It was so tempting to have a lick of the plate and the juices left in the bottom of the bowl, once I had polished off the Isle of Wight tomato salad at The Northgate last week. The delicious hibiscus and sherry vinaigrette dressed tomatoes, topped with light, whipped cobnut cream and nasturtium pesto reminded me of a Spanish Gazpacho. And sitting outside on the lavender edged terrace, on what must be Bury's only central, outdoor, dining space added to the relaxed and laid back dining experience at this striking Victorian townhouse. I was invited to try the new menu and to tour the newly refurbed restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge ... all are quite stunning. There's a private dining room seating 14 (complete with giant framed cockatoos looking on). A brilliant and boldly decorated cocktail bar and a Chef's table where you can dine and watch the brigade at work. Head Chef Greig Young uses the best produce he can find, with the Taste of East Anglia menu (£45 a head) offering a selection of seasonal small plates, inspired by the local area and it's producers. And no I didn't only eat a salad, I ate bread made with Pakenham Mill flour, then a crisp and light Norfolk Dapple gougere, next came hand cut beef tartare with pickled mustard, broad beans and red endive, followed by a spiced East Anglian bhaji using local potatoes, and the finale of the savoury plates; fillet of plaice in a seaweed crust with a crisp lobster 'scampi' on a light hollandaise, lifted by slices of pickled cucumber. Greig chose to serve a whipped dark Tosier chocolate, creme de cacao ice cream on a saucy kombucha, caramel espresso as a pre-dessert and then for the main dessert - like I really needed two, roast white chocolate with hibiscus (think Caramac, but better) with roasted red fruit, raspberries and milk ice cream. As well as the superb food at The Northgate staff are also delightful, providing a professional, discreet yet friendly service under the expert guidance of Manager Michael Box.
- the homemade bread
- Norfolk Dapple gougeres
- Isle of Wight tomatoes, juicy with the hibiscus vinaigrette and you'd never believe that with the cobnut cream this is a vegan dish
- Hand cut beef tartare, pickled mustard, broad beans
- Bhajis made with local spud, crips and moreish, vegan too
- A huge lobster 'scampi' aloft the plaice fillet with pickled cucumber hollandaise
- Whipped Tosier chocolate with the slightly sour Kombucha espresso caramel and creme de cacao ice cream
- Caramac! Big shards on milk ice cream and roasted red fruits
- Affordable and interesting lunch menu, perfect for al fresco dining
- The cocktails are excellent too
- Smile! Head Chef Greig Young and Manager Michael Box
These little botanical and fruit pockets arrived in the SuffolkFoodie mail box last week and proved to be the perfect excuse to get the gin bottle out and experiment a little. The infusion pockets are fully biodegradable and plastic free (round of applause for that) and have been created by Dominic Limbrey of D.J. Limbrey Distilling to add an additional dimension to a drink. As Dominic suggests, add a different dynamic to your favourite cocktail, pimp up your prosecco or simply add the botanical bags to your tonic. We dangled the cold infusions bags into all manner of mixes and came out with top marks for the Stirring Botanicals in our gin. (elderberries, burdock root, juniper berries, liquorice root, coriander seeds, dandelion leaves, honeybush, elderflower, allspice berry, cardamom, hibiscus, apple, fermented lemon peel, rosehip, orange peel) The Summer Equinox (hibiscus, apple,rosehip,lemon verbena, freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried strawberry) mixed with a plain tonic scored well in our Drinks for Drivers category. Of course Mr S.Foodie enjoyed the lekker flavours of South Africa in his Rooibos Spice infused lemonade. DJ's Cold Infusion Pockets retail at £9.99 for a box of 10 and you'll get a free stirring spoon if you buy a box before 31st December 2018. That's a Christmas present sorted then.
