Category Archives: Restaurants

Wiveton Hall Café – North Norfolk

Along the beautiful North Norfolk coast is an unassuming fruit farm alongside a grand hall, farm shop and café, the Wiveton Hall Cafe. Delia Smith recently said it’s the best eaterie in the world, but more importantly my friend Ben Pert is one of the head chefs and my dad has just joined his kitchen team as a sous chef! I took advantage of my Easter weekend with family back in Norfolk and had a wonderful lunch at this uncomplicated, beautiful cafe on Easter Sunday.

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Introducing my Food Find of the Week

I have decided to introduce a new element to this blog, a weekly post dedicated to my ‘Food Find of the Week’. I regularly meet wonderful producers, retailers and food lovers, and find new products, books, cool shops and places to eat and drink –  it seems a shame not to share my favourites here on my blog, and by going weekly I have no excuses but to post!

I speak to a mix of well established, popular producers that you may already know and people who may just be in the development stages of their business – I love asking questions about why they came to do what they do, why their products are so great and whether there is anything new in the pipeline.

Look out for my ‘Food Find of the Week’ on Wednesday!

Oh, and just in case you thought any differently, please be assured that I will only write about things I genuinely love/ like/ am excited about on this blog.

 

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Celebrating at Michael Caine’s Abode, Chester

In order to celebrate my sister’s graduation, in Chester, we booked a table at Michael Caine’s restaurant Abode. I’ve always liked the look of Michael’s cooking and was confident that it would be a great place to visit. We had set our hearts on the tasting menu and didn’t even get swayed by the special MasterChef menu. It was a special occasion, so we started with champagne cocktails in the bar and spent a bit more on wine to match the tasting menu.

We began by sitting in the bar with a celebratory cocktail, with a huge picture of the beautiful Debbie Harry looking over us. Cheers and congratulations to my sister Abbie who graduated with a degree in Government Studies!

The glasses were set at the table, ready for our wines to match every course.

The bread was amazing – brought to the table warm and crusty with salty, creamy butter.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Truffle Soup – this was brought to the table in a small cup, a few squares of artichoke and a little truffle   arranged inside.

Along came our waiter with a steaming jug of liquid – poured carefully into our little cups. It was so deliciously creamy, rich and truffley good that we all looked around at each other grinning. If the soup was this good, how amazing would the other courses be?!

‘Wow’ would sum up our reaction to the Citrus Cured Salmon that came next. It was almost heavenly as the salmon melted in our mouths.

Then came the gorgeous braised halibut served with squash and cumin puree, pickled baby onions and a yoghurt and pumpkin seed cracker. This was probably my favourite dish, with so many different tastes and textures.

The main course was a duo of Lake District farmers pork – a seared loin and a braised shoulder. Both were cooked perfectly and the celeriac puree, red cabbage and apple complimented it perfectly.

The cheese course which was a sliver of Garstang Blue with pear and perry chutney and toasted hazelnut bread on the side. Just the right amount of an amazing cheese.

The next course lightened things up a little – a fromage frais mousse with blueberry jelly and lemon granite. A sprinkle of popping candy really made the dish special, we all loved it!

Hot chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream was next, again an amazing dish… Problem was that at this point I had been keeping up with the boys and had drunk all the wine that had come with each course. Things had started to get a little fuzzy!

My sister’s boyfriend has a rather severe nut allergy and I cannot praise the way Abode’s staff dealt with this any more highly. At every point where there was either nut or chocolate in a dish, they prepared and brought out separately, his very own alternative. In his 37 years of living with the inconvenience, he has never felt more at ease, or more cared for in a restaurant. My memory from here rather hazy, I have no idea what this dessert was, but it looked very pretty!

We then had coffees and teas accompanied by petits fours – home-made fudge, marshmallows and raisin cakes. My sister tried the cake first and her reaction made me so excited to try it that in my haste I dropped it in my tea (absolutely nothing to do with my slight drunkenness). It was still delicious!

John had his very own special nut free cake brought out in its own little basket. He loved it!

We concluded it was one of the best meals we had all had… and then I fell asleep in the taxi and got carried to bed!



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Pigging out at The Pigs

Yesterday, my Dad treated my boyfriend and I to lunch at The Pigs in Edgefield, Norfolk. We all loved it and concluded that it could possibly be the perfect pub.  I love the cook book library out the back, being able to see into the kitchen (and when looking into the kitchen I could see them making their own bread) and mostly because you can bring in your home-grown/ caught/ shot produce and exchange it for beer and food credits! We had the full works – starting with ‘iffits’ (Norfolk tapas), hearty mains, warming desserts all washed down with local beer and ice-cold white wine.

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Afternoon Tea at The Langham

Afternoon tea is a wonderful thing, if you haven’t been for a proper afternoon tea then I would highly recommend it. Prices range from £15 – £45 depending on where you go, but a great website to find one to suit your budget is www.afternoontea.co.uk. I have been to a few different places, including the Ritz, but the very best I found was at The Langham. Although expensive, it was a delightful experience, and the food was amazing.

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Time for (Heston’s) Dinner

Back in April I treated, and surprised, my boyfriend to Heston Blumenthal’s then brand new restaurant Dinner. It was amazing, and I can’t believe its taken this long for me to write about it!

Dinner is Heston’s London restaurant, hosted in the rather grand Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. It is “inspired by historic British gastronomy”, headed up by Ashley Palmer Watts and was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had (and probably the most expensive!).

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The Italian Butcher – Cooking at La Cucina Caldesi

Back in August I visited La Cucina Caldesi to try Giancarlo Caldesi’s Italian Butcher Cookery Course. I was promised meat, meat and more meat and it sounded great! I hadn’t ever been to a cookery lesson or course before, so I was really excited and unsure what to expect from the day.

I arrived early at their Marylebone cookery school, and was greeted with coffee and biscotti by the very friendly, and very Italian, cookery assistants. Giancarlo then appeared, unfortunately with a limp after falling from a ladder, with a cheeky smile on his face despite his obvious discomfort. He is one of the most enthusiastic, charming and funny men I have ever met and it was a pleasure to watch him teach and share his passion for food.

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