Tuesday 15th August
I've spent a bit of time in Suffolk recently, and I thought it might be
useful to collect together the best bits, food-wise.
Potted shrimp at The Lighthouse in Aldeburgh: the restaurant is
owned by Sara Fox, who also runs the cookery school across the road
with Thane Prince. The menu is very slightly disappointing in a way I
can't quite put my finger on - besides the fish, it doesn't quite seem
to reflect the wonderful fresh produce of this area and this season.
Still, stick to the fish and you'll have a fantastic meal.
Fish and chips from Mark's, on Southwold High Street.
Absolutely perfect battered haddock with big squashy chips - exactly
what you want to eat when you can see, hear and smell the sea.
Follow that with a pint of Pimms at the Lord Nelson down the
road. Others swear by the Adnams beers but on a sunny day a cold glass
of Pimms with plenty of salad in it (apples, cucumber, mint and borage
are all possibilities) suits me nicely.
Fresh sea bream at the White Horse in Sibton - a funny little
country pub, with hardly a village around it, and as different as can be
from the 'pubs' (var. gastro) I eat in in London, but none the
worse for that. Friendly staff who knew the menu, which was set daily
according to what came in from the fishmongers. Big portions of that
still spanking-fresh fish more than made up for the pub salad and
bizarre balsamic potatoes on the side, and the summer pudding was
Air-dried beef and the most delicious fennel-marinated olives from
Emmetts of Peasenhall, a wonderful delicatessen in one of those
mysterious towns where everyone has clearly either inherited a lovely
pile or retired from the City in their thirties. Hence a shop that would
struggle in Cambridge and have lots of competition in West London
manages to thrive on a ratio of roughly one flavour of olives per
resident. The shopkeeper is as evangelical as deli owners always are:
'eat this!' was closely followed by a paper-thin slice of cecina de leon
(that air-dried beef, from Northern Spain) wrapped around a soft slice
of creamy sheep's cheese and dribbled with garlicky, fennelly oil from
the olives. Heaven.
Frying bacon from Emmetts in the teeny kitchen of the mediaeval
cottage we were renting from the Landmark Trust for the
weekend. Dry, crisp, and piggy-tasting: with poached eggs, toast and
coffee, there is no better way to face the day.
And taking it home: another trip to Emmetts, or the Orford smokery,
or the Friday Street farm shop. Lord of the Hundreds cheese, oak smoked
trout, beef, bacon, ham... or just-picked strawberries, to be eaten
before you even get home.