Back down under, & well fed

So, somehow, I find myself back on the other side of the planet. It feels as though 5 weeks has gone past in the blink of an eye, but every single day was packed and the weather was divine. In fact, any subsequent nostalgic recollection of the motherland will be forever warped as, with a couple of exceptions, every day looked like this:

The Somerset countryside

I’ve done so much talking that I’ve run out of things to say. So, until I can actually gather all my thoughts back together, I shall just tell you about the eating highlights of my trip.

Ston Easton Park

Now this was a really indulgent treat for a random Tuesday lunch time. An exquisite dining room (I felt quite underdressed!) with soft music playing politely in the background as we admired the view of the gardens down to the steam.

Ston Easton

Billed as a 5 course tasting menu it was closer to 7 once we’d had bread to start and, coffee and home-made petit fours to finish. They were warned in advance of my dietary needs and I was DELIGHTED to find that chef had made gf tomato focaccia. Home-made, fresh bread! That is a real treat.

The food was, of course, elegant and exacting, perfectly fresh and precisely presented. Hats off to the chef, he is an artist!

STAR PLAYER: The Ethicurean

My highest accolade goes, without doubt, to this charming, laid back eatery, buried in the Somerset hills within a working walled garden that bakes in the southern sun from its position high on the Chew Valley.

Barley Wood Gardens

“Purveyors of entirely seasonal, local and ethical British produce, all meats are from free range livestock or wild.”

The ethos of this restaurant, for me, makes the eating experience all that more enjoyable, knowing that I’ve made the best ethical choice for what I choose to put into my body.

The menu was easily adaptable to my “special needs” and they were happy to do so, and I elected for:

  • pan fried mackerel with lightly pickled veg
  • slow cooked pork belly
  • gf almond, pear and chocolate cake with chocolate sauce

It goes without saying that they were all fresh, perfectly balanced and just delicious.

The Crab House Cafe

The freshest and perfectly accompanied scallops and skate in the autumnal sunshine with the parentals. It doesn’t get any better than that! This relaxed, seaside shabby chic eatery is always a go-to for us in Weymouth. Just wish we’d found it a bit sooner.

Crab House Cafe

Haweli, Twford

This place was always a regular haunt and by far one of the best Indian restaurants I’ve visited – a well presented spot, with the most courteous service, perfectly completed with the most delicious curries. Once again, I could not pass over my perennial favourite, brinjal bhajee, a silky, more-ish vegetarian dish of aubergine. I shall have to find a recipe so that I can get my fix at home.

Honourable mention: Revolution Pizza

This local pizza spot in Rathgar outside of Dublin gets a nod not because of its pizza (which I’m sure are great but there was no gf available) but because of a most wonderful blue cheese, pear and pecan salad (and a side of crisply fried parmesan chips). Delicious!

 

And as for the dishes that money can’t buy? Home-made toad-in-the-hole and sloe gin chocolate brownies definitely top the bill …

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