Monday, March 28, 2011


This weekend we went down to visit our lovely friend Becky Sterritt in her new hometown of Norwich. On the Saturday morning, she took us for a nice breakfast in a really pretty part of the city - apparently where all the studenty type people live. We instantly fell in love with the area - its cute cafés and gorgeous little terraced houses were right up our street.

Most of the eateries up the unusually-named Unthank Road seemed to be packed full of people eating relaxed Saturday morning breakfasts and everywhere we went past looked amazing so when we arrived at the place we would be eating - a little deli / café called 103 I was already pretty excited.

We were immediately impressed with the interesting decor of 103 - clean and simple but with loads of cookbooks in every available space on shelves and behind the bar. It was also pretty packed out considering it was 11 am on a Saturday - reminding me of when we had been out for Saturday breakfast in Paris and wished England were more like that.

Another indicator that this place was committed to excellent food was its impressive selection of cheeses and exotic goodies on sale.

A quick glance at 103's Menu and we knew we were spoilt for choice - with a great selection of mouthwatering fancy breakfast options.

After a nice, good quality strong black coffee and a chat we were all ready to order our meals. I decided to go for the field mushrooms on wholemeal toast which came with a poached egg, salad and Parmesan cheese. I literally could not wait for this as it sounded just amazing. Bailey went for "Virgin Eggy Bread" that came with bacon, fried egg and a paprika salsa. Becky went for good old fashioned scrambled eggs and bacon on toast.

Bailey's breakfast arrived first and we all spent quite some time looking at his plate in awe as it was probably the most easy on the eye breakfast I have ever seen. A dish that traditionally should have been very rustic or "dirty" looked really classy, with splashes of vibrant colour. That's not to say it wasn't a hearty portion.

Bailey made sure that, as Greg and John have taught us, he got a little bit of each ingredient on his fork for the first taste.

It was a taste sensation - Eggy bread, which Bailey normally finds greasy and dense - was crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside with a gentle egg flavour. The bacon and egg were both cooked to perfection with plenty of seasoning, then topped off with the fiery paprika and salsa. Bailey said it was in his Top 3 breakfasts of all time.

My field mushroom breakfast was equally as beautifully presented.

It was essentially a huge, thick hunk of wholemeal toasted bread, topped with crunchy seeds. On top of that were two perfectly cooked, juicy large mushrooms with salad, a poached egg and Parmesan shavings.

What I really liked about my breakfast was that I found eating it to be very much like a voyage of discovery. There were so many surprises hidden on the plate. The first was how amazingly perfectly the egg was cooked when I cut into it.

I also really enjoyed the salad dressing and the fact that there were crunchy endives nestled amongst the salad leaves which gave the meal another unexpected texture. I really enjoyed it and think I will struggle to find another breakfast like that again!

Becky also really enjoyed her bacon, eggs and toast and commented that the eggs were just the perfect amount of runniness - not to sticky but not too firm either.

So, all in all a lovely place to eat with brilliant food. Although I don't know much about Norwich or its other restaurants, I am pretty sure there can't be many establishments serving up breakfasts as good as that one. We are both gutted that it will be a while before we can go back there. Although all the other places on Unthank Road looked great and I would like to try them all, I doubt I would because I would just want to go to 103 again as many times as I could!

A definite must if you are ever in Norwich, I'm sure they offer equally amazing food at other times of the day also. Thankyou Sterritt for taking us there!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Waterfront Restaurant

A couple of weekends ago when Bailey and I were visiting my Nan and family down south in Suffolk, we all went out for a big Saturday lunchtime meal to celebrate my Auntie Barbara's recent retirement.

The chosen location was The Waterfront Restaurant in the sleepy seaside town of Kessingland. Apparently this little treasure had been discovered by Mum, Dad, Nan and Barbara on a sunny day trip last summer when the lovely little restaurant located right on the sea front had grabbed their attention.

Unfortunately, the setting did not look quite as idyllic set to the background of a drizzly February day.

However, once settled inside (cunningly positioned next to a radiator) I began to appreciate the views through the window of the dramatic, dark clouds and the vast, empty beaches just opposite the restaurant. It made me feel really grateful to be warm inside and I realised that whatever the weather, it is not often you get a sea view while eating out in England.

