We were looking for a "worth it" Sunday roast this weekend and The Anchor at Burwell was recommended to us, so we went with it... Well, this was just fantastic. We were welcomed by the resident dog (just beautiful, what a nice welcome for a country pub) and noted for next time that this place is dog friendly, great to know. The staff were super friendly and knowledgeable on the dishes and wine list, but we opted for cider and soft drinks today. We hadn't planned to have starters, but were super tempted by the (artichoke) soup of the day (£5) and the smoked mackerel with pickled cucumber and sourdough (£7). Both were delicious and generous servings for a starter. I wouldn't normally go for fish, but I really craved it and the freshness of the cucumber and the mackerel together was perfect, I really want to recreate this at home, it was so simple, but it worked. The only niggle (not really for us) was that we were asked again by another waitress if we wanted to order once we had ordered and they served a delicious bread basket with olive oil & balsamic vinegar before our starters, we finished this and then another waitress brought another basket out.... admittedly we were hungry so we nibbled on both sets, but it confused our first waitress.... they are a little too eager on the service perhaps - but we didn't personally mind. The roast dinner menu seemed on the pricier side (£18 for 35 day aged sirloin beef and £15 for Blythburgh pork loin) but I can honestly say it was worth every single penny. Our roast dinners came with meat, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy on the plate, followed by a huge side dish of individual vegetable bowls... carrot & swede mash, broccoli & green beans and a deliciously creamy cauliflower cheese which worked surprisingly well with the meal. We also were provided with mini bowls full of horseradish and apple sauce, we didn't have to ask for it, they served it with the meal which was a lovely thing to note as you normally have to ask for these and wait a while until they bring it. Our meals were beautifully cooked and there was far too much for us to finish (perhaps the second bread basket wasn't a good idea haha) and so we didn't conquer the dessert menu. But the mini doughnuts with salted caramel sauce looked amazing on the table next to us, so next time, we will save ourselves for pudding! I had also seen on their website they do a homemade Bakewell Tart with Amaretto Custard, well... that MUST be sampled at some point very soon! This was a fantastic sunday lunch, the service was super fast and friendly.... even the telephone call I made to book ahead that morning was brilliant. The guy I spoke to advised that he had a large group coming in that afternoon, so between 2-2:30pm would be great to come along so that we don't have to wait ages.... great service, we really appreciated his honesty and that he didn't just shoehorn us in for the booking. We will be back and highly recommend this for a drive out from Cambridge or Newmarket, with the stunning autumnal colours out at the moment, we had a great time driving the country roads to Burwell taking in the oranges, reds and browns around us, I just love this time of year. www.theanchorburwell.net Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:firstname.lastname@example.org All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
It's not often that I take a solid slice of time off from life to enjoy a holiday. But recently, I enjoyed a full two weeks of relaxation, including a short road trip down to the Somerset/Devon border to join in with some of the Bearded Ones' family celebrations in Porlock, just on the edge of Exmoor. We started in Suffolk and headed to Maidenhead for a night at The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal's famous Michelin starred restaurant. This was a night to remember and a treat that I'll recount in a different blog post later on, it was too much of a treat not to! From here we headed to Bath, the city we first enjoyed a break away together almost three years ago. We always said that we would return in the summer to enjoy wandering and exploring with the sun shining over the oppressive sandstone(?!) buildings, however that Christmas break a few years back offered us finer weather than this summer break could. A real shame. However, the grey weather was never going to stop our mini adventure as we zig zagged through independent lanes and shops, nibbled on the most delicious homemade stout & peanut butter cake at Hunter & Sons on Milsom Place and sipped on local ales. We were on holiday and we weren't going to let the rain put us off our stride. Whilst in Bath we were invited to relax with a 2-hour Thermae Spa pass to make use of the three levels of relaxation experiences thy had to offer. [caption id="attachment_6146" align="aligncenter" width="4368"] Credit: Dave Saunders[/caption] Who were we to resist? This beautifully laid out spa is next door to the iconic Roman Baths and the open top roof spa overlooks the city below, with stunning urban views as well as rolling hills overhead on all sides, it offers a view of Bath not many people would get to experience unless they came here. Fluffy white towels, bathrobes