FOOD REVIEW: Ship & Anchor, off Station Road, Ford

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WHAT could be better on a cold winter’s eve than a traditional roast dinner, beside a crackling fire, to warm the cockles of your heart?

How about all of that, with a sprinkling of top-notch service and picturesque countryside, too? This is exactly what Ford’s Ship & Anchor provides, on a daily basis.

The quaint restaurant, just off Station Road at the Ford Marina, is just a stone’s throw away from the rushing waters of the River Arun and the bustling Ford Market.

As you walk in, you are welcomed, not only by the warm glow of the open fire, but by the Ship and Anchor’s attentive and friendly staff.

There is plenty to choose off the new menu. For those feeling slightly peckish, there is a choice between two courses, for £7.95, or three courses, for £9.95 – available Tuesday to Saturday.

I could not resist trying the full, three-course menu, after being tempted by the selection of starters and puddings.

The red lentil and carrot soup of the day was an absolute triumph of taste and cooking finesse. Arriving with a side of freshly baked bread, the starter truly hit the spot for me. Sweet, thick and full of lip-smacking goodness.

Suffice to say, there was not an ounce of soup left on my plate.

As a main course I picked the traditional sliced steak and sausage pie with chips and vegetables.

The pie was generously packed with plenty of succulent and tender meat and delightfully thick gravy.

The chunky chips were all home-made. They were crisp on the outside and gorgeously fluffy on the inside and went perfectly with the pie.

The vegetables – cooked carrots, runner beans, broccoli and sweet corn – were fresh and crisp, provided a satisfying crunch with each mouthful.

But the absolute stand-out dish, which I could have eaten for the entire evening, had to be the raspberry nest pudding.

A delicious combination of delicate meringue, sweet cream and sharp raspberries, served with a tangy raspberry coulis and chocolate shavings, it was pudding perfection.

After the three courses, I was able to enjoy a selection of the restaurant’s award-winning ales.

The Ship and Anchor is hosting a romantic candlelit Valentine’s Dinner, on February 11 and 14, from £19.95 per person.

There will also be a Mother’s Day lunch, next month, with all pre-booked mums getting a free champagne cocktail.

Prices vary from £12.95 for two courses, to £14.95.

Anyone who would like more information about the special meals, or Sunday lunches, call the Ship & Anchor on 01243 551747.