Review: The Woolpack, Forham St Martin – ‘Good, honest pub food in a good, honest pub’
Our food reviewer Mark Heath and his wife Liz visited The Woolpack pub in Fornham St Martin near Bury St Edmunds for a Saturday lunch. Here’s what they made of it...
The Woolpack, Fornham
What's better on a Saturday afternoon than a pub lunch? Not much, I'd argue - and it was in that spirit we pointed the wagon towards West Suffolk and headed for The Woolpack.
Everything about The Woolpack, from the moment you arrive, is welcoming and friendly in the finest tradition of a good old village pub.
The decor and feel is very much of that ilk, and there's a massive bar and dining room area in which to enjoy it.
The other massive thing about The Woolpack is the range of beer on offer - fittingly for the winner of the Beer Quality gong at last year's Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.
Being very much beer heathens we opted for the predictable Peroni option, but one imagines that if you take your ale seriously, you'd be like a pig in the proverbial here.
Anyway, to business. We settled down in a quiet corner of the dining area and focused on the task in hand, namely The Woolpack's impressive menu, which ranges from pub classics to nibbles/starters, a large selection of sandwiches and some light bites.
We decided to share a starter - the very temptingly-named sizzling garlic prawns - and stick with classics for our mains. When in Rome. More on those shortly.
I'd also had my interest piqued by mention of 'our famous chilli or mixed bean nachos', which merit a box of their own on the menu. You can have those in either small or large helpings and, while I decided against ordering them on this occasion, I am fully intending to return and do so in future.
Our starter arrived quickly, sizzling audibly as advertised - which very much gets a tick in the Heath review box.
The prawns were plentiful, well-cooked and bathed in a buttery sauce full of sliced garlic. There was plenty of bread to help soak up all of that sauce too, which was another tick for me - although given the very rich nature of the prawn bath, I'd doubt my doctor would agree!
A decent start to the meal then, and onto our main events.
I'd opted for the beer battered cod with handcut chips, having somewhat ruefully decided against making my main meal out of nachos. It very much did exactly what it said on the tin - a sizeable piece of fish, well-cooked in a nice light batter and served with tasty mushy peas, tartare sauce and those aforementioned chips.
They were the star of the show for me, cooked with the skin-on, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle - just as a good chip should be.
Across the table, Liz was tackling the Woolies stacked burger - and stacked it certainly was. One could immeadiately tell the patty was home made from the shape and size of it, and it came accompanied by bacon, cheese, a slice of gherkin, lettuce, some more of those excellent chips and a salsa dipping sauce. There would have been coleslaw too, but Liz declined it.
As is always key when it comes to burgers, it ate well too. For me, no matter how highly a burger is stacked or how pleasing on the eye it is, you simply have to be able to pick it up and eat it as nature intended without it falling apart.
The Woolies effort passed that test and delivered taste too - although the patty itself was a little overcooked for our liking. If you've gone to the trouble of hand-crafting your burger, please serve it pink - or at least offer that as an option!
And with that, we came to our monthly debate about dessert. Stuffed as we were already were with bread, batter and burger, we decided to give it a miss this time.
But you know what that means - we have to go back!
As already mentioned, the beer offering at The Woolpack is fantastic.
If you're a fellow lager lout, there was Peroni, Estrella and Budweiser on tap, plus a large range of ales.
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You could happily spend an afternoon in there just trying and testing a few - and perhaps grab a burger to soak some of it up.
Friendly and welcoming, with the food coming out in good time.
Patient too, as they had to explain to me that the famous chilli wasn't in fact served as chill con carne, but smothered over nachos instead.
The Woolpack is a large, but cosy village pub.
It's not going to be winning many cutting edge fashion awards, but that's not really what I'm after from a pub.
A huge car park, plus parking out the front as well.
Unless you're there at the busiest of busy times, parking won't be an issue.
Our mains were both £13, the prawns £7 and a pint of Peroni just £4.60 - very reasonable indeed.
I enjoyed the prawns, while Liz went away happy with her burger.
Next time, serve it pink though!
Good, honest pub food in a good, honest pub.
- Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.