The Alford Arms, Frithsden and Ferris, Ferris…

How could you not a love a pub that quotes Ferris Bueller on its intro page?  I guess if you were Cameron Frye’s dad…

Ferris Bueller was released 26 years ago, which makes me feel old.  I can still play back extended scenes in my mind.  Maybe that should make me feel young or at least mentally agile?  Either way, having just googled the actor who played Cameron, I am delighted to see that he has of late starred in a show called Stella, as well as Cougar Town. 

Anyway, The Alford Arms.  We managed to make it there with no map, two non-functioning iPhones, and faulty directions scrawled on a cheese menu.  Am so glad we persevered – it was magnificent – the perfect country pub within an hour’s drive from London, with outstanding food. 

Having eaten the best part of two cows in the last three days, I skipped the Sunday roast, but it broke my heart not to eat this Yorkshire pudding:

Instead I had two starters.  Scottish mackerel on horseradish new potato salad with rhubarb syrup.

I was dubious about the mackerel / rhubarb combo, but good old Nigel is never wrong and the above was a triumph – the sharpness of the rhubarb slicing through the rich, oiliness of the fish, with a punchy, tender-firm potato salad back up plan.    (By the way, did you know rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit!  I had no idea.)

Then on to pan-fried duck liver on eggy brioche with grain mustard sauce:

So French tasting and luxurious I almost wept with happiness.  And finalement, blackberry frangipane with blackberry ice cream:

and Seville orange trifle:

with a perfect, golden, caramelised-round-the-edges pistachio biscuit.

If there’d been a decent dollop of custard in this trifle this would be a perfect 10 meal for me, but I’m harsh in all things related to custard dearths, so let’s call it a 9.8.

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