thought this was a lovely combination of flavours.

The asparagus tips were slender and cooked just right, so there was still a bit of bite to them. The leeks and onions had been chopped small and cooked until they were soft and sweet, with loads of cream added.

I had leek and asparagus quiche, served with salad and mustard mayonnaise. It was nicely presented, with a triangle of quiche on top of an elegantly constructed salad. But it looked more like a dish to suit lighter appetites rather than my innate greed, so I quickly added some chips to my order.

They were really excellent chips, hand cut, crispy round the edges and yielding within, and a decent amount of them too. The quiche itself was nice, if perhaps a touch salty, while the salad was simple but full of perky flavours – sliced tomatoes, seasoned and layered with shredded spring onions.

The desserts number just three, but they are good ones: hot chocolate fondant, sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream, and vanilla fudge with vanilla ice-cream. Chocolate fondant is one of my favourite desserts, and this specimen proved why: a crisp exterior hiding the molten chocolate within, gorgeously rich and not too sweet.

It came with a jug of single cream, though I think a scoop of good-quality ice-cream would be even better, so you have the contrast of temperatures as well as textures.

Most of the piped music was truly appalling – Lifted by the Lighthouse Family was as good as it got, if that tells you anything – but the food was good enough that we forgave them.

Thanks in part to the chips, we were really quite full by now, and spent the afternoon in a semi-stupor on the sofa, dreaming of asparagus.

The Cock

Watton Road

Barford

01603 758135

No website

l Open: Mon-Tue 5pm-9pm; Wed-Fri 12pm-2.30pm, 5pm-11pm; Sat 12pm-11pm; Sun 12pm-10.30pm

l Vegetarian options: Decent selection

l Wheelchair access: Yes

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