I drove last time darling ... it's simply not good enough to expect the designated driver to settle for a J2O or a can of coke, so I am beginning to rate my restaurants, pubs and cafes according to the drinks offered for drivers. Here are a few of the great drinks that I've been offered when driving this summer. Gigembre - ginger syrup, lime and soda. Ghost Ship (available from Adnams). Bee's Knee's Prosecco style fizz (available from Morrisons). Mint Sparkle- apple juice, elderflower cordial, soda water, mint leaves. Virgin Mary - tomato juice, Worcester sauce, tobasco. Shirley Temple - ginger ale, grenadine, orange juice. Homemade lemon barley water. Homemade ginger beer. Seedlip Garden - botanicals without the gin (available from Waitrose). Damson Spritz made with a homemade damson cordial. Fresh Red - Rooibos espresso, apple juice and a squueze of lime. Strawberry Cooler- strawberry, mint and lime. More ideas here.
After working all day at Holkham I couldn't leave for home without a hunting out a tasty bit of fish for supper. The problem is everywhere gets booked up in the season and I didn't want fish and chips and hadn't got time for a full 3 course meal. Chancing it I stuck my head in the door at the nearby Wells Crab House and the lovely Maitre D' offered my daughter and I the bar seat (more of a shelf, but a perfectly good place to eat a snack). We ordered four starters: Potted Shrimps (pictured) A crab tart. Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes and Pan fried Scallops with a ham fritter. Perfectly hitting the spot and washed down with an alcohol free Adnams Ghost Ship. More about Drinks for Drivers in another blog.
Football's coming home! As long as Harry doesn't eat too much at his favourite restaurant, Sheesh in Chigwell. 'Once you arrive through the electric gates your sheesh experience will truly begin'. Note fellow restaurateurs, their booking policy. I wonder how many no shows they get?
We require a deposit of £10 per head for tables 5 or more
8 is the biggest table and it must be a mixed party of male and female
Friday and Saturday evenings, 6 is the biggest table and it must be a mixed party of male and female
You can have a party of 10 in the Sugar Suite, please go to the Sugar Suite page for details
Every table in this restaurant has a 2 hour sitting (except the Sugar Suite)
All confirmation is done on the morning of your booking via a phone call or a text, if you don’t confirm your booking you will lose your table
If bigger parties turn up with less people, the missing people will lose their deposits
No cakes, drinks, food, balloons or other decorations can be brought into the building from outside
No drizzles or blobs but gutsy, generous dishes; powerful yet simple flavours; a superbly written menu including offbeat ingredients and natural, biodynamic wines. That you won't find anywhere else in East Anglia. Pea Porridge - It's tough to decide what to eat!
- Bertha grilled sardines, salmoriglio, grilled lime
- Blythburgh pork belly 'Petit Sale aux lentilles', soft polenta, crispy pigs ears
- Tarte tatin, vanilla ice cream
It wasn’t hard to persuade me to swap a turkey meal for a delicious #fishmasdinner at Loch Fyne in Cambridge this week. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t try more of the menu. Trot on turkey, I'm eating more fish!
- soft crab pakora with raita ( I could eat all day)
- chilli and garlic prawns
- pollock served with mussels from the specials board
- seafood grill, the best way to try everything!
- treacle tart
- creme brulee
It's lovely to see a children's menu with mini portions from the main menu and not a breadcrumb, nugget or chip in sight. The Giggling Squid asked me to review their new children's menu which includes a selection of mild curries, finger food, noodles and rice dishes designed especially with "little people" in mind. I found a couple of little people (thank you Grace and Logan) and took them out for supper at the Bury St Edmunds branch. For £5.95 children get to choose two dishes each which come with free plain or sticky rice. Logan, who declared fussy eater status on arrival went for the Grilled Pork Skewers and Chicken Fried Rice, having first tucked into a bowl of the spicy prawn crackers. Grace with a more adventurous and self assured palate chose Spring Rolls and a Pad Thai with Prawns, which she declared as yummy. Sadly the roti pancakes were not available for pudding (an extra £2.00) but the icecream was, and arrived with some colourful slices of fresh fruit on the side. Portions are very generous, in fact possibly too large for smaller children, but parents can always help out!
