A few weeks ago we ate somewhere new, Poets House in Ely. A hotel with a restaurant and bar just steps away from the Cathedral in a beautiful old townhouse - named so because a local author used to live there.
I've been hearing lots about it from local bloggers - Sian and Heidi dined there and Miss Sue Flay recently sampled their afternoon tea. Needing somewhere to go with visiting relatives, I decided upon Poets House for a relaxed Saturday lunch.
The main dining room is elegant and beautifully decorated in black, white and grey - very swish indeed. It was reasonably quiet for a Saturday lunchtime, which did mean we had the full attention of the staff. The service was excellent, and our waitress explained the various menu options to us and was on hand for any questions we had.
I spotted an Indian wine on the menu, very intriguing, the sommelier didn't know what it was like, as he hadn't tried it, a little disappointing as far as I am aware from a sommelier - but we ordered it anyway! It was a white wine, Sula Vineyards Viognier from a winemaker based in the small town of Nashik, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It was excellent, I'm not a much of a wine buff but it was a really nice wine, and great to see some interesting wines on the menus instead of the usual European options.
Wine ordered we proceeded to look through the menus - there are several choices. There is A la Carte, the Set 'House' menu and also the Garden Menu - a special menu based on local produce and all vegetarian. The set menu is really good value, with decent amount of vegetarian options, £22.50 for 2 courses or £25.50 for three courses.
I started with 'Flamed Mackerel' - which came with lime jelly, horseradish cream, little slivers of fennel and radish and a cucumber and lime sauce. The mackerel was so fresh and the skin crispy - the little condiments were great to break through the richness of the fish. A nice refreshing start!
My main was a mushroom tagliatelle - expertly made fresh pasta with lots of different kinds of mushrooms and parmesan. It also came with a foam, which I hate, I find them totally unnecessary and showy - it didn't add anything, and as it dried it left an odd ring around the dish. No foam please!
Next up was my dessert - simply titled white chocolate parfait with raspberry and caramel popcorn. It was gorgeous - the parfait was rolled in some kind of crispy coating and alongside it was sweet caramelised popcorn, little meringues, freeze dried raspberries and honeycomb. It was a beautiful looking dish and it tasted fantastic - my favourite one of the meal.
My dining companions were similarly happy with their choices - an excellent tomato soup, pan fried seabass, a vegetarian leek and pastry puff and the richest sticky toffee pudding.
Our lunch at Poets House was excellent and full of little surprises - a very well thought out menu. The surroundings are very plush and the staff very attentive. We took our coffee in the bar area which is an indoor/outdoor conservatory style area with one side being floor to ceiling glass. Afternoon teas and bar meals are served here - along with cocktails later on.
I've heard some excellent things about the afternoon tea, and the dinner, so I definitely think it is a place to return to for more treats.
St Marys Street