Thursday, August 20, 2009

The hostly charms of the Hoste Arms

D and MC are keen to walk off some of the meals we’ve enjoyed this week and me being as usual unsuitably shod for any given occasion I opted to explore Burnham Market instead.  I want to have a look round the shops, now they’re open and also visit the art gallery to view the Jeremy Barlow exhibition.  I’d picked up his catalogue at the Jolly Sailor as was taken by his obvious love of the local landscape which I’d also been inspired by and also some lovely Parisian, Provencal and Venetian scenes.
The shops are those lovely little ‘tardis’ style boutiques which seem to have room after room crammed with intriguing objects to browse amongst for hours.  I was very restrained, I could have easily added even more wonderful little accoutrements for the table but bearing in mind both my limited luggage space and perhaps more importantly the getting full to bursting crockery cabinet at home I resisted.
When the sky bruised alarmingly and the much anticipated rain finally fell it seemed only fitting to seek refuge in the warmth and Moroccan styling of the Hoste Arms.  It was conveniently lunchtime, the menu looked very alluring and joy of joys I could also avail myself of their wifi.  I realised how deprived I had felt, my ambitious plans to blog as I go around North Norfolk was entirely thwarted when I realised I could rarely get a flicker out of my O2 network and there seemed a dearth of open wifi connections I could piggy back off.
The menu just looked so wonderful, how I wished we’d eaten here last night instead of the disappointing Lifeboat.  I don’t know whether the after effects of aiming to think French last night when ordering had lingered but I was immediately drawn to both Gruyere cheese & leek tart, truffled baby spinach and the Truffled chicken liver parfait, fig & grape compote, toasted brioche.  Both are available as a main course but how much more indulgent to have one of each as a starter portion.  That duly organised I settled down in my big comfy settee, with a stack of reading materials, a finally happy iPhone and a glass of local cider.  Rain, what rain?
I wasn’t disappointed with my choice, the parfait was gloriously smooth and tasty, the sticky figgy compote moreish and the sweet brioche just the perfect vehicle for all that creamy unctuousness.  The tart hidden under a carpet of verdant spinach was cheesy and yummy and exceedingly good also.  I was very happy!  I was luckily just at the end of their lunch and I could luxuriate in their Moroccan themed lounge watching the awfully attractive families that frequent this village pour in and order bulging stands of afternoon tea sandwiches and pots and pots of tea, whilst uploading a few blog posts and downloading a few new apps.  And I have to give props for the very impressive toilet facilities.  It was an enormous room fully armed with all the usual necessities but also hairdryers and lots of lovely delicious smelling lotions and potions.
It seemed wrong to leave so I rounded off my meal with a decadent warm dark chocolate fondant, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.  It came embellished with a shard of sugar work and was rich and melty and very fine. I’ve really enjoyed my respite (and connectivity) at the Hoste Arms and hope to avail myself on their fine hospitality on another day – maybe even take a room there!  Two forks for the food and a couple of tines for the wifi – clearly I need to be plugged in more than I ever realised!

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