A lovely way to spend your Sunday lunch

The Ferguson Fawsitt Arms, Walkington
The Ferguson Fawsitt Arms, Walkington

The Secret Diner takes in a very lovely English tradition – Sunday lunch – during a visit to Walkington.

We travelled to Fergies, in the beautiful picture postcard village of Walkington, on a lovely sunny autumn day.

It has been part of the village’s history for the last 150 years and was created when two local families came together in marriage – John Ferguson and Eliza Fawsitt. It was originally called ‘The Bay Horse’ and it was also home to the village’s blacksmiths.

Fergies is a large white building on the main street, which has been extended to the back. Less mobile members of the family would be better off deposited at the entrance to the pub, as the car park is on two levels and maybe too steep a walk for some.

Having gathered safely inside, we glanced around for a table. The pub was quite busy, with lots of couples and families sitting, eating and chatting. A waitress appeared and we asked her to find us a table for five, which she did straight away.

We sat down after buying our first round of drinks (two pints of Carling, a pint of Coke, a Koppaberg cider and a Britvic 55, £14.55). After a quick chat we decided to get some food. Sundays at the Ferguson Fawsitt means a carvery, so we duly lined up in front of the brightly lit servery.

The food on offer looked delicious. There were five roasts available – beef, lamb, pork, turkey and gammon – as well as pots of jerk chicken, liver and onions, bean chilli, fish pie and two huge baked pies – steak and kidney and steak and ale. To accompany this were enormous Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower cheese and, of course, lovely thick gravy.

The staff serve you from behind the counter, then pass the plate over at the point of sale. Some people prefer to get their own vegetables, but the staff are so generous with the helpings that we were all perfectly satisfied. We grabbed some cutlery and accompanying sauces from the nearby counter and retreated to our table to enjoy our food. And enjoy it we did!

Between us we tried the jerk chicken, which was declared delicious; the steak and ale pie, which was lovely with chunks of steak in gravy beneath a perfect thick crust; the beef, which was declared a little fatty as it was coming to the end of the joint but nevertheless very tasty; the turkey, which was lovely, and gammon – a little chewy. All of the accompaniments were spot on. One of our party prefers her roast potatoes to be a little more crispy but that is just personal taste.

The Sunday lunch prices are as follows – roasts, pies and fish main courses are £8.95; roast lamb is £9.50, other dishes are £8.50 and vegetarian dishes are £7.95. Small plates are £5.95.

Another round of drinks followed and we chatted and digested our lovely meal. When we could move, our thoughts turned to desert.

There was lemon meringue pie, crème brulee, fruit salad, chocolate brownie, coffee and walnut cake, chocolate mousse and lemon possett, all served with cream or ice cream for £3.95. Coffee and tea are also served at £1.85.

We opted for the lemon meringue and crème brûlée – and they were delicious. After our table was cleared, we then sat chatting for around an hour. The atmosphere was relaxed, a waitress popping by every now and then, and we felt looked after and not rushed at all. A visit to the facilities revealed them to be clean.

A word of warning – if beef is your thing, I would advise going sooner rather than later as this popular meat quickly runs out. All in all, a lovely way to spend a Sunday lunch time.

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