The food is always very good at The Giggling Squid and it's a particular favourite of Mr SuffolkFoodie who loves a massaman curry. An invitation to try the new summer cocktails and menu last week took no hesitation to accept, so we headed off for supper. Our local branch of the Thai restaurant is Bury St Edmunds, which always seems quite lively and buzzy in the evenings, in fact we both sat by the window and reminded ourselves of how charming the town is on an early summer evening. Cocktails are made with Fever Tree mixers, so high quality and great tasting for a start. I tried a 'Thai Coconut' made with gin and coconut flavoured rum, mixed with ginger ale and fresh lime. Sunshine in a glass! Mr SF enjoyed the strawberry, mint and lime 'Strawberry Cooler,' no alcohol in this one and gets a big tick in the drinks for drivers box. Only gripe is the plastic straws. Food lived up to expectation especially my refreshing starter of Lime and Chilli beef, which was thinly sliced rare, roast beef with a zingy and powerful chilli lime dressing. I'm going to try making this one at home. Thai chicken wings seemed a bit of a safe bet for Mr SF, but actually they were far superior than many and very well seasoned with lots of garlic and fresh coriander. Keang Pa was my choice for main course. The prawn tropical jungle curry was refeshing and again, very spicy with a clear and light broth, rather than the usual coconut milk associated with Thai curries. It was very fragrant with a strong punch of aniseed from the Thai basil and rather tasty pickled peppercorns, which took me by surprise. Beef appealed to Mr SF and an enormous bowl of Beef Rib with Coconut Sauce and a generous quantity of oyster mushrooms arrived for his main course, just a little too creamy for me though. A side of noodles and coconut rice were shared. We also shared a dessert of Caramelised Mango Cake, which although light lacked any real mango flavour and in hindsight we should have remembered that the ice creams and sorbets are always better here. The wine I ordered by the glass was new to the list. Le Secret, Saint Pierre Cotes de Provence Rose, which whilst having a lovely peachy and slightly spicy, strawberry fruit flavour maintained a decent amount of acidity going very well with my curry. Pranee Laurillard, the co-founder of the Giggling Squid is shortlisted for Restaurateur of the Year Award at the 2018 Cateys, one of the most prestigious awards in UK hospitality. Suffolk Foodie wishes her the best of luck!
- Lime and Chilli Beef
- Thai chicken wings
- Keang Pa, Beef Rib and Coconut Sauce, Noodles and Coconut Rice
- Caramelised mango cake
What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.
I wheeled out my cocktail trolley last night and had a little go at a molecular mixology. For those of you that are non the wiser I mean chemistry with my cocktails. Cheeky Monkey had sent me a Cosmopolitan R-Evolution kit to try out and the neatly packed box had all the tools and mysterious substances to create "cranberry foam", "citrus caviar" and an "encapsulated cosmo".Instructions were easy to follow and really good illustrations and tips made sure that the finished cocktail looked like it did in the book. It was a little messy and took a little time to create the cocktails (citrus caviar needs to sit for 30 mins to let air bubbles escape) It all worked really well except for the encapsulated cosmo which I really couldn't get to work, but then I had just drunk three Cosmopolitans.
Goodbye cupcakes, biscuits are back. The cupcake is on the decline and we think the next baking trend will be biscuits, not cookies, but good old butter based, crisp biscuits. Bring on the bourbons!
Icecream is also on the up and together with the biscuit we guess the ice-cream sandwich could be the new dessert craze.
Tea will be trending, not just the current resurgence of the vintage cuppa but in cocktails and as iced teas. Think rooibos, jasmine, hibiscus and green tea in your cocktails. This is our Fresh Red with Mint. Rooibis espresso, apple juice, mint and squeeze of lemon.
Vermouth has been neglected despite being an essential component of the current trend of cocktail making. It is a great aperitif in its own right and you will see the real vermouth action in Spain where it is poured straight from the barrel to the glass. Look out for this Italian vermouth bianco made by chemist Mauro Vergano. It is made from a base of Cortese and Moscato grapes, steeped in citrus and herbs. Subtle aromas of orange blossom over a base of herbs. Delicious! Justin and Jurga Sharpe have it on the menu at Pea Porridge restaurant in Bury St Edmundsl
If 2013 was the year of Quinoa then 2014 will be the year of Buckwheat. Usually referred to as a cereal grain, buckwheat is a superfood and actually a type of fruit. A relative of the rhubarb plant, buckwheat has a mild nutty flavour and a slightly softer texture than other grains. Well known uses for buckwheat are the flour (great for pancakes), soba noodles and kasha. Kasha are the whole buckwheat kernel; you can find them roasted or unroasted at most health food stores. The buckwheat plant's flowers are also used to make a dark, rich honey. Originally from China, the main producer today is Japan, where people eat soba noodles on New Year's Eve as a symbol of longevity. Buckwheat is high in magnesium, good for healthy muscles. One cup of soba noodles has about half the calories of a cup of regular pasta. Buckwheat also contains the antioxidant rutin, known to help lower cholesterol and strengthen small blood vessels. Buckwheat is also a gluten-free food, which makes it a perfect substitute for those who have trouble digesting wheat. The fascination with Asian food will also continue into 2014 with rice playing a big part in the return of the carbs.
