Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby one more time!

I had it all sorted, my bags are packed and I'm ready to go. For the first time the sun has barely got his hat on and the big blue sky has been overrun by great white fluffies. I guess it means it is time to get back to life and back to reality. I toyed with the idea of making a visit to Cley again with vague thoughts of securing one of those venison pies for later and then as I went to collect my bags to catch an early Coasthopper back to King's Lynn I caught sight of the lunch menu and I succumbed. Why not extend this idyllic stay at Titchwell Manor just for a little longer, there are plenty of trains, it will an age before I can see the sea and taste the salty air again. And really I'm not quite ready to get back to the world of dusty tubes, burgeoning inboxes and the general hullabaloo of London living and working... well not for a few more hours at least. And one final excuse, if I need it, is that I'd already decided that I'd get the just before 4 o'clock train home when I made plans yesterday, this extra indulgence just makes that a reality.
In the meantime I have more of that delicious smoked salmon, cream cheese & chive risotto to tuck into. And it's still as yummy but compact and bijou and oh so good.
The main on the fixed price (set) menu today is slow cooked pork belly, apple purée, potato & cream cheese rosti. D was gutted when the last of the pork belly and crackling was snaffled up at the Yurt on Friday night and she had to switch to chicken instead. I don't know what she would have made of this one. For one thing it was devoid of crackling which, I realise that once again I'm in the minority here, is not a massive loss on my part. But I know D and LLcT would have been bereft. However before you rush to condemn Eric and the Titchwell Manor restaurant I can confirm that there was indeed crackling, and I'm sure plenty of it, with the roast loin of Berkshire pork on the Sunday lunch menu yesterday. With that assurance out of the way I can tell you why this piece of porcine perfection was so wonderful. It was a nice compact size, it had a juicy, meaty melt-in-the-mouth texture and a little bite from the mustard seed glaze. The accompaniments were a pleasing dollop of fresh apple purée and more excitingly minute cubes of a punchy apple jelly. The cream cheese in the rosti (I might say potato cakes as the potato was sliced not grated) just added a general unctuousness to the whole proceedings. There is also a meaty slick and a few artistic drizzles of gravy crowning an attractive and delicious dish. There was a lavender panacotta, meringue and crystallised nuts to chase it all down with but even I thought this was one decadence too far.
I can while away the time until the next hopper... there's no rush in the little hideaway I discovered yesterday. As Titchwell Manor looks over the fields, the marshes that make up the RSPB bird sanctuary and then the beaches beyond I'd been hankering after a little extra height to inspire a drawing. My kindly waitress told me of a seating area upstairs furnished with both the view and a handy telescope to examine it all further. I could indeed spot lots of birds but without MC's handy guide I couldn't tell you what they were. Stately and very white, no not gulls,  something more marsh-waderish. Perhaps you can see why I don't do a 'twitching' blog. This little enclave was the perfect spot to draw, write some blog texts and rather randomly play a guitar hero-esque app on the iPhone. And, dare I say it, totally rock those riffs and yes, those dials were up to eleven! My Sweet Home Alabama was sweeeeet!
But I digress. After my delicious (extra) lunch I was chatting to Mark Dobby the Restaurant Manager about how much I thought they deserved Michelin star but he was concerned it would stifle Eric Snaith's creativity. Would the Michelin pendants appreciate you being able to select from a set menu, go more creatively a la carte or mix and match with the slightly simpler bar menu. Well whatever those rubber tired guys think I think Eric (and sous Ben) and Mark and all his team deserve to be showered with a multitude of accolades.
I've had just a wonderful stay at Titchwell Manor, a relaxing, chilled place with the finest of fresh, local food and really charming staff to ensure your stay is divine. If you're in the area drop in for lunch or dinner or both - I know I did.

PS - Yummy photos added now, how gorgeous does that pork look!

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