I am normally a very boring tea drinker. The usual everyday brew with milk, quite weak. I’ve tried other tea before but I never like it as much as ‘normal’ tea – boring. I had some lovely tea at the Secluded Tea Party recently and this inspired me to try and broaden my tea drinking habits!
I bought some Rhubarb and Custard tea from Tea Box Online. A loose leaf tea which is faintly sweet and really refreshing, and I liked the name!
Then I picked up some Tea Pigs Darjeeling Earl Grey tea temples (tea bags!) from Waitrose which is much much nicer than normal earl grey, the bergamot flavour is real and not fake orange. The tea is lovely without milk and with a slice of lemon.
I have been trying to cut out milk from tea but I can’t stand the usual tea without milk (although that is mainly because the limescale in the office kettle is horrendous), these are better without.
After much anticipation and waiting and impatient we dined at Le Gavroche on Tuesday. We were celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned it even before we got married which is kind of silly!
We booked for the set lunch menu which was very good value at £48 per person including half bottle of wine each and coffee and petit fours. Due to the attentiveness of the staff and the rather formal atmosphere I didn’t take any pictures of our meal , save for the petit fours, but I can assure you they were beautifully presented!
To start we had champagne and were bought some pretty little appetisers. Some kind of soft cheese with quince jelly and pistachios on a little toasted cracker (I am not sure exactly what the cracker was but I don’t think my explanation does it justice!) and celeriac remoulade in a pastry cup with a soft boiled quails egg. Delicious, I could have eaten the quince jelly all day!
After we had ordered our starters and mains we were presented with an amuse bouche – rabbit terrine with olive tapenade on a long very crispy crouton. I am not much of a fan of terrines in general but in a restaurant like this they are always good, the olive tapenade was extremely rich and worked really well.
For started I plumped for the herb risotto with veal belly, the risotto was different to any risotto I’ve had before. It was flavoured with light herbs and what I think was the roasting juices of the veal which gave it a really amazing slightly barbecued flavour – the fact that I have waxed lyrical about risotto before even going onto the veal shows you how good it was. The veal belly was so tender, small slices- crisp on the outside and soft on the inside served with the roasting juices/ gravy around the risotto – I’ve never had veal before and what way to start eating it!
My husband had salmon tartare which was served in a light cream sauce with caviar (the lucky sod!) on top. Obviously I had to try some so I could tell you about it, and it was excellent – light but creamy and very different to the usual salmon starters you find in most restaurants.
For main I ordered roast fillet of pollack with lobster jus and crushed potatoes – accompanied by the best cooked broccoli I’ve ever had, seriously, I think it was cooked in stock and was just right, not mushy but not undercooked. The fish was perfectly flaky, fresh and the lobster jus was really rich, unfortunately I was only treated to a single piece of lobster underneath my fish, more lobster please! Having said that if I had asked I am sure they would have bought a long a small bowl of lobster, damn I should have asked for more lobster.
Pork au poivre served with pomme mousseline, fondant caulifower and mustard cream sauce was the hubbys choice. Fondant cauliflower was something of a revelation, so creamy and well flavoured with a slight crispness on the outside, something I need to try making – which I may fail at. The potato was light as air and the pork cooked perfectly pink.
For dessert we both chose the Apple Charlotte with Calvados sorbet. Not being familiar with it I didn’t know it was made with bread rather than pastry, being so crisp, sweet and butter I was sure it was pastry but no it was bread. The apples inside were cooked til soft and flavoured with spices, just right against the crisp outside. The sorbet was very strongly flavoured with calvados, almost like drinking it but with a nice creamy texture!
apologies for the fuzzy pic!
We finished with a cappuccino each, unable to continue drinking the wine, shameful! I’m not really sure how much we drank each as they like to keep your wine at the same level throughout, very precise service.
The petit fours were just lovely, I was aghast when I saw that the table next to us had disregarded theirs and left without touching them – awful!
The petit fours were made up of a delicate peppered brandy snap, praline macaron, toffee cape gooseberry and a mini madeline. The brandy snap was my favourite, the pepper was a lovely surprise. The toffee cape gooseberry was an inspired idea but they were a bit too sour for me, maybe more caramel is required? Or maybe I just have a ridiculous sweet tooth.
We left feeling full, not stuffed, just right, and possibly a little tipsy. I want to go back right away, next anniversary maybe, although we are talking about visiting the Waterside instead, we like to plan ahead with our fine dining….
Lately it seems like we’ve been dining out a lot, I can assure you this is not a very regular occurence but I’m pleased we’ve been out more recently.
One place that we’ve had our eye on for a while is Alimentum, its been open since 2007 and has recently recruited the chef from Midsummer house, the two Michelin starred restaurant in Cambridge. Since he joined in April this year Alimentum has been enjoying a lot more press and is steadily gaining a very good reputation for excellent food.
If you live in Cambridge you’ll know that there is very little choice of restaurants unless you like chains – because of high rents (mainly caused by the University owning 90% of the land and buildings) not many independent restaurants pop up in central Cambridge.
Alimentum prides itself of local and seasonal food (the waiting staff emphasise this greatly) as well as an ethical approach to running their business. They also offer a great deal of good value options as well as their a la carte menu.
