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Review: Toblerone tart went down a treat at Douglas Barder in Martlesham Heath

PUBLISHED: 13:55 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:58 01 August 2014

The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath.
L-R Andrew Smith, Margaret Barrett (owner) and Kieryn Lestrange

The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath. L-R Andrew Smith, Margaret Barrett (owner) and Kieryn Lestrange


Nestled next to the village green in Martlesham Heath is the Douglas Bader pub and restaurant.

The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath,The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath,

The venue is named after the famous Second World War pilot, who attended when the pub first opened in the late 1970s.

Margaret and John Barrett took over the pub 16 years ago, but you’ll still find aviation memorabilia around the venue.

Margaret said: “Douglas Bader officially opened the pub. He pulled the first pint back in 1979.”

I went along to the pub one warm Friday lunchtime with my mum to try out the menu.

The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath,The Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath,

As we stepped inside the pub, we were surprised at just how big it is. There are lots of tables to choose from in the main section, along with comfortable sofas. You can also choose to sit outside.

We headed to the bar to order some drinks – I opted for a soft drink, while Mum thought she’d have a glass of wine.

The friendly barman told her the reds available and, when Mum couldn’t decide, gave her a taster of one.

Wine chosen, we headed to our reserved table which was in the light, airy conservatory – an addition which was constructed in the year 2000.

Douglas Bader, Martlesham Heath, toffee and praline cheesecakeDouglas Bader, Martlesham Heath, toffee and praline cheesecake

We were quite early for lunch, but the pub was already busy with families, couples and groups of workmates on their lunchbreaks.

It took us a while to choose what to eat – the menu offers a lot of choice. We decided to go straight for the mains, but there were plenty of starters as well as appetisers such as olives and garlic bread to choose from.

Starters on the menu included sweet chilli chicken skewers, smoked salmon and prawn cocktail and rosemary and garlic crusted brie wedges. There are also sharing starters for two, such as salsa and cheese nachos.

There really is something for everyone on the menu – the mains included salads, all-day breakfasts, a selection of steaks, chicken breast with a choice of sauces, and beefburgers served your way with a variety of toppings.

Douglas Bader, Martlesham Heath, goats' cheese and beetroot saladDouglas Bader, Martlesham Heath, goats' cheese and beetroot salad

Under the ‘mains’ section, you can choose from a range of dishes such as fish in beer batter with chips, homemade steak and kidney bake and stuffed peppers. You can also choose from sandwiches, tortilla rolls, baguettes and jacket potatoes. Food is served all day, every day, and roasts are available on a Sunday.

Mum decided on the beetroot, red onion and goats’ cheese salad with crusty bread and I chose the vegetarian Glamorgan sausages, with mashed potato and fresh vegetables.

While we waited for our food, we chatted to a regular who had just finished eating his lunch. He highly recommended the pub – he visits almost every day for lunch and had good things to say about the food and the friendly staff.

When the waitress brought out our meals, we were really impressed with how colourful the salad looked. Mum enjoyed the fresh salad, which was drizzled with dressing.

Toblerone tartToblerone tart

My sausages and mash came with carrots, cauliflower and gravy. The sausages were really tasty and the vegetables were al dente. The gravy worked well with the whole dish, especially the mashed potato.

Our plates were soon cleared by the friendly waitress, and we decided to take a look at the dessert menu. Again there’s a wide selection here, including ice cream, raspberry sorbet, waffle mountain, sticky apple caramel pie and four layered chocolate fudgecake.

I chose the cheesecake of the day, which was toffee praline, and Mum went for the almondy Toblerone tart. We could choose from ice cream, pouring cream or whipped cream as accompaniments.

It didn’t take long for our desserts to come out. And it didn’t take long for them to be eaten! My fluffy cheesecake, with a crunchy biscuit base, was delicious, as was Mum’s tart – I had a spoonful just to be sure. I think any chocoholics would agree too!

We chose not to have hot drinks afterwards as it was such a warm day, but it was nice to see a wide selection of teas and coffees, including decaf options for both, as well as hot chocolate.

The prices are really reasonable here for decent, British pub grub. As well as the main menu there’s a set menu you can take advantage of too, with two courses for £10.95 and three courses for £12.95 There’s also a loyalty scheme to join.

Throughout the summer holidays, the pub is offering one free child’s meal with each main adult meal ordered, so it’s an ideal place to bring the family. There are play areas for children, and a games room including a pool table.

Landlady Margaret added: “We hold quiz nights once a month for charity. They’re very popular and we usually raise between £400 and £500 on the night. We also host live music once a month.”

There’s so many reasons to visit the Douglas Bader, so we’ll be back with more family and friends next time!

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