The hole in the wall…cooking doesn’t get better than this!


I grew up in a very sleepy village halfway between Cambridge and Newmarket where the highlight of the year was observing the annual stampede of visitors to Anglesey Abbey during it’s annual snowdrop season! So I was delighted when I heard via Twitter (yes I am an addict) that Alex Rushmer of Masterchef 2010 fame had chosen another, equally sleepy village just 5 minutes away, to open his first restaurant! He has breathed new life into a little old village inn right next door to my friend’s parent’s house called The Hole in the Wall, whilst still retaining many of its traditional features…

As soon as I found out about the location of the restaurant I called my parents who were only too happy to accompany me. They’re great fans of Alex, and had watched avidly as he battled it through to the Masterchef final. Coincidentally, I also found out that the last time they visited The Hole in the Wall was 27 years ago on the very first day that they moved to the area!

We were greeted warmly and looked after by our lovely waiter, who we later found out had only started work there that day!

The menu was short but so packed full of amazing sounding dishes that I even had trouble deciding between the 5 starters and 5 mains…

After much prevarication both me and my Dad chose the pork belly with caramelised shallot and cider sauce…

and my Mum had the ham-hock terrine with piccalilli and pork scratchings…

Both were delicious and left our mouths watering for the next course.

We finally decided to have the halibut fillet with smoked haddock and mussel chowder with spinach…

The chowder was packed full of flavour and just begged to be mopped up with some fresh bread, which was happily provided as soon as requested.

The summer lamb served with flageolet bean and sundried tomato cassoulet and artichokes was tender, pink in the middle and cooked to perfection…

And my chicken and chanterelle risotto with thyme, Suffolk alpine cheese and mushrooms was one of the lightest, tastiest risotto’s I’ve ever had…risotto just doesn’t get better than this! (I apologise…but I had to get my Masterchef quip in somewhere). The chanterelles had a great bite to them and the chicken melted in the mouth…the perfect combination…

My parents had heard on the village grapevine that the ‘portions were small and it was a bit expensive’ but I’d have to disagree on both counts. Firstly, we were pleasantly stuffed and secondly we definitely felt that we’d received value for money. The starters were between £6 and £8, mains £13-£17 and the desserts were £6-£8, which was probably a little on the pricy side. However we were very well looked after and had a lovely evening…it wasn’t just your standard village pub meal!

Anyway…one thing I’ve been brought up to believe is that…there’s ALWAYS room for dessert! So, after quite a lot of menu perusal and some waiter interrogation to make sure we were making the right choices (my family take our desserts very seriously), we opted for the chocolate and blackcurrant delice, which was a thick layer of chocolate torte and a layer of light, creamy blackcurrant mousse, topped with a tangy blackcurrant jelly…

And the greengage clafoutis for two. Our lovely waiter had warned us that the clafoutis, although described as ‘for two’ could easily be wolfed down by one. We didn’t want to appear greedy so we shared one but I wholeheartedly agree with him and could have definitely polished one off myself because it was so delicious! It was basically a very light, sweet Yorkshire pudding with this seasons juiciest greengages nestled into it, served to the table in it’s pan and topped with creamy vanilla ice cream mmm…

At this point we were fit to burst but always a sucker for some sweeties we were chuffed to be presented with a plate of petit fours…

Tangy fruit jelly squares…a posh version of Terry’s York Fruits, soft nougat that was chock full of nuts and some liquid caramel filled truffles. We did consider hiding our plate and pretending we’d been forgotten so that we could snaffle another helping but we chickened out and instead indulged in some petit four adulation with one of the waitresses. 

By the time we left it was dark outside and we were pleasantly full of delicious food. We even got a glimpse of the man himself working away in the kitchen. Alex should be very proud…The Hole in the Wall is a great little place with a compact, seasonal menu made up of the freshest, tastiest dishes, cooked to perfection (obviously! It’s no mean feat getting through to the final of Masterchef so I wouldn’t expect any less! J). We feel very lucky to have such a treat just down the road and can’t wait to return for our next instalment!

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