We booked for the fixed price pre theatre menu which was very good value, £15.50 for two courses or £18.50 for three.
I started with the artichoke barigoule with goats cheese, I wasn’t exactly sure what this was but I thought I’d try it as I’m terrible at preparing artichokes myself. It turned out to be a stew of artichoke hearts with baby vegetables in a light white wine and mustard sauce. The goats cheese was perfect alongside it and it was beautifully presented.
Mr had Tilbury Meadows rib eye of beef- it was prepared by very thinly slicing rare roast beef with parmesan crisps and a light horseradish cream – a very nice alternative to a carpaccio.
For main I opted for the roast fillet of cod with mussels. Both were extremely fresh and the cod was cooked perfectly, it was served with a delicious spinach and garlic sauce which didn’t taste as iron-y as you would think from a spinach sauce. Mr opted for the confit duck which was cooked to perfection, falling off the bone with a lovely crisp skin.
I again had already chosen my dessert before my starter or main, I went for the chocolate mousse with praline and mascarpone sorbet. I loved the presentation, the mousse was layered on top of a crispy biscuit base and finished with another layer of dark chocolate. The handmade praline was beautiful, the highlight of the pudding. The sorbet was a wonderful idea, it wasn’t as rich as ice cream but still had a nice creamy taste but with the freshness of mascarpone.
Mr had the mulled wine poached pear which was completely christmassy in every way, the wine was spiced just right. It was served with ice cream, a pear crisp and pear puree.
We had a great experience at Alimentum, there are lots of good value options for dining which is something Cambridge badly needs. Alimentum already has 3 AA rosettes and I expect it will gain a few more accolades quite soon.
The first leg of our honeymoon was Amsterdam, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while.
The city was lovely, the buildings very much what I had imagined and very picturesque indeed. We took a boat tour and saw lots of the sights and learnt about the history.
And we did go for pancakes too at the Pancake Bakery! Absolutely huge dinner plate size pancakes topped with anything you can imagine.
Foodie wise the Pancake Bakery was excellent but you must also visit Tempo Doeloe, an Indoniesian restaurant in Amsterdam, brilliant food and very popular – we had the goat! http://www.tempodoeloerestaurant.nl/
I’ve never written a restaurant review before, so there seems is better place to start than with the restaurant we ate at for our wedding.
The Trinity Restaurant situated in the Clapham Old Town area of south west London and has a focus on seasonal produce, the tables were even decorated with little autumn squashes of various shapes and sizes.
We opted for the set lunch menu which is very good value at £20 for three courses. And of course champagne to start!
The champagne was served in beautiful painted floral flutes, lovely for a special ocassion such as this.
The menu was varied, with three options for each course (a larger menu is also available for smaller parties). The starter options were Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Potted Foie Gras and Liver Pate and Grilled Sardines on Toast with Piperade and Toasted Pinenuts.
I opted for the Grilled Sardines on Toast, mainly because I have wanted to try proper fresh sardines for a while after only being offered horribled tinned sardines by most shops! They were beautifully fresh, not overcooked. I must admit I didn’t know what ‘Piperade’ was when I ordered. It was a mixture of peppers, caramelised onions and possibly tomatoes, almost like a chutney, but made fresh.
Others on our table ordered the Potted Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Pate, which was served in a little La Parfait kilner jar on a small wooden board – nice little details to make the dish unique.
Main course options were the boldly named ‘Trinity Fish Pie’, Roast Fillet of Cod with Taramasalata or Roast Anglian Beef with Triple Cooked Chips and Bone Marrow and horseradish cream.
Well of course I couldn’t pass up the last option. I’m pretty sure most of my decision was based on the prospect of triple cooked chips, and I was not disappointed. The chips were thick, crisp and incredibly fluffy inside – I think they may have been cooked in duck or goose fat because they were very flavoursome. The beef was tender and cooked pink, as it should be.
The bone marrow was a brilliant inclusion and went down extremely well with everyone who ordered the dish, it was nice to see a restaurant using ‘cuts’ that aren’t always used and cooking them well. I think the horseradish cream could have done with a bit more of a kick to it, which would have cut through the richness of the beef and bone marrow more.
Others had the Roast Fillet of Cod, which was also served with fresh mussels – something which probably should have been included on the menu, but wasn’t, the suprise addition of mussels was well received, although I’m not sure how well it would be if someone had an allergy.
I chose my pudding before I had decided on my starter, being the chocoholic that I am. It was a Valhrona Chocolate Pot with Salt Caramel Ice Cream – perfect for me. With the description ‘Chocolate Pot’ I was expecting more of a rich set chocolate mousse but it was in fact closer to a fondant or a chocolate sponge, which is actually what I preferred. Extremely rich, the salt caramel was a lovely addition. The pudding was a little crisp on the outside and meltingly soft inside. This is definitely a pudding for someone that can cope with a lot of chocolate, be warned!
They were also kind enough to decorate mine and my new husbands plates with the words ‘Congratulations’ – very thoughtful and a wonderful touch.
All in all our experience at Trinity was brilliant, the service was attentive but not pushy and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly. This is a restaurant that is obviously working up to a Michelin Star and I do hope they achieve it.
We’ll be back!