Sutton Gault, ELY, CB6 2BD
The Fens were lawless and disease-ridden until, in 1630, the Earl of Bedford commissioned Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to drain them. By digging the Old and New Bedford Rivers, the Dutchman ended the constant danger of flooding and began the process that created today's rich agricultural landscape. Using thick gault clay, he built raised river banks and beside the New Bedford (or 'The Hundred Foot Drain') constructed the Anchor for his workforce; it has been a pub ever since. Today, low beams, dark wood panelling, scrubbed pine tables, gently undulating tiled floors, antique prints and log fires create the intimate character of this family-run free house. Twelve wines served by the glass and a selection of East Anglian real ales will be found in the bar. The kitchen is proud to source local ingredients for their modern British cuisine which offers favourites like grilled dates wrapped in bacon with creamy mustard sauce - now served here for 15 years; and pan-fried scallops with butternut squash purée, almonds and curry oil. The daily-changing menus showcase seasonal produce from nearby such as Denham Estate venison, East Anglia tilapia, Sutton strawberries, locally-grown asparagus and locally-made sausages. Sunday roasts - indeed, any meal - may be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the river. The cathedral cities of Ely and Cambridge are both within easy reach.