Friday, 1 November 2013

Morston Hall, Norfolk

Every year we visit an excellent restaurant, with a Michelin star (or two) to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Last Sunday was our fourth year married and we carried on this excellent tradition with a trip to Morston Hall. Located on possibly the most Northerly Norfolk part of Norfolk we drove up on a blustery day looking forward to a sumptuous Sunday lunch in beautiful surroundings.

This might be the most positive restaurant review I've ever given - everything was brilliant - we started with a Kir and canap├ęs in the cosy lounge - the two canapes were a fresh herb pate with a confit tomato and girolle cream with a crispy piece of ham hock. As Mr is vegetarian they also whipped up an additional vegetarian one, marinated chestnuts with pickled elderberries. The staff are so friendly, and we even had a visit from Chef Rich Bainbridge before lunch - to wish us a happy anniversary - such a lovely touch and excellent start.

The dining room is split into several rooms meaning you don't feel lost in a large restaurant. First we started with bread - poppy seed & fennel sourdough, a really lovely combination - perfectly crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft inside. As the lovely Dollybakes said in a recent post, it was genuinely upsetting how good this was. Bread is not going to be the same for me again. I also had some of the white sourdough which was just as delicious.

Sunday Lunch is 4 courses for £35 which also includes said canapes and coffee plus petit fours - very good value. We started with Cauliflower Soup with a cheese mousse and a chive oil - it looked like a very small portion when it arrived but once we dug in, it was very rich so a small portion is only required. A smooth base of cauliflower soup is whipped up with a rich cheese mousse and finished with a swirl of chive oil - I couldn't taste the chive too much but otherwise it was a fantastic start.

Second starters arrived - a beautifully poached salmon fillet for me sitting on a tomato butter sauce that tasted so fresh, summer tomatoes concentrated in to a sauce. Mr had gorgeous roasted beetroot with lots of thyme and a refreshing blackberry sauce - so much flavour for a simple vegetable dish. Often you can struggle with the vegetarian offering at fine dining restaurants, but nothing was too much trouble here - the vegetarian menu was just as inventive and tasty as the meatier option.

On to mains following the tradition of Sunday Roast but like you've never had before. Sage roasted celeriac - such a simple but great idea - fluffy on the side and crispy and smoky on the outside with a herby flavour throughout - they must do this on wood beforehand to get the crispy smokey flavour. Oh, and they put truffles on it too - truffles! Accompaniments included rich buttery fondant potato, silky confit carrot, mini Yorkshire pudding, roast parsnip and a lemon butter sauce.

Onto pudding - we both opted for a sticky toffee pudding - it had been the subject of much conversation earlier in the week on Twitter as it was being served at a conference I was organising - and it would have been rude not to try it at Morston Hall. This was textbook - dark, rich sponge covered in a dark, sticky sauce topped with a whiskey ice cream. Rib stickingly good, and we both really liked the ice cream, it wasn't too strong with whiskey as they can be sometimes.

Before our puddings arrived the waiter very kindly offered us a complimentary dessert wine, as we were celebrating our anniversary - such a great touch once again. He recommended an Hungarian dessert wine to go with our sticky toffee puddings, a great choice. I'm not much of a wine expert but the rich, golden dessert wine was a great match.

After a breather we were offered coffee which came with petit fours. Raspberry marshmallows and little green tea chocolate cakes. The marshmallows were great, and I got to have two as they contain pork gelatine, score! I wasn't so impressed with the green tea cakes, I'm not much of a fan of the matcha/green tea fad, luckily Mr thought they were great, so maybe just a matter of taste?

We thoroughly enjoyed our relaxed lunch at Morston Hall, the staff could not have been more helpful and each course was cooked beautifully with some surprising touches. We left feeling very happy, full and well looked after.

Morston Hall also do an Afternoon Tea which looks excellent, so if anyone fancies a trip to the Far East, sorry, Norfolk, there is an exquisite tea waiting for you and a willing companion.

Morston Hall

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