There are many beautiful pubs around Wiltshire, however, sometimes they boast an elaborate menu that in reality does not live up to expectation. La Flambé in the rustic village of Sutton Benger in Chippenham. I must admit that when my gran suggested going to this pub for a sunday roast, I was a little skeptical – the restaurant describes their cuisine as have a focus on French food with Spanish and Italian influences; not exactly the kind of place that jumps to mind for a traditional English lunch. Nevertheless, with the exception of my beloved grandmother’s own home roast, which of course no restaurant could ever top, La Flambé dished up the best pub roast I have eaten (and I have gobbled up a fair few!)
The restaurant itself had maintained a warm and inviting pub-feel, while creating an elegant dining atmosphere with silver hot-plate stands and intricately folded crisp white napkins. The staff were attentive and extremely polite; our coats were hung upon arrival and our order taken promptly.
Many pubs offer a choice between 2 or 3 traditional roasts with a slightly less inspired vegetarian option. Here, every meat had a place on the menu, each served with its classic accompaniment: pork with apple; lamb with mint; beef with horseradish and a giant Yorkshire pud. The two vegetarian options were equally as tempting: creamy hake and a fresh paella. A good selection of starters were also on offer, from mussels in white wine sauce to pâté, baked goats’ cheese to bruschetta (the french and italian influences are evident here). I chose to forgo a starter however, as for me, a roast is a hearty meal that needs no warm up. Instead I grazed on the crispy thin toasts and butter.
My brothers went for the pull-apart pork with perfect crispy crackling and sweet apple sauce. My mum and I shared the lamb (which was a rack for two). It was roasted impeccably to order; medium rare. Blushing pink and juicy with a glossy and richly flavoured red wine gravy.
All the roasts came with both roasted and dauphinoise potatoes, dished up at the table to each individuals requirements – my mum is a potato enthusiast and took full advantage of being able to have as many potatoes as she could fit on her plate! The roasted potatoes with fluffy inside with a crisp and golden jacket. The dauphinoise were creamy, well-seasoned and with a crisp top layer (my favourite part!) A generous platter of veg, including turnip, broccoli, carrots, leeks and caramelised red cabbage was left at the table. The red cabbage was gorgeously soft and glazed in a sweet sauce.
For dessert I chose the Banoffee pie – not such a traditional English choice, but after glancing at it on the table of a neighbouring diner, I couldn’t resist. The base was light and crumbly, topped with soft caramel, ripe banana and a generous cloud of cream, then topped off with caramelised nuts and a chocolate wafer cigar. The dish was well-balanced. Each layer offered a different texture,he intense banana flavour was nicely balanced with the drizzle of punchy raspberry coulis and the light and not-to-sweet cream offered freshness against the viscous caramel.
Wether it be for a catch-up amongst friends, a family gathering or a romantic meal for two, I highly recommend La Flambé’s Sunday lunch. Their christmas menu is also now on offer, including roast turkey breast with cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets, whole roast pheasant in a rich game gravy and pan-fried veal steak with caramelised shallot.
Sunday lunch rack of lamb for two £24.50; Sunday lunch slow roasted belly of pork £11.9; choice of any one dessert £6.25 (+ 20% service charge)
La Flambé Restaurant, 5 Seagry Road, Sutton Benger, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN154RY
(Monday: closed, Tuesday 19:00-22:00, Wednesday-Saturday: 12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:00, Sunday: 12:00-15:00)
T: 01249 720 247