and flip flops are provided to allow you to get cosy in and walk around the slippery wet floors safely - just don't forget which ones are yours each time you disrobe to enjoy the spa facilities - the "who's is who's?" game isn't much fun! [caption id="attachment_6147" align="alignnone" width="2835"] Credit: Matt Cardy[/caption] The ground level offers a hot spring-like bath with body floats to wrap around you and float around the whirlpools and slow-moving rapids to help you unwind and settle into the warmth of the spa. This was very relaxing and I enjoyed the various water jets around this large pool where you could massage yourself and pummel your shoulders with waterfalls and bubbles. We spent a good 35 minutes in here before moving up to the next level. Here we sampled every spa experience on offer, behind each and every door you could see through, relaxation rooms using steam and water. There were saunas, aromatherapy steam rooms, a relaxation room with beds and 'stars' to look at (beautiful) and even an ice room to chill your body temperature right back down again. Brrr. We spent a good 40 minutes on this level, taking in every scent and sound. It wasn't hugely busy by 7pm on a Wednesday so we didn't have to wait for anything which was fantastic - I can imagine it gets busy at weekends. The third and final floor was the rooftop spa, where, even though it was raining, we sunk our shoulders and chins into the warm water and leisurely swam from edge to edge enjoying the views that Bath had to offer us. I've never felt so relaxed in such a short space of time, truthfully, it was fantastic. I'd love to return with a little more time to enjoy the massage treatments they have on offer and some sunshine reflecting off the water on the rooftop spa, that would be perfect. They give you half an hour to get yourself showered, dry and dressed, before heading back to reception, so it doesn't eat into your two hour spa time - a really respectful and thoughtful touch, I liked this. After what felt like a whole day in the spa, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to our luxury apartment (The Halcyon) nearby for one of the best sleeps I've had in a very long time. From Bath we headed to Frome, a town I'd highly recommend for independent shops, beautiful architecture and handfuls of fantastic coffee shops, tea rooms and delis. This was a highlight for me, we enjoyed coffee in Milk and Two, a coffee shop owned by a guy passionate about his music. He was playing The Black Keys as we entered, so we chatted to him about our mutual love for this band and he pulled out a vinyl, educating us on one of their lesser known albums... Soon after, we headed to a neighbouring vinyl store and bought it for ourselves, I loved this place! I could liken Frome to Norwich a little, with its hilly cobbled lanes and unique shop fronts, it's a town not to be missed. Even the Foo Fighters played here recently for a really tiny, unassuming (and completely secret!) gig to announce their headlining appearance at this year's Glastonbury. If Frome is good enough for likes of The Foo Fighters, well... Instagram also has to be thanked for a quick search of the #Frome Hashtag, suggesting we swing into the beautiful Nunney Castle (good old Instagram!) and wow, what a sight this is. When on a road trip, you have to take in some random sights and this was one heck of a picnic spot, had we not forgotten our picnic was back in the car! Onwards. We finished our mini roadtrip by taking in a whistle-stop visit to Wells, said to be the smallest City in the UK. A tiny medieval town with an impressive cathedral and town centre worth exploring on foot. We finally enjoyed our mini picnic of Frome sausage rolls and a coffee within the grounds of the cathedral before setting off into the sunset... Of course, by which I actually mean, drizzly rain. Finishing our evening by a night at The White Hart in Somerton, a pub recommended by Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels. We weren't sure how this falls under the luxury of this brand, as the rooms were far from luxurious, however, we enjoyed a delicious steak for dinner and a hearty breakfast the next morning. But that's a blog story worth saving for another time. We were now set for our next week of mini adventuring, basing ourselves in the most impressive large house I've ever stayed in, overlooking the seaside town of Porlock near Minehead. I'd highly recommend a day at the Thermae Spa, should you be passing through or visiting Bath, this is one of my most favourite places in the UK and the spa is high on my list of day spas, however 'touristy' it may be. www.thermaebathspa.com Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – This visit was partly complimentary following an invitation from the Thermae Bath Spa – I ended up booking my own stay at the Halcyon Apartments and visiting the other locations associated with this post as part of my visit! I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. A huge thank you to the Thermae Bath Spa for welcoming me, we very much enjoyed our spa day. