Monday, August 23, 2010

A room with a meal

After lunch I headed for Blakeney en route to Holt, I was keen to photograph the quay with the fishing boats looking so weathered and picturesque but sadly the torrential rain quickly put paid to that little avenue of pleasure. The crabbers with their little buckets were sent scuttling and probably the crabs were thankful of the rain and they could have a day's respite.
When I arrived in Holt I thought I should have a little peruse of the higgledy piggledy streets with the hidden courtyards and the lovely little unique, independent and friendly shops but alas the rain defeated me again but I had my lovely new room to explore at Byfords.

I checked out their website of course but I'm not sure it doesn't really do them justice as my room is a stunner. I have the local flint walls, with a lovely local coastal image (which I've since discovered is one of one of the ever so evocative images of Wells taken by a local photographer Steven Brooks and available for sale in their gallery in Holt - which I'd love to give houseroom to but sadly my décor doesn't lend itself to the cobalt blues and sandy tones of this coast) in the recess of the old window.

There are wonderful old antique leather chairs, battered leather suitcases, books and a pair of brass binoculars to add to the atmosphere. The ceiling is beamed, the huge bed with an imposing walnut headboard is swathed in velvet throws and piled high with textured cushions.

Through the fabulous old wooden door of the substantial bedroom comes the heady scent of the most beautiful stargazer lilies which some may disagree but I think is a lovely touch. There are little candles to light and yummy treatments for the bath and an impressive separate rainfall shower. There's also a lots of light if you want it (which some hotels stint on) I think I'm going to be very at home here (not that my bathroom at home is a patch on this one!)
I'd booked a table for dinner and was led through the higgledy piggeldy warren of a restaurant (just like Holt itself) and was seated in a cosy alcove. I had set my heart on the chicken but. "when it's gone, it's gone!" and it was indeed all eaten. My second choice of steak salad also proved too popular so I continued with the local seafood theme and opted for the Baked Cromer crab pots with cognac, Colman's & Smoked Dabble Cheese for starter and the Cley smoked salmon, Cromer crab & brown shrimp spaghetti (starter portion) for main.
The pot was very unctuous, cheesy and less crabby than I thought. I was worried I might have crab overload but I needn't have worried. It was nice mobbed up with a bit of bread that you go and help yourself to (not ideal for a lone diner perhaps, especially if you're armed with an iPad that everyone seems incredibly intrigued by!)

I'm so pleased I'd ordered a starter portion of the spaghetti, my neighbours had also plumped for something lighter and as our dishes all turned up simultaneously we all remarked in unison "if this is a starter portion, just imagine the size of the main!". My spaghetti was light but to be completely honest I didn't really discern the smoked salmon, crab or brown shrimp. It tasted generally seafood-y and perfectly tasty but I really wanted to taste that Cley smoked salmon and it didn't leap at me. I hope my palate hasn't been deadened by all this excessive extravagant dining!
I wasn't able to finish my 'starter' portion of spaghetti and my neighbours similarly struggled with theirs. Clearly we're just all lightweights, but after a lengthy and lively discussion of local and further afield places to visit and dine we were able to do some justice to a dessert.

I opted for a little stem ginger and chocolate ice cream.
I enjoyed my first meal at Byford's. It's certainly a popular place, there are queues and you have to wait to be served and sadly the favourite dishes are snapped up quickly but that's the sign of the hottest seats in town. The menu is informative, they are passionate about local food and providence and as well as the restaurant have an acclaimed deli which if I was going home directly from here I'd love to fill my bags with goodies from. I'm going to give them two forks, and if the chicken is so talked about I think I need to secure a bit of bird for myself tomorrow so I can tell you if it lives up to the hype!

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