Hannah Talmage visited The Sun Inn on the Essex-Suffolk border and discovers a proper English pub with some rather good pub grub
The Sun Inn’s soft yellow exterior fits in beautifully with the rest of Dedham’s pretty pastel coloured Georgian houses, inns and shops. Dedham itself, steeped in history and in the heart of Constable Country has some of England’s most beautiful landscapes, which inspired many of the artist’s famous paintings.
We were welcomed by the roaring fires and thick exposed beams in the bar, warming us up on a chilly winter evening. The inn has been sympathetically renovated to the 21st century standard of a boutique hotel but still oozes charm with quirky ceilings and funny nooks and crannies that come with a building that has its heart in the 15th century.
The inn has seven bedrooms, each with their own style and all look equally comfortable. We stayed in Elsa on the first floor, a large room, full of character with wood panelled walls and slightly wonky floors. Watch your head as you enter! The buttercup coloured walls mirrored the outside of the pub.
After a long afternoon walk in the countryside we were ready to eat. We started with the pork rillette and handmade ricotta Agnolotti. The pork was softly whipped and delicious spread on the crispy crackers with a dollop of quince. The pasta melted in the mouth and was paired with a creamy prince squash, walnut and sage sauce.
For main course we tried the steak, a house speciality. 250g of perfectly rare sirloin with plenty of butter, fries and green beans. Hearty pub grub at it’s best. The roast cod did not disappoint either, served with Jerusalem artichokes and grilled orange segments all washed down with a perfect bottle of Gavi.
Although we didn’t have much room left, we had to try the desserts. Something naughty; banoffee mousse, chocolate cremeuax with peanut shortbread and something a little lighter; lime and coconut parfait with mango salsa and pineapple. I couldn’t resist helping my companion finish his off after devouring my own!
We settled in for the evening by the cosy log fire downstairs with an aperitif before turning in for a glorious and well-earned sleep.
Breakfast was a continental buffet, which included pastries, yogurt and fruit, cured meats and cheese. The homemade dried fruit compote is a must-try. It was hard not to over indulge and keep room for the cooked dishes, I opted for smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and crème fraiche on a toasted muffin and my companion tried the full English, which did not disappoint. Well-rested and full of delicious food, we reluctantly headed home but soon to return to this beautiful part of the country.
For the perfect weekend escape we think The Sun Inn has it all – lots of history, a wonderfully comfy bed, good food and a very warm welcome. Take in the fresh country air then indulge in a glass of the finest wine by the cosy open fire. Bliss.
The Sun Inn, High St, Dedham, Colchester