Ladies who lunch – 1066 @ The Chequers
There is a reason it’s called the 1066 – the Chequers pub is on the A1066 road from Diss to Thetford.
It is a busy road and it is very easy to swoosh straight past, so from the Diss direction, start looking as soon as you have passed the Bressingham Garden centre complex. From the Thetford side, drive through South Lopham and look out for a sign on either side of the road saying “Bressingham” with a 50 mph on top.
I had booked a table by filling in an online form and the lady phoned me back soon after to confirm. Early as usual, we found the elegant place almost empty, but it soon started filling up. We chose our table and consulted the menu which offered Smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches) in addition to the usual starter/main/desert and sides.
I am a fish-lover and instinctively chose the yellow-fin tuna with béarnaise sauce which was fabulous, beautifully cooked and a decent size. I ordered a green salad to accompany it and was entirely satisfied. My companion chose the sweet and sour chicken on a bed of champ (mash with spring onions mixed in) and a side dish of asparagus. She was relieved that the sweet and sour sauce wasn’t over-sweet, which it sometimes can be. Drinks were a glass of merlot and, for me, lime and soda water; very refreshing! Real linen napkins were a bonus.
And then puddings! Having been told I must reduce my cholesterol and bearing in mind the rich béarnaise sauce, I decided to avoid several comforting favourites (treacle and ginger sponge pudding, bakewell tart and bread and butter pudding) and chose the chocolate cheesecake with amaretto, thinking that it would probably be a fairly small portion. Oh, how wrong can you be?
It was so deep and dense and deliciously dark and surpassed all my expectations. My friend chose the crème brûlée served with shortbread and cream, and said it was wonderful and very rich. We ordered two double espressos: strong and hot, and then ventured into the little shop part of the pub to view the selection of goods on offer.
This place is a cut above the usual pub lunch, offering attentive service from host and hostess, and other elegantly turned-out staff members. Well-behaved dogs are allowed, and if you are lucky you may catch sight of the house dog asleep in front of the wood burning stove. I don’t know if the jazz music is a regular item, but it was on a low enough volume to be unobtrusive. Toilets are immaculate, and there is a special disabled one. Give this place a try; it’s not the cheapest but what you pay for is very good.
Crème Brulee £6.50
Soda water & lime £3.00
1066 @ The Chequers