Chateaubriand for Two

DonQui felt like it was time to get reacquainted with some of his local food haunts. The Anchor in Walberswick is one of his favourites.

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Now Walberswick is an odd sort of place. Once a thriving small port it is now mostly a holiday destination which rather resembles the set of an Agatha Christie film. Known as “Notting Hill on Sea” for the number of film and TV celebrities who have taken up residence, it can be pretty crowded in summer but off-season it starts to regain its quiet charm again.

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Just across the Blythe river from Southwold the crossing to Walberswick is by ferry — if you can call it that.

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It is actually just a small boat. There is a foot bridge a bit further up river but if you want to go by car from Southwold to Walberswick you have to make a detour of over 8 miles to get around the Blythe.

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Named amongst the 50 best gastropubs in Britain, the Anchor has managed to maintain a good balance between top-end food and a relaxed country atmosphere. Prices are on the steep side but the food and drink are well above average.

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DonQui prefers sitting in the bar area when he can get a spot there. There is a table reserved for locals (on the right of the photo) which has caused some consternation amongst the many tourists. DonQui, however, supports the idea which is very similar to the Stammtisch found in many German Gasthäuser. Although not exactly a local himself, DonQui now has a standing invitation to join the table.

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On a warm day the back terrace is very nice and some weekends they have entertainment. There is, however, one side room by the toilets which if you sit there feels a bit as if you have been ‘Sent to Coventry’ (non British readers may need to look up the meaning).

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As the hectic summer season had come to an end DonQui manages to bag a table in the bar and settles down to enjoy the local Adnams’ Ghost Ship while contemplating the food options. It turns out to be “steak night” and what is more a chateaubriand is on offer.

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Chateaubriand is perhaps slightly out of fashion these days but DonQui always finds it a rather special treat. Cut from the centre of the beef filet it is cooked whole and then divided up between two of you. From local Red Poll beef (a Suffolk breed) the Anchor’s chateaubriand was perfectly cooked and served with both Béarnaise and peppercorn sauces on the side. Alongside were grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, beans, carrots and a choice of dauphinoise potatoes or chips.

Washed down with an Argentinian Malbec it was a most enjoyable meal in a great atmosphere.

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