Instead, while I recover from a whirlwind of Christmas cooking and rediscover my kitchen mojo with the help of a new cookbook, I'm going to try and catch up with a few posts I had intended to write last year but never quite got round to. To start with I thought I'd share the details of fantastic lunch we had back in the autumn.
On the way to the East Suffolk coast we stopped of at the Suffolk Food Hall, a haven for foodies just outside Ipswich with an impressive view of the Orwell Bridge. The food shop alone is worth a visit, being jam-packed with goodies from local producers and some more far afield. The sort of place you wish lived close enough to (and had enough money!) to do your weekly shop there.
Cookhouse Restaurant. There has been a cafe at the food hall for a long time, but The Cookhouse is a more recent addition, set in a new building just next door. The restaurant is set on the top floor and the benefits of this were immediately apparent as we reached the top of the stairs and saw the fantastic views out of the large windows and across the estuary. We were soon seated at a nice table for two in the middle of a very attractive, large room. As you can see in the picture below, some of the larger tables had benches for seating, however a couple had large comfy sofa-type benches covered with modern fabrics which broke up the room decor nicely.
So, on to the food. I could have happily chosen anything off the menu, which had a selection of lighter meals to chose from, such as soup, bruschetta or a goats cheese tart, and some more heartier dishes such as a delicious sounding fish pie, venison suet pudding and Brancaster mussels. Mr HaPoC chose the Suffolk Food Hall Stockman's Platter which included flaked ham hock, cheese, bread and a home made scotch egg. Although there didn't look to be a huge amount of food on the trendy wooden board it turned out to be very filling and everything tasted fresh and homemade.
After a great deal of indecision, I opted for the Duck leg hash, with mushrooms, spinach and topped with a pan-fried duck egg. I have to say the photos below really don't do this dish justice as this was genuinely one of, if not the, nicest things I ate all year. Generous chunks of flaked duck leg were mixed with crushed potato and the spinach and mushroom both added the most amazing savoury flavour, topped off by the gooey duck egg. If we ever return I will really struggle to choose something different. It was just perfect!
We were very tempted by the deserts but in the end went for the takeaway option and selected a couple of delicious cakes from the bakery downstairs to accompany us on our walk around Dunwich Heath.
All in all, we were very impressed with our lunch. The setting is lovely, the food was delicious and the service was good. I really hope we have the opportunity to make a return visit at some point in 2013.