Last week I had lunch at the award-winning Packhorse Inn with two friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a glorious summer day and our meal at this five star AA restaurant and hotel owned by the Chestnut Group didn’t disappoint. Moulton is an idyllic village located to the north east of Newmarket, and just beyond “The Gallops” where they exercise the racehorses.
The Packhorse Inn is located on Bridge Street, in the picturesque village of Moulton near Newmarket, the home of horse-racing
Starter of Quail
Salmon and dill fishcakes, fish cream, fennel salad
Starter – Blow-torched mackerell
My rissotto main course was a hearty portion!
Scampi with fries
Another main course – Sea trout with globe artichokes
We all enjoyed our splendid three-course meal from the a la carte menu which was beautifully presented. The bill came to £40 per person including drinks which I thought was on the pricey side, but then this was a birthday celebration lunch so it was well worth pushing the boat out!
Last Sunday my daughter and I enjoyed an excellent Afternoon Tea in The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St. Neots in Bedfordshire. To celebrate my daughters birthday we were booked into the hotel for the *Sunday Runaway spa package, (details below). Set in 350 acres, this modern 4 star hotel and spa, with a golf course and leisure centre is 2.8 miles from the market town of St. Neots.
The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes is in a lovely location
We were delighted to receive a glass of bubbly on the house as it was a special occasion
*SUNDAY RUNAWAY Y Spa stay
This Sunday night break includes dinner, bed and breakfast, and a full day’s use of thermal spa facilities on Monday which includes a two-course buffet lunch and a choice of one of the following treatments.
Last week I had a lovely day out in London with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We started our day with a visit to The Switch House, – the new extension to the Tate Modern gallery in Southwark which opened to the public in June 2016.
Having skipped lunch we were looking forward to enjoying a full Afternoon Tea at our next destination The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition located on Piccadilly, London.
In a classy and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed The Wolseley’s full traditional Afternoon Tea, which had a lovely selection of finger sandwiches and small cakes, with freshly baked warm fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of loose-leaf teas. At £28.50 per person I considered this to be excellent value, as we were offered more sandwiches and a second pot of tea at no extra charge. Although this place is always busy the service is remarkably good because they have lots of staff. The ambiance is buzzing and it was a super place for people-watching! It’s good to know that their scones and pastries are made on the premises, with an ever-changing selection of cakes, which typically might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte. Everything was perfection, from the white linen napkins, the marble-topped tables, the silver cutlery and tableware, to the bespoke china. We felt that this Afternoon Tea provided a quality experience and it’s the perfect venue for a special occasion. Highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere to eat in London, but booking is advisable.
The sandwiches were freshly-made and especially tasty with fillings of Chicken and tarragon, Smoked Salmon, Celery and Tomato, Cream cheese and cucumber, and Egg and Watercress.
A full Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm (3.30pm at weekends).
First opened as a prestigious car showroom in 1921 for Wolseley Motors Limited, the venue became The Wolseley in 2003 and soon became the famous institution it is today.
The Bar at The Gilbert Scott offers flavour, ingredients and theatre and provides the ultimate cocktail experience in show-stopping 19th century surroundings. Guests are welcome for drinks on a drop-in basis, and although I thought it was expensive, it was well worth it for a special occasion.
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. It’s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Based in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, and the new Switch House extension provides one of the best panoramic views over London free of charge, so it’s well worth a visit. As with the UK’s other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space.
Last month as an extra birthday treat my daughter and I enjoyed an afternoon of total relaxation at Aqua Sana spa in Center Parcs at Elevedon Forest, with the added bonus of Afternoon Tea included. On a warm August day we sat outside in our robes in the garden of the café to eat a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and lovely mini-cakes, accompanied by a pot of tea each. It was a perfect way to end our chilled out day!
Center Parcs at Elveden Forest, Brandon, Suffolk IP27 0YZ
For my 50th blog post I couldn’t have wished to review anywhere better than Il PiccoloMondo, which is the best authentic Italian restaurant in the area in my opinion, and a personal favourite. Knowing this Steve had thoughtfully booked a table for a celebration dinner as a treat for my birthday. It was one of the hottest night’s of the summer, so we enjoyed an aperitif on the terrace before dining inside this hugely popular eatery, which well deserves it’s excellent reputation. From the minute we arrived until our departure several hours later the staff ensured our evening was a wonderful dining experience, and as for the food, every dish was superb. I could easily run out of superlatives in this review!
My smoked salmon starter with avocado and prawns was fresh and appetising, and I was reminded how generous the portion sizes are at Il Piccolo Mondo …….
….so for my main course I ordered a small plate of ricotta filled Tortelloni in a butter, sage and Parmesan sauce, because I wanted to leave room for a dessert!
Steve found his fillet steak was cooked to perfection, and it went down very well with a nice glass or two of red!
Steve chose Formaggi, a selection of Italian cheeses instead of a sweet
I loved the fresh flowers everywhere
Even the ladies toilet was fabulous!
