Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Hungry Fiancé

Last week the Hungry Boyfriend became the Hungry Fiancé (although for the purposes of the blog the title will remain the same)! I proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes! We were at the amazing Morston Hall, so I thought I'd share the food snaps. It was as faultless as ever...

Canapés of scallop and mushroom duxelle and Binham blue pannacotta with pear
Home-made gluten free bread
Chef's appetiser of smoked haddock with a parmesan foam and a parsley, chive and shallot jelly
Sheringham sea bass with trompette de la mort and hazlenut dressing
Gressingham duck breast with bashed Norfolk peer potatoes, onion fondue and a white port jus
Greengage Fool
Pineapple with lemongrass panna cotta
Petit Fours

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Merchants of Spice, Norwich

We stumbled upon Merchants of Spice when we were looking to organise a work night out. It wasn't somewhere I had ever heard anyone talk about which isn't usually a positive sign, but the menu looked good. The website boasted of 'Fine Indian Dining' which I often find with Indian restaurants isn't more than a hot towel before you leave, so I wasn't too sure what to expect.

I booked for a group of 6 on a Saturday night and the restaurant was full when we were seated to eat at 8.30pm. The first thing I noticed about Merchants of Spice was that the décor was much nicer than the usual run of the mill Indian in Norwich; wooden floors and high backed cream dining chairs in an elegantly decorated room. I had previously tweeted to check that they could cater for my gluten free requirements and I was assured there were plenty of options. The waiters were extremely attentive and checked my options to ensure they were suitable. The dishes you would find at most Indian restaurants up and down the country were extremely reasonable ranging from between £6.95 and £8.95. Even their signature dishes such as Rabbit Bhuna and Crab Curry were only £12.95. My girlfriend and I shared a Goan Green Chicken Curry and a Lamb Korai. Both were perfectly cooked with soft tender meat, the green curry fresh with coriander and chilli and the Korai packed with ginger, garlic and warming spices. We had sides of Pilau Rice and Tarka Dall which were equally well cooked, seasoned and flavoured. 

Goan Green Chicken Curry
Lamb Korai
Pilau Rice
Fine dining might be a stretch (although we did get that complimentary hot towel!), but a tasty, reasonably priced Indian meal in a well decorated restaurant certainly fits the bill. There wasn't a grumble between the 6 of us. I had previously reviewed Passage to India in Norwich on my blog, but I think Merchants of Spice pips it to the post. The food is of a similar standard but Merchants of Spice creates a better atmosphere and I would be much more likely to return.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Pigs at Edgefield, Norfolk

We had been to the food festival at Holkham Hall when we decided to head to the Pigs at Edgefield on the way home for lunch. This was our second visit and I remembered the first being filled with porky delights so we were looking forward to it. We had friends visiting so there's always that added pressure when suggesting somewhere to eat! The Pigs is a relaxed pub with chunky wooden furniture and a laid back atmosphere. We had a look through the menu and settled on the 'Iffits', The Pigs' version of Norfolk tapas. They're served on long boards and at £11.95 for 4, good value. I had forgotten that they provide a gluten free menu so we'd made a guess at what I could eat and then checked at the bar. The waitress checked this against the gluten free menu and we were good to go. Except for one slight problem, the menu refers to low gluten rather than gluten free, so unfortunately that meant I couldn't have anything that was deep fried due to the risk of cross contamination. It's a real shame as some of these dishes looked great, crispy fried pigs ears and the hand cut chips were unfortunately off limits. I'm not sure if they're always off limits and I'm planning on writing to them to confirm. I understand the pressures of a commercial kitchen and they obviously have to cater to the majority but it would be great if they could introduce a gluten free fryer.

Those minor niggles withstanding the food is great. We tucked into tender ribs which were coated in marmalade which made a tasty change to BBQ sauce. Locally smoked prawns were another favourite, as was the smoked salmon and beetroot. The only one which received mixed reviews from my gluten eating friends was the Binham Blue with toasted muffin; lemony flavours with the blue cheese clashing rather than complimenting. All in all though, its good tasty local food which showcases some great Norfolk produce.