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:email@example.com All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Nestled in between the maze of lanes criss-crossing Norwich Market you'll find a new girl on the block. Katie's Cake Box caught my eye with her Instagram 'cake porn' a few months back and I couldn't help but drool over her dreamy concoctions. She's a sweet temptress - teasing her followers with huge gooey wedges of chocolate brownies (of many variations) as well as delicate macarons, beautifully filled cupcakes and jaw-dropping, chocolate coated cookie dough bars. Enough was enough. I was headed to Norwich to be a football widow for an hour or two, so there was no better time to explore one of my favourite cities and finally get myself down to the market square to basque in the autumn sunshine and get my sweet fix. I'd checked Instagram that morning to see which fresh baked goodies Katie had prepared and by the time I arrived later that afternoon, most had gone - noted for next time, this girl is in demand! The salted caramel cookie dough bars were to die for. Gooey and topped with real salt flakes for a sweet & salty bite. We nibbled these whilst wandering around the city and you truly could easily share one between two people, they're very sickly... but we didn't share 💕 I was headed to a family dinner that evening, so it would have been rude not to have turned up with a well rounded 'cake trough'..... The cupcakes we enjoyed were a banana caramel, Victoria sponge, toffee crisp, toasted coconut caramel, caramel apple crumble and chocolate peanut butter ... each one more delicious than the next! We sliced these beauties up and enjoyed nibbling on the different flavours - they were so big that one would have simply defeated us after a big meal! The cupcakes are just beautiful - and I don't say that very often about cupcakes! The sponges are light, but deep and dense enough to hold a generous filling and stay together under the pressure of the buttercream loaded on top. At £2.40 each, they're a bargain, worth every penny. Not only can you find cupcakes here, they make large and beautifully piped stuffed cookies and unicorn biscuits (a perfect Instagram picture in itself!)... as well as custom celebration and wedding cakes. All I can say is this... Katie can bake. If you're in Norwich and looking for a sweet treat fix, look no further. And if you're not headed to Norwich anytime soon, get yourself on Instagram and start feeling inspired for your next bake, there's plenty to dream of. www.katiescakebox.co.uk Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – This visit was partly complimentary following an invitation from Katie to sample a few cupcakes - I ended up purchasing more treats as part of this visit, it was too hard to resist! I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. A huge thank you to Katie for welcoming me, we very much enjoyed our treats. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:firstname.lastname@example.org All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
The Pint Shop in Cambridge is close to my heart for many reasons. As a local food lover, this is a fantastic place to enjoy a beer from their huge selection of ales from all over the world, as well as more local selections on an ever-changing chalkboard of dreams. If you love beer, this is the place for you… it's certainly been the place for me over the years to enjoy meeting my cousins or friends for a quick pint, either in their cosy bar or outside in the seclusion of the walled beer garden at the back. The Pint Shop is also where I "cheers'd with my good friend Cat when I became newly single and signed up a big client back in my self-employed days. I also adore it, as it's where I took the "Bearded One" for our very first Cambridge date three years ago, so it holds very special and happy memories for me ♡ But, recently there has been a revamp (inside and out; with a new dining room upstairs in the main building, as well as a cover added to the beer garden, speckled with soft fairy lights) and I was invited by the Pint Shop team to pop in and sample their new menu… how exciting. Taking advantage of the recent celebration of three years together, I took my bearded man-friend to tuck into the new menu and enjoy a few drinks to toast the weekend. I've never dined here on a Friday night and it's a special place at this time of day, 8pm and it was buzzing… the tables surrounding us were filled with couples, groups of friends, new acquaintances and work colleagues, it was an eclectic room full of diners and the conversation bouncing off the art-covered walls got us in the mood, joining in with the conversation and, hopefully, adding to the buzz. I don't know about you, but I find there's nothing worse than being surrounded by silent diners when you love talking about such random stuff over a meal… I loved that everyone was enjoying their own little worlds that you could discuss the most obscure topics and nobody would bat an eyelid, we had a great time. The Pint Shop promise you "Meat. Bread. Beer" and that's what you get… a really wide selection of everything, there's something for everybody. Even the vegetarians and vegans amongst you, they cater for everybody on their menu, which is fantastic. I have vegetarian friends myself, so it's a place to bank next time we