Restaurant review: The Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures

MOUNT BURES sounds like an ancient village that should be tucked away deep in the Essex countryside, writes Stephanie Mackentyre...

MOUNT BURES sounds like an ancient village that should be tucked away deep in the Essex countryside, writes Stephanie Mackentyre, but in reality it is only three miles from the A12 along the Halstead Road and very easy to find with plenty of parking right outside. Finding good food at even better prices was our remit and the friendly staff at this quaint Essex inn made a good first impression. The wine list has 11 white wines, ten red and a couple of rose choices plus three good Champagnes. There are three house wines by the glass and I plumbed for a white rioja. As my guest and I looked over the specials board our appetite increased and there was a good selection of dishes to suit all purses.We chose to begin our meal with garlic mushrooms in a creamy white sauce on toasted ciabatta for my guest and for me it had to be the smoked Scottish salmon from the Borley Smokery with fresh beetroot and horseradish mayonnaise. When the dishes arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the dishes and the elegant way they were presented, this homely pub is housing a rather talented chef. They tasted just as good as they looked and we eagerly awaited our main courses. This time the choices were a mighty-sized individual beef and ale pie with a host of fresh vegetables and creamy mash and, for me, pork tenderloin stuffed with mushroom duxelle served with basmati rice, roasted vine cherry tomatoes and an Aspall Cider cream sauce. The pork was wonderfully tender and complemented by the fantastically flavoursome sauce, even the rice was delicious - cooked in stock apparently. We gazed lovingly at the dessert menu, musing over warm chocolate brownie, steamed neopolitan sponge, apple crumble and a rather tempting cheese board. In the end one portion of Jam Roly Poly was all we could manage and the waitress kindly offered us two spoons so we could share. The Thatchers Arms appears in both the Good Pub Guide and the Good Beer Guide for 2009 and offers two courses for �10 at lunchtimes from Tuesday to Saturday or in the evenings from Tuesday to Thursday from 6pm to 9pm. The owner of this pub has thrown away the 'you only get what you pay for' rule book and created an all-round dining experience that is outstandingly good in both flavour and value for money.Useful to knowThe total bill came to �46.60 for three courses, two glasses of wine, a beer and a coke. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by the food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.TABLE TALK With Gill and Paul, Terry and Lesley and John SecretanWhat do you do? I'm a home-maker

What did you choose from the menu? The Borley Smokery salmon starter and then pork tenderloin

Why were you dining out at the Thatchers Arms? It was recommended to us by some friends and we decided to get together to dine as a family

Rate the value for money: We all thought that this was very, very impressive with reallygood-sized portions

Describe your dining experience in three words: Service, food, atmosphere (all were great)

Would you recommend the Thatchers Arms to friends? Yes, I've booked again with eight girlfriends

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