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Grab a roast and a crumble for less than £15 at The Dolphin, Thorpeness

PUBLISHED: 09:57 30 September 2017

A new dish at The Parrot in Aldringham - baked cod with chorizo, creamy leeks and mash. Picture: Contributed

A new dish at The Parrot in Aldringham - baked cod with chorizo, creamy leeks and mash. Picture: Contributed

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The Dolphin in Thorpeness defines what a community pub should be.

The Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin Inn The Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin Inn

Are you sick of gastropubs? You know, the kind where everything on the menu costs over £20, you’re more likely to find coloured gin than a decent beer, and if you’re not wearing a dinner jacket and recently polished shoes you feel distinctly out of place?

Pubs used to be the life and soul of every small town and village, bringing people together for companionship (and gossip) over a well-kept pint and perhaps a little decent food.

And one pub that’s keeping this dream alive, being very much part and parcel of the community it’s in is The Dolphin in Thorpeness, run by David James and his daughter Kerry. David has also recently teamed up with executive chef Chris Theobald and taken on The Parrot in Aldringham, where the spirit of serving the community is being extended too.

They go so much further than putting on token charity quiz nights or the occasional open mic event.

The Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin Inn The Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin Inn

There’s the occasional low cost set meal for vulnerable, lonely local people that they host. Kerry organises the annual village fete. They’re involved with the regatta. On October 28 they host a charity Smugglers Walk from 10am, with Halloween family fun (including treats) in the evening.

BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnball will host one of the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership’s quizzes there on November 23. And there’ll be a Christmas Fair on November 25, and village Christmas Party on December 8.

And that’s all for starters.

Adjacent to the pub is its very own, vital community shop. And David and chef Chris are passionate about sourcing ingredients from the village and surrounding area to help sustain the economy.

In short, they do more than their fair bit to not only fit in, but to help the place they live and work in flourish and thrive.

Chris is especially proud of the kitchen’s local connections, including with Gerard King of Salter and King in Aldeburgh who’s supplying him with much of the meat for both The Dolphin and The Parrot.

“We have a very good relationship with Gerard,” he said. “We use a lot of his East Anglian reared meat. And we have great suppliers of lobsters from Southwold, and use another fisherman from Lowestoft who gets amazing halibut, lemon sole and cod. Plus, I can’t miss out the connection we have with the people that grow the famous Thorpeness Leaves. Kerry is married to the son of the man who grows them, and his wife works in our shop, so it’s very much a family operation.

“Because of that connection we are lucky enough to have some great produce come our way at the end of the season, so we can make lots of chutneys to see us through to Christmas, including apple and fig, plum and Aspall Cyder and green tomato.

“Our focus over at The Parrot is on quality local meats, while at The Dolphin it’s a bit more eclectic, with several options for vegans, as I feel that’s important.

When you look at a menu at either pub, you’ll know exactly where you are in the season. At the moment you’ll discover tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers and sweetcorn, moving onto deep braises, cabbage, kale and root veg in the winter months.

Families (including dogs) are heartily welcomed, and there’s a proper children’s menu available, with as much care taken to feed young diners as adults.

Typical dishes at The Parrot include salt beef and green pepper hash with baked egg, and sticky maple and bourbon chicken wings.

While over at The Dolphin on the new menu are a warm green salad with chilli cashews, salmon tartare with pea shoots, lime and caper dressing and rye bread, and Blythburgh pork belly with baby carrots, red onion, creamed mash, crackling and gravy.

As we slink into autumn and the weather changes, roasts become even more popular and you won’t get better value than The Dolphin’s £14.95 Sunday deal, including a locally sourced roast lunch and a fruit crumble!

Look out too for the fixed price menu, available from Monday to Saturday and priced at £12.95 for two courses or £15.95 for three.

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