The waitress was very friendly and efficient and we were soon served our drinks so everyone was happy.

The menu offered a wide selection of seafood dishes, risotto and pasta. They also had a separate menu for light bites, pizzas and snacks. I thought it would be a shame not to go for a fish dish given that we were bang opposite the sea so I ordered the sea bass while majority of my family went for fish and chips.

The wait for the food wasn't too long at all but long enough so that we could be reassured our food wasn't being zapped in a microwave.

When my meal of grilled sea bass with beans, potatoes and tomatoes arrived I was really impressed with the simple, clean presentation and I couldn't wait to tuck in.

My fish was perfectly cooked - really soft and moist and melting in my mouth. The potatoes and veg were lovely too. I was really pleased with the taste.

Looking at other people's plates (which I of course always do) I did feel a little short changed on the portion size. I mean, my nan's fish and chips were almost the size of her!

One thing I do like about going out with my family is that as we are all a bunch of pickers when it comes to food, we always have a taste of each other's meals so this meant I was able to taste everyone else's!

My mum had ordered a fillet of salmon with some sort of glaze and a deep fried squid slinky. Her salmon was absolutely delicious and also perfectly cooked. I also thought the squid slinky - a spring of squid in a light batter - was a great idea that I had never seen done before in a restaurant.

I also tasted my dad's prawn and smoked haddock and pasta and this was also amazing. The menu stated that all pasta was made fresh in the restaurant and it really paid off as the pasta was delicious and had really absorbed all the smoky flavours of the haddock. Roy also commented rthat his pasta dish seemed to be never ending so another good portion size there!

Everyone who ordered the fish and chips thoroughly enjoyed them, although had I ordered them I would have been disappointed at the absense of mushy peas on the plate although I am aware that is more of a Northern thing.

Bailey's review of the meal was very positive as he really enjoyed the crispy batter, fresh-tasting fish and chunky chips but that he did find a few bones. But then Bailey always seems to get fish that is filled with bones, I think he is cursed.

After my meal I had a very nice coffee and the owners of the restaurant didn't seem to mind us staying at our table for quite a while and relaxing.

I thought the food and atmosphere of The Waterfront were excellent and I would definitely recommend it for fish and seafood lovers everywhere. I definitely want to go back there again in the blue skies of summer when apparently, the whole of the coast up to Lowestoft can be seen from the beach.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gurkha Grill

After visiting the cinema to see a film I would rate in my bottom five of all time we thought we would stop for a bite to eat to cheer ourselves up. We decided on Gurkha Grill in Didsbury which had been heavily recommended by buddies. Getting there at just past six there were only a couple of quiet tables in. Even when we were leaving just before eight there was only one gobby table in and a few more parties coming in so the general feel of the place was tranquil.

The menu is fairly extensive so I ordered a couple of poppadoms for starters. Now Gurkha Grill's cuisine is Nepalese and although this generally means they serve Indian type fare they do have their own twist on things. Because of this the poppadoms were served with a pickle tray which consisted of a light yoghurt, a dry onion, pepper and coriander mix and the best dip was... I don't know what it was but it was lovely and it seemed to be a mango chutney which had been blended down to a honey like syrup.

First trip up of the night was we ordered drinks and they didn't have and gas for the drinks dispenser so no pop for us. Instead we had tap water, that'll teach them. Jules ordered the Trisuli Macha (Whole trout marinated with yogurt and spices then cooked in a Tandoor oven) with rice and salad. I went for the Gurkhali Chicken (Chicken with a hot tomato sauce with onion, peppers, ginger, garlic and black pepper) with mushroom fried rice and a garlic naan bread.

