My expectations of the British Larder were high, buoyed by the previous experiences of family members. Famed for sourcing fresh, local produce, this establishment has certainly gained a good reputation. During our visit, we selected dishes from the set lunch menu. Each dish was beautifully presented and contained delicious elements. To start, duck rilette (meaty, flaky and blanketed in a layer of jelly) with whole wheat crackers (like flat, thin breadsticks, these didn't withstand the texture of the duck). The beetroot salad was a resounding success: three different types prettily presented, each sweet and vinegary, complimented by pea purée. For mains, most of our party selected the rabbit served with seasonal vegetables. They certainly enjoyed it; every scrap polished from their plates. My option of gnocchi with lobster bisque, sundried tomatoes and pan-fried salmon was good, though less sauce (very intense in flavour, slightly overpowering for my taste) and more pillowy pieces of gnocchi would have been welcome. To finish, no one could resist the brown sugar meringue and summer berry mess: a perfect balance of tart fruit compote, smooth vanilla cream and chewy meringue pieces.
Overall, this place gets top marks for food, which at its best is simple and cooked with flair and precision. Significantly pricier than standard pub fare, the British Larder is a family-friendly place ideal for a treat. The gardens provide space for al fresco dining, plus there's a play area for the children. Indoors, there's room for improvement in the service: we asked three times for table water before a jug appeared. Similarly, it was difficult to attract the attention of a waiter when we required the bill. Three different staff members served us during the course of our three hour stay. Although polite, we felt the staff lacked care in their duties; they appeared to go through the motions of service, which made the whole affair seem rather cold and indifferent. With a little more warmth, the British Larder could be among the best that Suffolk has to offer.
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