5pm Friday. The glorious beginning of the weekend! Made even more glorious by Mr YumDimSum smiling cheekily at me and saying, “I’ve got an idea for dinner.”
The last time we ventured to this neck of the woods it was a perilous ice rink. This time, bathed in sunshine it was a stunning little drive to the rather secretive, out-the-way village of Hethe. Home to none other than The Muddy Duck!
Ever the foodie opportunists, The Muddy Duck have diversified from their top-notch gastro pub grub and offered punters a lighter Summer option in their garden. Fresh, simple pizza cooked outside in their wood-fired oven.
Arriving at 5:30pm the garden was already packed and we luckily grabbed the last table! The Muddy Duck might just have the most beautiful beer garden around. Bordered by a stone wall with fruit trees creeping up it and unusual, organic furniture it resembles a very English country garden feel.
The menu is kept simple with 3 pizzas and nice, rounded prices for minimal faffing about with change. This is a cash only, pay at the oven affair. We were told orders would be taken from 6pm, being unbearably impatient when hungry I bounded up to the busy team exactly on the hour and caught them off guard, mid-rolling of home made pizza bases.
Having triumphantly got our order in first, I strolled back to our table with a numbered log to wait (impatiently).
Not too long later we heard our number being called out and over came our choices of the ‘Muddy Duck Margarita’ and ‘The Antipasti’.
I’m such a big fan of pizza bases with personality. Hand kneaded and spun with each one coming out a little different: no home made pizza should be round! In true wood-fire oven style, the pizzas had one side a little more crispy than the other. I like that: it adds a variety of texture. The bases were a little different to a classic Italian base. Rather than having that crispy, crunchy quality they were a little softer, almost more of a biscuity crust. Lovely and light but still a good, firm, doughy bite.
Toppings were simplistic, hearty and oh so fresh. The tomatoes on the margarita were perfectly juicy and the home made green pesto added a delicious punch of flavour.
This was an inexpensive and informal way to enjoy the Summer sunshine and a great beginning to the weekend. The smell of the wood-fire oven is absolutely incredible: a nostalgic, British mixture of bonfire and baking. Highly recommended dining experience; keep informed about their Summer activities on the Muddy Duck facebook page.