Today I had the day off and went out for a marvellous lunch with Mr Bookworm and 2 of our friends. It was my friend's birthday on Feb 1st and it's mine on 18th so the lunch was a treat and a celebration.
We had wanted to go to Morston Hall, but sadly it doesn't do weekday lunch :-( So we chose The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe. http://www.whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk/.
We had a nice leisurely drive up to the coast in perfect sunshine, stopping off in Wells along the way for a coffee and a bit of window shopping.
Back on our way we saw lots of people with binoculars and long lenses by the side of the road - I wonder what bird they were looking for. We saw a Barn Owl which was a surprise at 12.30 in the afternoon. They are huge!
Then we got to The White Horse which is a lovely pub with a lot of flint wall, and pale blue paint. It has a very pretty setting looking out over the north norfolk marshes to the sea. Our table was in the conservatory right by the window and a view.
I'd already had a pre-emptive look at the menu, not that it helped with choosing as it all sounded delicious. It's a relatively small menu for lunch but I was still stumped - we all were, even Mr B had 4 veggie choices available. Being on the coast there was a lot of fish and shellfish and for a moment 2 of us wavered over choosing a sea platter. Or oysters. Or mussels. In the end I chose bouillabaisse and a pork belly porchetta with truffled butter beans and crayfish tail sauce.
The bouillabaisse was rich and delicious, and came with a really nice rouille and a gruyere toast. It was a big and satisfying dish, tomatoey, slightly aniseedy from dill and pernod, and packed with pieces of fish, prawns and mussels. Then the porchetta which was really good - a small hit of chilli in the rolled pork belly, lovely white beans, lots of crayfish tail and a lovely sauce with truffle and crayfish and something creamy. The meat was really tender from long cooking, that dead giveaway of soft fibrous meat that gives at a slight pressure of fork, and the beans were a delicious contrast. I would not have thought of putting pork with crayfish but it really worked, and there were lots of them.
We were too full for pudding!
Then we had a stroll along the edge of the marsh and spotted lots of birds - Curlew, Avocet (we think), Starling, a Redshank, Gulls and many others that I didn't know.
Then we returned home, taking a different route through Blakeney,Cley and Holt.
It was such a lovely day that we think we might like to do this perhaps once every few months.
A fab day with friends and delicious food - what more can a person ask?