Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: The Bildeston Crown
PUBLISHED: 15:08 20 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:31 20 February 2013
It's a tough job, but someone had to do it . . . Richard Bryson samples a gourmet taster menu at one of Suffolk's top hotels
Its a tough job, but someone had to do it . . . Richard Bryson samples a gourmet taster menu at one of Suffolks top hotels
Good food and service plus fine surroundings go hand in hand with all our selections in this best breaks feature, but what if you really want to indulge?
What if you are seeking a sumptuous, multi-course meal with myriad flavours, then a hotel bed for the night so you can sample some fine wines and not have to contemplate driving?
Can I tempt you with the tasting menu currently being offered by The Bildeston Crown?
This beautifully put together selection of treats doesnt have to go with an overnight stay but it seems to make sense. You enjoy the food and wine and then, particularly at this time of year, snuggle down in one of the highly individual rooms at this charming high street inn.
And for those who have skimmed down this article, picked out some of the dishes on offer and maybe think it is all too much, a couple of points.
The tasting menu is just that . . . a chance to sample something you may not have tried before. Its all beautifully cooked and presented, so while ordinarily I would have thought twice about Confit Gizzard and Heart Stew, when placed in front of you, and after perhaps an inquisitive inspection you gently fork into your mouth, it is a nice surprise.
Maybe I wouldnt seek it out again but Im glad Ive tried it. You never know you might discover something that really excites your taste buds.
My other point is these are small courses. Enough to appreciate the dish, and the expertise of chef Chris Lee, but not an amount to make you quit this culinary journey half way through.
See panel right for details of the dishes we sampled, along with carefully selected glasses of wine to go with each course.
As we retired to bed one of our party neatly summed up the evening. Eight courses sounds almost gluttonous but the size of portion and the focus on high quality ingredients and a relatively low carbohydrate element is actually spot on. You feel you have had a feast, a real celebration but dont feel unpleasantly full.
The eight course menu costs 70 per person rising to 100 with a flight of wine.
Book for Chriss Tasting Menu (including a flight of wine) at 100 per person and if Monday-Friday, stay the night at 75% room tariff.
The Bildeston Crown Hotel, 104-106 High Street, Bildeston, Suffolk, IP7 7EB. Tel: 01449 740510.
What was on the menu
Smoked Haddock Chowder and Quail Egg (accompanied by glasses of Chardonnay Vanel Languedoc, 2009).
Morteau sausage Tortellini, Caramelised Pork Belly (Frascati Superiore San Marco Lazio Italy 2008)
Wild Mushroom and Truffle Gnocchi (Fino Marismeno Romate Jerez)
Soused Mackerel, Beetroot and Fennel (Vouvrey Cuvee de Silex Domaine des Aubuiseres Loire France 2008)
Breast of Mallard, Confit Gizzard, Heart Stew (Brookfields Hillside Syrah Hawkes Bay New Zealand 2005)
Selection of Cheeses (Cellar Reserve Port Quinta Do Portal Douro Valley Portugal)
Apple Pie, Apple Crumble (Moscatel Reserva Quinta Do Portal Douro Valley Portugal 2000)
Chocolate Fondant, Cherries, Hazelnut (Botrytis Semillon Vat 5 Deen De Bortoli Victoria Australia 2007)