- add prawn crackers for £2
- crayons and a colouring competition
- Grace chose Spring Rolls, Pad Thai Noodles with Prawns and Sticky Rice
- Logan chose Grilled Pork on Skewers, Chicken Fried Rice and Plain Rice
- add pudding for £2, ice cream comes with fresh fruit slices
- the restaurant
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.
The rich yellow moon rising last night proved a good omen for our visit to The Unruly Pig. The Driver’s Drinks menu pleased Inspector X as did her Unruly Damson Spritz. I chose a large glass of the soft and very approachable Italian Barbera. The Unruly Pig has an interesting set menu, which changes often, but the piece de la resistance was on the regular menu that is changed monthly. I was leaning towards the Crispy Duck Egg with Parma Ham, Jerusalem Artichoke and Hazelnut starter when Brendan the congenial owner recommended a new addition: the Venison Tartare and Croquette with Beetroot, Apple and Blackberry. Beautifully seasoned venison tartare, with a delicate balance of tiny apple cubes, beetroot, blackberries, a lacy bread disc and a croquette of slow cooked venison haunch was the unrivalled star of the evening. Inspector X had the Ham Hock on Toast with Gorgonzola which although delicious was quite overshadowed by my venison. There is something to please even the pickiest diner on the Unruly Pig menu. Main courses chosen were Roasted Wood Pigeon Breasts with Pigeon and Black Pudding Pie (I could have eaten this little pie as a meal by itself) and Inspector X had Fillet of Hake with Saffron, Tomato and Haricot Bean Stew from the set menu. Brendan prides himself on his impressive appreciation of wines, including the Unruly Pig’s dessert wines, and we were delighted with his recommendations, a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and a Cadillac (French) – although I still prefer my pronunciation. My Damson and Pistachio Bakewell Tart was delicious but would have been even better served warm. The ever sweet and generous Inspector X shared her Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Roasted Pears and Coffee Gel (set menu) which was the perfect end to a great evening’s dining. We were guests of The Unruly Pig but amazed by the value of the set menu (two courses £15, three courses £18) and the regular menu won't break the bank either. Hearing something of the drama of the fire in the restaurant we celebrated Brendan’s dedication in getting the restaurant up and running again so quickly. At first glance the décor is almost unassuming but as the evening goes on it clear everything has been thoughtfully put together – right down to the background music and glass jar filled with dog biscuits on the bar counter. Heartfelt thanks to Brendan and his team. If I lived closer to the Unruly Pig I would soon qualify for a diamond loyalty card.
- Fillet of Hake with Saffron, Tomato & Haricot Bean Stew, Wilted Gem Lettuce
- Roasted Wood Pigeon with Pigeon and Black Pudding Pie, Kale and Mushrooms
- Dog biscuits on the bar ... Pooches welcome
- Unruly Spritz ( homemade Damson cordial)
- Venison Tartare and Croquette with Beetroot, Apple and Blackberry
- Dinner by candlelight
- Set menu
- Damson and Pistachio Bakewell Tart
- Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Roasted Pear and Coffee Gel
Do you fancy yourself as the Chief Taster for Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill? You get paid in fish! Details here...
This week we had a sneak preview inside Bury's newest restaurant The Giggling Squid. Prosecco was flowing at the opening party and canapes included this delicious salt and pepper squid. We loved the decor. Lots of orchids on a back drop of hand picked drift wood with atmospheric lighting. Upcycled mirrors and a huge bookcase of over 2000 books from the local Oxfam for those that fancy a browse. We are going back to sample the menu which includes seafood, street food and simple rustic Thai food all made in house. We are not sure if all the food is going to be elaborately garnished but loved watching the fruit and veggie carving at the opening party.