Mine arrived first but it didn't make half the entrance that Jules' did as it arrived on a 'sizzle' plate. Sizzling is an understatement though as the whole trout fizzed, popped, crackled and sputtered to the table causing an 'ooooh' to spread across the restaurant. By all accounts it tasted as nice as it sounded too with an amazingly moist flesh on the fish wrapped in the most crispy blackened skin I have ever seen on a fish. I can't see how it would be possible to replicate this type of cooking at home without the super intense hot tandoor ovens but I think we are going to try and emulate it as we have a sizzle plate of our own which has never been used. The tastiest part of the dish looked like it was hidden underneath the trout though, a stack of onions that had been fried in the oil from the fish. Not that the fish was oily, none of the food was oily compared to most curry houses I had visited in the past. Everything was that little bit lighter and you didn't feel greased up after you had handled the food.

As soon as my curry arrived I felt a twinge of panic. The menu had listed it as 'very very hot, one of our hottest dishes' but I do like hot food and I wasn't sure how a hot Nepalese curry would compare to a hot classic style curry. As soon as the dish was sat in front of me I felt the sting of chilli in the back of my throat. Luckily the heat was within my edible range of spiciness and there was loads and loads of flavour to back it up. The naan bread was thin and light and was covered in sesame seeds, a real treat. My only complaint was that the mushrooms in my rice tasted like they had come out of a tin, they were pretty manky and I didn't bother eating them all.

The service was also really good, really genuine care for making sure we were enjoying everything including the long forgotten art of the manager coming round to ask sincerely if you enjoyed your food. The only complaint on service would be that the waiters were overlapping so there were a couple of repeated checks, questions and offers, a minor quibble!

So with good service and with really tasty, slightly quirky indian style cuisine which isn't heavy or stodgy I would like to join the growing ranks of our buddies who reccommend this joint. Cracking.

Gurkha Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Eggs-ellent Adventure

Last weekend when we were in Suffolk visiting my dear old Nan, my dad took us along on his usual visit to the famous farm shop just north of Beccles where he normally gets his amazing sausages (Bailey's favourites).

It was one of the first glorious days of the year and we were thrilled to arrive at this lovely farm littered with happy looking ducks and geese lounging around in the sun.

Once inside the farm shop I was immediately very excited by their selection of yummy-looking eggs. Having only had duck eggs a few times and remembering how amazing they were the time Bailey and I had boiled duck eggs on Easter Day in St David's in Wales, I knew we had to go for a dozen - a bargain at only £2.50.

It was then that I spotted the amazing massive eggs tucked away in the corner of the little shop. "Wow, what are they?!" I breathed at the owner.

"They are goose eggs. They're great in a cake".

Wow, as Bailey put it, they looked like "something out of Jurrasic Park".

The lady was selling the goose eggs at a quid a pop so Bailey and I snapped up two to eat for our dinner that evening. And the beauty of them? You didn't even need a box - the shells of the goose eggs were that tough that we just bunged them in our bag with the rest of the purchases and they were fine. In  fact, they did actually roll out of the bag and were rolling around the boot of the car for about 3 hours and still survived.

That night when we got home Bailey and I decided to eat our goose eggs under a blanket while watching Sunday night telly.

We had to consult advice on the Internet regarding how long to cook them for and despite differing opinions we decided to leave them on for 9 minutes from boiling.

We had no idea if they were going to be any good though.

Once out of the pan the shells were a nightmare to get off.

At first we thought we had overcooked the goose eggs as the whites seemed very stiff.

But once we broke into the eggs we found delicious, rich and creamy runny yolk.

The goose eggs with soldiers were absolutely amazing, I loved every mouthful. It was also very exciting to deal with such a large egg so that definitely added to my enjoyment. I am now officially a goose egg convert and am going to do everything I can to hunt some more down in the local South Manchester area. If anyone has any leads I would appreciate it!

So what became of the duck eggs then?

Well they were also amazing. I have been using them all week - mainly boiled or to add a certain je ne sais quoi to meals. However the biggest success with the duck eggs has been when making omelettes.

The duck eggs seem to hold together so much better than when you use ordinary eggs - you barely need to tough the omelette to flip it. Duck egg omelettes have a great texture when you eat them and taste absolutely amazing with cheddar cheese melted in.

I definitely think if you can get yourself to a farm shop it is well worth the visit to pick up some alternative eggs. I don't mean any offence to all the hens out there but goose and duck eggs are so much tastier - definitely a treat worth hunting out.


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