need somewhere that will cater well for everyone. We enjoyed ordering various dishes and sharing them, it's the best way to try different things and I highly recommend doing the same… there's far too much to miss if you don't go with somebody willing to share. For starters we opted of the iconic Pint Shop pork & fennel scotch egg, complete with runny yolk - this is a must for anyone new to this place, they are just perfect in every way - light, perfectly seasoned and very more-ish! We also picked the gin cured trout with buttermilk pancakes, sour cream and sweetcorn relish - this was one of my favourite dishes of the evening! I would say simplicity is key here, they almost tried to style the dish here by twisting the trout into a beautiful heap in the middle of the plate, but it hadn't quite worked, the pancakes were slapped on the side and it came with a bowl of delicious sweet relish to make a mouthful sized savoury treat - every bite of this was better than the first, so tasty. I don't normally go for fish dishes, but I was drawn to the Pint Shop curry, so ordered a king prawn tikka served with garlic naan, rice and a peanut chutney. I personally don't like hot food, I'm a lightweight when it comes to heat, so asked our waitress if we could have it as a mild curry. She made us aware that this is pre-prepared so couldn't be altered, a real shame, as I found it super spicy. I expected the peanut chutney to cool it off, but it did quite the opposite, it was very hot and even my dining partner (who can take a lot of heat) found it super hot. Thankfully the prawns were mainly on the rice and not in the curry itself, so I managed to eat around it. Not my favourite dish, but very aromatic and lot's going on within the dish, it was beautiful. Beardy ordered the Lamb Loin Chops from the charcoal grill, served with crushed potatoes, rainbow chard and spring onions. Now, this was truly delicious, the lamb was cooked beautifully and as simple as the dish was, it was the true winner or the main courses. Alongside his food, he supped on a Saltaire Brewery South Island Pale New Zealand Pale and a De Molem Brewery 'Hugs & Kisses' session IPA - both equally as refreshing as the other. I can't pretend to know how to review a beer, but these guys know their people-pleasing beers! Don't just settle for beer here either… the gin selection is HUGE and you must try their gin cocktails, they are just beautiful. Non-alcoholic cocktails are on the menu too, so drivers and tee-totalers get the royal treatment equally. I enjoyed the 'Hard Lemonade' made with Portobello Road gin, house lemonade, elderflower and bitters, as well as a 'Rhubarb G & T' made up of Warner Edwards Victoria Secret Rhubarb gin, Aperol, orange bitters and topped with a tonic - both were beautiful and have inspired me to get more creative with my own homemade cocktails in the Pubshed™️. Of course, the old 'dessert stomach' comes in useful at this point in a meal… we were full, but with the offer of 'Jack's Gelato' Ice Cream Sundaes, we weren't going to be defeated by the pudding course. Between us we tucked into The Caramelised Banana Split with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and topped with almonds, as well as a tall glass of 'The Malt teaser' with malt ice cream, a thick chocolate fudge sauce and blondie crumbs - both were awesome, don't miss dessert here if you can help it! At £6 / £6.50 each, these were fairly priced, almost too big to finish… almost. I love the little details here. The foam heart on our coffee, the artwork you can not only enjoy, but can actually buy if you want to, the tiny tea lights lighting your meal (although tricky to get good photos in this light haha), the simple silver cutlery and white linen napkins on bare wooden tables and the excitement of a beer being wiped off the board once the keg has been emptied - there's lots going on here, it's a great place for a date or a night with family and friends. The only drawback here is that the toilets are upstairs, so with an injured ankle, this was a tricky situation. There is a disabled toilet downstairs on the ground floor, however on entering I swiftly walked straight back out as couldn't stomach the state it was in, it was filthy. It's a real shame, they definitely need to keep more on top of their facilities, I'm not sure how the upstairs lavatories were, but I hope they were in a better state than this one. We had been invited to see the new dining room, but weren't seated in here. Instead, we were in the main dining area on the ground floor behind the bar, so can't comment too much on the revamp, but from a quick peek upstairs to look, it is a very simple yet stylish dining room. We will definitely be going back in the near future to try out more dishes - their Sunday roast is well and truly calling my name! The Pint Shop has recently expanded to our opposing University town too (controversial haha), so if you are headed to Oxford, you'll find a similar menu to get stuck into there. Have YOU been to The Pint Shop? I'd love to hear your thoughts below in a comment. www.pintshop.co.uk Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:email@example.com All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.