Will goat be the new kid in town? We think so. With the increase in goat dairy produce it only makes sense to eat the goat meat itself. A staple in the Caribbean with curried goat being a Suffolkfoodie favourite, we always have some goat meat in the deep freeze. Kid goat is actually very versatile and has a great subtle flavour. Slow roast shoulder or leg grilled over a charcoal fire served Greek style with lemon and herbs, yum
Home brewing could prove to be popular next year How about a Great British Brew Off? Not beer or wine, but VINEGAR. Yes, you heard it. Vinegar is easy to make and we will be starting a brew soon here at Suffolkfoodie HQ. Many years ago a friend with a wine shop kept a barrel for the bottle ends and left overs and brewed wonderful vinegar. We fancy this hand thrown vinaigrier. Drinking vinegars, or shrubs as they were known in the 17th Century are becoming trendy and light vinegar chasers ( yuk?) and savoury cocktails are going to trend soon. Chicken Tikka Martini anyone?
Clucking good chicken restaurants have been appearing throughout 2013 and they will continue to develop out of London. Chicken is still an economical meat and we have also been predicting eggs as a trend for the past year. Scotch eggs are back on the bars in many guises. How about devilled and curried eggs next? New cuts of meat will appear. In 2013 we saw a move towards the American cuts such as the flat iron steak (shoulder blade, known as Butler's Steak in good old Blighty.) Expect the Pork Porterhouse and Ribeye Chops. Out with the lamb shank and in with the lamb short ribs and lamb brisket. Pictured is The Tramshed chicken.
Finally, the last prediction is Wine Bars... Wine bars that really know about the wine and are happy to share their knowledge. Wine bars that are cosy and unpretenious and don't make you feel that you need to swirl, sniff and spit to enjoy a good glass of wine. Our favourite in London is Sager and Wilde. Looking for one in East Anglia please?
- ready at the bar
- the different types of rum
- how to make a rum punch
- which is better?
- the judging...
- the winner!
The perfect thing to do on a hot Saturday afternoon - book a rum tasting at Cottons in Camden. We went for a birthday treat and tasted six rums and two cocktails from all over the Caribbean. With their Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell away in Cuba we had the session with Andre, his nephew, who soon had us behind the bar mixing the cocktails. It was one of the best £25 I've ever spent, we left in a VERY good mood!
The Wingspan Bar is open! This new bar at The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds has been created in the vaults; the secret tunnels providing the perfect intimate spaces to enjoy a drink. The Angel (in Bury) isn't shy when it comes to decor, and the decadent finish - complete with aircraft engine bar, tables from airplane wings, bespoke furniture, interesting artefacts and curiosities, is stunning. Chef Jay Scrimshaw pulled out all the stops for the opening party on Thursday. Fellow foodies enjoyed a fabulous selection of canapes, including these Quail Scotch Eggs with Black Pudding crust, Bacon and Maple syrup doughnuts and Oysters from Pinneys - served with buttermilk .
The bar is open daily from 5pm - just allow time to try the new afternoon tea from 2.30pm before hand!
This hot weather has proved to be the perfect moment to crack open the new bottle of Rhubarbe Liqueur. We were offered this at the recent Thos Peatling summer wine tasting, along with a Barbados Rum Sixty Six and Taylor's Velvet Falernum... more of that later! The liqueur is quite simply like drinking sweet, liquid rhubarb. It's made by macerating (in alcohol) both green and pink rhubarb for two months. Delicate, light pink colour and with the smell of freshly cut rhubarb, it's sweet and sherberty and reminiscent of those childhood rhubarb and custard boiled sweets. Delicious over cracked ice, or try one of these cocktails below - all measures used are 1 oz, or use your own friendly measures, but remember, drink responsibly!
Gin and Rhubarbe
1 measure Rhubarbe Liqueur
1/2 measure lime juice
1 1/2 measures gin
1 measure soda water
lime slices, for garnish
Combine rhubarb syrup, lime juice, and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a glass. Top with the soda water. Serve with lime slice.
Rhubarb n’ Rye
1 1/2 measures Rye Whiskey
1/4 measure Rhubarb Liqueur
1/4 measure Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 measure Sweet Vermouth
Stir, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a curl of orange rind.
2 measures Cachaca Cane Spirit
1 measure Rhubarb Liqueur
½ measure Gomme syrup
1 full lime ( quartered, squeezed and muddled into the liquid)
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into glass.
4 measures Rhubarb Liqueur
3 measures Tequila
1 measure Lemon Juice
half measure of Gomme syrup
Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker, add ice followed by all the other ingredients. Shake, filter and pour and serve.
If you know of any good restaurants, cheap eats, places to drink, Sunday lunches or BEST FOOD BLOG, consider entering them in the OFM awards by 24th June. And if you have devised your own cocktail recipe you can also enter that...here at suffolkfoodie we have several of those.