First in our visit to every pub in Bungay was the Fleece Inn which has been a hospitality venue since the fifteenth century. CAMRA note that it has been known as the Fleece since 1711, having previously been known as the Cross Keys and that seems an acceptable amount of times to change a pub name. Until recently it was part of the Adnams estate, but it now appears to be free trade.
There’s been a sensitive modernisation recently which has given the interior a clean look without impacting negatively on the heritage of the building. Julian has several stories about this venue from years gone by, but they wouldn’t be at all suitable for this blog.
There were three real ales available, Amarillo from Tindall Brewery, Nightingale from Green Jack and Greene King IPA. This seemed to be a reasonable choice from three different breweries and I hadn’t had the Amarillo before. Service was immediate and friendly, with some gentle upselling going on to offer us food. As this seemed a positively good idea given we needed sustenance after our bus journey, we decided to look at the menus.
The nibbles and starters from the seasonal all-day menu.
The mains and also the lunch menu. Given how prices have been increasing recently, these seemed entirely reasonable, especially as they’ve made a substantial effort to buy from local suppliers and they’ve listed those on their web-site. The venue was moderately busy, sufficiently full to suggest to us that the food was likely to not disappoint.
The Amarillo from Tindall Brewery was well kept and refreshing.
The Nightingale beer from Green Jack was equally well kept and complemented the Ploughman’s rather nicely. Homemade bread, blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, celery, grapes, chutney, small pickled onions, salad and ham. For the price point charged, this was most certainly most agreeable. The cheeses had a depth of flavour, the ham was salted and tasty, the bread was warm and soft, this felt like an appropriate meal for such an historic venue. Julian went for the home glazed ham, bubble & squeak and a poached egg and seemed equally as content with his meal.
We didn’t partake, but there was also a dessert menu.
We sat in the snug area which is to the front of the pub and a fair way below street level so we were looking up at people walking by. This structural history has meant disabled access is possible only through the rear of the building, with an old door visible at the rear of the photo in the snug area.
There’s another seating area to the front of the building. The on-line reviews are broadly positive, although their spell of responding to reviews in a quite direct manner has seemingly passed, which is a shame from a reader’s point of view. There were no negatives that I noticed, this was a welcoming and warm venue with helpful staff and a comfortable environment. Pricing was reasonable, the menu was intriguing and extensive with the quality of the food being high. It set quite a high bar for the four remaining pubs in the town that we were then going on to visit.