Flying Talents

Velvet visits The Three Blackbirds…

A little bird once told me that some of the best food experiences can be found where we least expect them… and after my latest visit to the quaint village of Woodditton I couldn’t agree more…

Stepping into the traditional countryside bar and restaurant that is The Three Blackbirds, it was no doubt that this was exactly the sort of place I’ve been looking for. A roaring fire, a bustling bar full of villagers enjoying their midweek catch up, and the gentle sound of wagging tails (dog’s that is) is exactly what makes The Three Blackbirds one of our region’s most welcoming pubs.

Having recently joined the portfolio of one of the friendliest teams in the town, The Granary Estates team of course, it was no wonder that smiles radiated from behind the bar as my guest and I arrived.

Settling down in one of the oversized leather chairs, my final glass of mulled wine for the festive season in hand, it wasn’t long before we both felt completely at home.

With our orders passed through to the kitchen, we were escorted through to the restaurant, taking our seats amongst the gorgeous decorated dining area and awaiting the first signs of the food we’d heard so much about since it re-opened in November last year.

Watching as an amazing plate of smoked mackerel pate, beetroot relish and melba toast was placed before me, and an equally mouth-watering dish of potted game and spiced apricot chutney was laid on the table before my guest, it was no wonder we could hardly wait to tuck in.

The soft mackerel pate did anything but disappoint. The soft fish taste was perfectly complimented by the sharpness of the beetroot, all mixed with the crunch and texture of the toast… creating the perfect mouthful. Smoothing all the ingredients onto the warmed toast, I could have eaten the dish over and over again.

Stealing a mouthful of my guests potted game, it was no wonder it was disappearing quickly! The chunky mix of game, covered with the sweet flavours of the apricot ensured no crumb was left on the plate. It was absolutely delicious.

As our plates were cleared, and our attention turned back to the wonderful surroundings of The Three Blackbirds it was easy to see why the restaurant had been so popular throughout the festive season, complete with a sold out New Year’s Eve celebration.

Offering the perfect venue for intimate dining, as well as for groups of up to 14 in The Gun Room, everything about the restaurant and pub welcomed its guests with opened arms. 

As our main courses were placed before us, I was already a fully fledged fan of the Blackbirds ethos, a feeling that was only strengthened as I set eyes on the dishes.

Mine, a plate of locally shot pheasant breast, wrapped in Suffolk bacon, with fondant potatoes, sprouts and chestnuts, all accompanied by bread sauce, was an absolute masterpiece. Radiating mouth-watering smells of meaty goodness, I could barely lift my eyes to see the plate of grilled line-caught cod, Suffolk salami, mashed potato, cabbage and mustard seed cream sauce land on my guest’s side of the table.

Silence filled the air as we both took our first mouthful… and what a treat it was. The tender, moist meat complimented everything on my plate, mixing the game flavours with the lighter scents of vegetables. Perfectly accompanied by the crunch of chestnuts and firm, yet perfectly cooked, sprouts, it was heaven.

Judging by the smile filling my guest’s face, her dish couldn’t have been too bad either. It smelt too good to be true, and having sneaked a mouthful, I can say it tasted even better.

Clearing every last mouthful from our plates, it was time to consider the desserts. An avid fan of sticky toffee pudding I simply couldn’t bypass my all time favourite sweet, whereas my guest settled for an amazing portion of rocky road ice cream sundae.

As both appeared at the table it felt like Christmas all over again. The sweet, sticky pudding was exactly what the doctor ordered, whilst my guest still swears the rocky road was one of the best desserts she’s had to date.

With so many reasons to visit again, our final course really was the icing on the cake… I already can’t wait to go back.

Article by Georgie King

The Three Blackbirds, 36 Ditton Green, Woodditton, Newmarket, CB8 9SQ. Tel: 01638 731100. www.thethreeblackbirdswoodditton.co.uk