The Fox & Raven Inn, Chelmsford *

As already mentioned numerous times on this blog, I love spending time out in Essex. I work all week in Central London, spend around 12 hours a week commuting and don’t want to be wasting my weekends on trains! And when you live where we do trains that work of a weekend are quite hard to come by! This means a lot of our weekend eating is done a lot closer to home and I love it!

A couple of weekends ago we ventured into Chelmsford, as we find ourselves doing more and more recently as the food scene there is growing rapidly, to dine at The Fox and Raven. A country house, what I’d classify more a mansion maybe, set in its own ground with ample parking owned by the same chain that owns one of our favourite locals for Sunday lunch.

Upon arrival, we spoke to a jolly chap on the bar which was a nice welcome as the pub was busy due to the glorious sunshine outside. We were then shown to our table which was set to look out over the gardens with a slight breeze; a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening.

Settings aside, the menu was filled with homely foods that made it a little tough to decide what I’d like to eat. Due to the hot weather, I wasn’t really feeling eating a roast dinner as that was too much for me.

Finally making a decision I ordered the Duo of Pate to start as I’m one of those people that can’t buy pate to have at home or I’d eat all of it in one sitting so I do tend to order it when I’m out.

As ever, Mike went with a prawn starter that consisted of an avocado, prawn and crab salad. Perfect for the weather outside.

For mains, I stayed on the salad theme and went for the crispy duck salad in chilli dressing. The size was just right for how hungry I was and the chilli coating suited the duck so well! Our waitress had recommended and she did good! This is certainly something I will be trying to recreate at home for dining Al Fresco out on our balcony!

Mike, not bothered by the heat outside, went in for the roast dinner complete with lamb shank. The meat simply fell off the bone and was so tender. The parsnips were cooked perfectly and the chunks of carrot were too. Mike can be quite fussy with how his veggies are cooked and these hit all the right spots. A tough job to conquer, I must say!

We weren’t going to go in for dessert but I feel we are easy persuaded when a dessert menu is placed in front of us.  We went for the Toffee & nut trio consisting of Bourbon pecan pie, crème caramel panna cotta and praline ice cream. This was my first ever try of pecan pie and now I can totally see why Americans go crazy over it; it’s so good!

All plates of all three course were left very empty so that’s certainly a sign that we both enjoyed our meals very much.

We had great service in a really nice environment. And the pub is even dog-friendly which wins me over every time. We’ve added The Fox and Raven to our list of places to take our parents to when we all meet up!

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