Thursday, 15 August 2019 18:43

    Sshhh ... licking the plate at The Northgate

    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.

    Published in Reviews
    Friday, 01 August 2014 09:39

    Lunch in Saffron Walden

    In what appears to be one of the most expensive towns in the region we are looking for lunch. The Cafe CouCou has a window full of fab cakes and we can see some home-made quiches so we take a seat. After a bit of confused waitressing about whether the falafel had been made there or not, and if there was any leek and bacon quiche left or not, and if the pear and frangipani tart was still on the menu or not, we order the falafel which came with flat bread, tzaziki and lots and lots of leaves, and a goats cheese and beetroot flan with olives and lots and lots of leaves. Both were fresh, home-made and really nice. A more interesting choice of accompanying salads would have taken it to the £10 per dish level it was, and although slates to serve it on are clearly still fashionable in Essex, give me a plate that the food doesn't fall off and a well informed waitress every time. 

    saffron walden food shop

    Published in Cafe and tea rooms
    Wednesday, 16 July 2014 00:00

    Royston - and the search for a nice lunch

    Royston - for lunch - I wasn't optimistic. A trawl through the streets only produced a Turkish restaurant (a kebab shop with chairs) and a couple of cafes with baked potatoes and not much else. But then I asked a man where I could find home-made food and he said the Green Man was ok. So I went there. It was more than ok, it was very nice. I had a two small dishes - a black pudding scotch egg and a haddock and mackerel fish cake, with chunky tartare sauce, salad and half a shandy. It was freshly cooked and just over a tenner altogether. But it wasn't very busy... go there Royston. The chef was at a festival - so rest assured chef, that the rest of the team can cope while you're away!

    green man pub scotch egg

    Published in Eating Out
    Friday, 11 July 2014 13:40

    Burgers Are Better Than Bangers

    We have just come back from lunch at The Dark Horse in Stowlangtoft, after hearing it had re-opened for business earlier this year. We went for the Dark Horse Breakfast at £6.95 and the Homemade Beef Burger topped with bacon and cheese at £9.95. Our verdict...  the burger was better than the breakfast, because the burger was homemade. We finished with a Chocolate Brownie which was good - but shame about the discoloured mint garnish.

    Published in Restaurant foodie
    Wednesday, 06 November 2013 19:41

    How not to serve soup

    This is the bowl of soup that I bought for my lunch at Morrisons cafe in Beccles yesterday. Presentation is obviously not high on the list!

    Published in Cafe and tea rooms

    Lunch today was at Josef's Vegetarian Cafe in Bury St Edmunds.  This cafe reminds me of the late 70's and 80's.  Days of Bagwhan and the Rajneeshees when they were resident at their commune in Herringswell.  Bright decor and the smell of patchouli with a slight hessian look going through to the Lizard Room.  The food is very good.  I ate the Felafel with spicy salsa, cucumber and yoghurt raita in a warm hummus pitta.  The salads which were not mentioned on the menu were particularly good.  But oh, the service.  So laid back man. 

    Tuesday, 26 June 2012 11:57

    Crab Linguine

    A quick and easy crab recipe which serves eight as a starter, or four as a large main course.

    Ingredients

    2 dressed crabs ( I use brown and white meat, some prefer just the white meat)

    600g linguine
    10 tbsp very good olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    ½ tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli
    75ml dry white wine
    3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 tbsp chopped basil
    Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the linguine for 9-11 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until al dente.

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

    Fry lightly without colouring for about one minute.

    Stir in the crabmeat and heat through for another minute.

    Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble and reduce a little.

    Drain the linguine and add to the crab mixture.

    Stir in the parsley and basil and toss everything together to coat evenly.

    Finish with the lemon juice and grated zest.

    Season to taste and serve immediately

    Published in Recipes
    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 17:02

    School Dinners (but in the staff room)

    I have just visited a school where there was a Spanish cook in the staff room, making home-made meatballs and salad for the teachers as they came in for breaks. It's a long time since I have been in a staff room but this one has changed my mind...from nescafe and cheap biscuits to tapas - 7am to 5pm every day.
    Published in Gossip
    Wednesday, 29 February 2012 16:25

    Pod

    This is how fresh healthy local food is done at Pod in London. We had the lamb meatballs and they were really nice but the juice was from Bradfield Combust - hooray for Pod!
    Published in Abroad
    Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:30

    Dabs

    Been to the new Morrisons in Stowmarket yet? Well this was only 90p for both fish. So nice to see something other than salmon.
    Published in Supermarkets
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