Who knew blancmange could taste so good?
Where? Stoke Place, Stoke Green, Stoke Poges, Bucks SL2 4HT (01753 534790)
A den of iniquity for dinner? Well, not quite. It might sound like somewhere Johnny Depp frequents, but this bright and airy dining room, with its views across a lake, complete with ducks and geese, doesn’t exactly scream rock’n’roll.
Is that bright and breezy interior reflected in the food? There’s certainly plenty of locally sourced, seasonal produce, but don’t worry, it’s not exactly health food on offer. In-between the roast Gressingham duck and treacle tart, there’s plenty to feel deliciously sinful about.
Where does the calorie consumption start? Half a dozen Colchester rock oysters (£9.50) is the perfect way to kick off your feast, although the ham hock terrine (£6) just pipped them for hey-eat-your-own-starter appeal. For mains, we chose seabass, served with shaved fennel and lemon (£15.50), which was untouchably good, and the daily ‘Polly Conroy’s Beef’ selection, which is reared by Polly herself just around the corner in Little Kingshill.
Any room for afters? With nearly half the dessert menu taken up with an explanation about why blancmange deserves a revival (and with 50p from each serving donated to Action Against Hunger), not eating the blancmange and summer berries (£6) felt somehow wrong. And, against all odds, it tasted really rather wonderful.
Any more ad-vyce? Leave the puns to the professionals.