NESTLED in a small village eight miles outside Stratford is little piece of rustic luxury.
The Fuzzy Duck at Armscote has a reputation locally as being a place to go for a special meal out – after it was saved from closure by Tania Slater, who is also co-owner of Baylis & Harding, a few years ago the village pub became a gastro pub people spoke very highly of. And I wish I had visited sooner.
The decor is rustic and as my partner and I visited in December, there was a fire burning in the middle of the room which added to the cosy atmosphere. Our table was next to the fire which was lovely but we both felt a little too warm towards the end of the meal.
The menu full of proper pub food – like steak, fish and chips or a vegetarian pie – to please everyone.
We both ordered starters from the specials menu – I went for honey roasted parsnip soup dressed with truffle oil and chive which was the perfect winter warmer. My other half went for pan fried king prawns with chorizo, red pepper and a tomato sauce on sourdough toast.
I would recommend both, but the prawns were the real winner of the two – they weren’t spicy or over powered with the chorizo flavour.
For main I went back to the regular menu, choosing sea bream fillet with red wine and parmesan risotto, wilted leeks and chives. The risotto was rich and tangy and paired with the fish, which is much more mellow, and everything is beautifully balanced. Normally risotto feels like a never ending dish but there certainly wasn’t too much on my plate and I was comfortably full.
My partner stuck with the special menu again choosing poached and roasted chicken breast with cabbage and bacon mash, roasted red onion and red wine jus.
I’ll have to take his word for how nice the dish was as I didn’t get a look in, but he did say putting bacon and cabbage in mashed potato is something more people should do.
Although we were both feeling very well fed after two courses, we could not say no to dessert – with choices like chocolate sticky toffee pudding and stem ginger creme bruleé there was only one answer when asked if there was room for dessert – yes!
Sticking with the special menu one final time, my partner chose the baked New York-style cheesecake with toffee sauce and honeycomb – a sweet, sticky and oh-so moreish pudding which did not disappoint.
And I had spotted my favourite pudding on the menu – warm malted treacle tart with vanilla ice cream. But this is not the tradition treacle tart, it has a very thin pastry base topped with the most generous wedge of filling. Although I was surprised by the lack of pastry, this treacle tart really hit the spot. The filling is the best bit after all.
Visit www.fuzzyduckarmscote.com to see the Winter menu currently on offer.