Emma Morgan heads to Rickling Green, Essex, for countryside cuisine.
There’s nothing more pleasant than taking an afternoon drive through the countryside on a brisk autumn day. So last Sunday, as I drove through the waves of seasonal colours, I was delighted to stumble upon The Cricketers Arms.
Located between Bishops Stortford and Saffron Walden, the traditional tavern embodies all the qualities of a good village pub; friendly atmosphere, warm glowing fireplace, traditional décor with a modern twist and an impressive drinks and food menu.
The premises was taken over by Leanne Langman at the beginning of the year, and is one pub in a long line of establishments, including The Eight Bells in nearby Saffron Walden and more recently The George in Spaldwick.
The 15th Century building is perfectly situated over looking the village green and historic cricket ground. We took our window seats and began observing the menu, which boasts locally sourced ingredients, with timeless classics and original specials.
Though the Sunday roast looked superb, my guest and I opted for something a little different to a traditional lunch. I went for the deep fried goat’s cheese on a bed of roast beetroot and walnut salad, while my guest chose one of the specials from the board that had been conveniently displayed at our table for viewing. He was delighted with his choice of pigeon.
The Cricketers Arms has a great mains selection including locally produced sausage and mash with caramelised onions and gravy, beer battered fish fillet of the day with chips and mushy peas and rump steak, all ranging from £10.50 to £16.50. I tucked into a free range chicken, which was juicy and tender may I add, beautifully presented with sundried tomato and chorizo, spiced butternut squash puree and baby broccoli. Now to my astonishment and a great sign of the chefs skills, my guest who had chosen the double roast lamb shank in red wine had not made a fussy comment. Usually, no matter, how five star the establishment, he will always finds a complaint with a lamb shank (it drives me mad, why order it?), but on this occasion he was delighted with the delicate and tasty dish. Hat off to the chef!
Desserts followed the same pattern; full of taste and neatly presented. The only downfall I had was that not once but twice I had to ask for cutlery. May I suggest if you don’t want to wait to tuck in, take your own!
This pub features 10 individually contemporary bedrooms with ensuite facilities making it an ideal location for those looking for an overnight stay on the way to or from Stansted.
As a village pub it caters well to its locals and opens its arms to new visitors, all the while catering for a clientele of discerning business travellers. I would definitely recommend as an afternoon winter treat.
Tel: 01799 543210