When we arrived at this elegant, modern restaurant we had an excellent first impression of the building, which is splendid conversion of a former school. Polly and her front of house team are friendly and highly professional, ensuring that all diners have a fantastic experience. The restaurant is light and airy with a good ambience, and the tables aren’t too close so there is a feeling of privacy and space. The kitchen (La Cucina) is openly viewed from the dining room, but although busy it was calm and smoothly run. Fish dishes are a specialty, and the varied menu has plenty of hearty meat courses in addition to homemade pasta. The freshness and quality of the food, and the preparation and presentation could not be faulted. If you want somewhere impressive and very special plan well ahead to *book a table for lunch or dinner and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
We paid £34 a head for 3 courses, excluding drinks, and it was worth every penny!
For one of my birthday treats this week my daughter took me for Afternoon Tea at Poets House, which is a charming hotel in the heart of historic Ely, in Cambridgeshire.
Originally consisting of three Grade II listed properties of the early 1900s, Poets House is a uniquely stylish hotel, restaurant and event venue. A blend of original charm with innovative contemporary interiors, this hotel combines luxury and comfort. We both felt that this would be a lovely hotel for tourists to stay in.
The Study is a light, airy, relaxing lounge and bar where we sank into the sofas and ate from low marble topped tables, whilst sampling the Poets House traditional afternoon tea. We chose a pot of tea each from an extensive range to accompany a selection of finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and mini-cakes and a dessert. Fresh pots of tea were available at no extra charge, and we drank copious amounts of iced water, as it was one of the hottest days of the year.
The finger sandwiches were filled with smoked salmon and lemon creme fraiche, cucumber with dill cream cheese, honey roast ham and mustard, and egg with peppery watercress. They were extremely fresh and obviously made to order as we had quite a wait before the food arrived. Likewise the scones were warm from the oven and freshly-baked, and probably tasted better than any other ‘afternoon tea scones’ we had eaten anywhere. The scone recipe was different and my daughter (who is a baker) described the texture as resembling a sponge. These melt in the mouth scones were accompanied by a very generous amount of Devonshire clotted cream, and a choice of preserve.
The top tier held a lovely-looking selection of sweet treats which were a disappointment upon tasting. The blackcurrant panna cotta dessert hadn’t set properly, (possibly due to the heat) and the macarons had a peanut butter filling, which we found quite an odd combination.
Service was on the slow side, but efficient and friendly. A nice leisurely way to spend an afternoon in elegant surroundings, and a birthday treat for me, complete with a greeting and candles!
I noticed that unusually a Childrens Afternoon Tea was available at £4.25.
This Afternoon Tea cost £15 a per person, and needs to be pre-booked
This gourmet continental restaurant is renowned for its slow cooking ethos and chef’stastingmenu.
I loved this fabulous feature light in the bar where ……
we enjoyed a complimentary squid ink crisp canape, creatively presented in a box of pebbles which certainly had the WOW factor!
was accompanied by milk bread anddelicious mini onion loaves, both served warm
We chose A TASTE OF ALIMENTUM in 7 courses at £75 per person and Steve had a flight of wine at £37.50
BeefSirloin, (Hannan 80 day aged) beef fat potato, veal sweetbreads, parsley and mushroom served with Touriga Franca, Portugal
The pre-dessert Gin and Tonic was an excellent palette cleanser
Chocolate Gateau and passion fruit was the delicious final dish served with Moscato Rosa, Italy
To complete his meal Steve added a cheese course at £7.50
accompanied by an assortment of delicious biscuits and breads
Special occasion dining at Alimentum
Last week Steve and I celebrated his birthday by dining at Alimentum, where we enjoyed the chefs 7 course taster menu at £75 per person, accompanied by a flight of wine at £37.50.
It was a return visit for us and fully lived up to our expectations for special occasion dining. The menu at this 1 Michelin star restaurant is best described as Modern European and Chef Patron Mark Poynton delivers dishes which are original, contemporary and full of vibrant flavours and colours.
On arrival we had an aperitif in the bar where we were served a complimentary canape featuring squid ink crisps in a box of pebbles which blew me away with its creativity and invention. When seated in the restaurant we were close to the viewing window where it was fascinating to watch the chefs at work in the kitchen. Every dish from the amuse bouche through the seven courses on the ‘Taste of Alimentum‘ menu were delightful in taste, flavour and presentation. We both preferred the cod and beef dishes of the savoury courses, and relished the yummy desserts. I had been concerned that I would find eating seven courses challenging but in fact the amount of food was just right, and I didn’t feel uncomfortably full. Steve chose to end his meal with a cheese course because he had been so impressed with the choice of cheeses available on our previous visit.
This is certainly one of the best restaurants in Cambridge and we can highly recommended it for magnificent food and service. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed and the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and professional. It was an expensive night out but worth it for a special occasion, and we had a most enjoyable fine dining experience.
Alimentum – 1 Michelin Star Restaurant in Cambridge