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more East of England finds

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more East of England finds

drdawn | Aug 5, 2004 05:09 AM

From time to time I've been know to post about my little corner of the world. Alas, I've found another spot worth posting. It's in Ipswich, an hour and 15 mins from London. BT has their research labs there: possibly the only non-food reason I can think of to go there other than driving through the english countryside (which is a rewarding endeavor in these parts). And getting away from the nonsense that is Cambridge.

The place is called the Salthouse, a restaurant/hotel that opened just last year. It's right on the waterfront with outdoor tables this time of year. Decor is sleek and modern, but still warm and inviting. Food is both creative and sublimely executed. Fresh, soft, warm bread hinted at what was to come. I had a stilton creme brulee with a vegetable chutney and parmesan crisp to start. Yes, I said stilton creme brulee: I was a little concerned when I ordered it that it would force flavours together that should never be, but it worked wornderfully. It was silky and unctutous, and the top cracked uncomplainingly when I jabbed it. My dining companions had a duck and baby spinach salad with some sort of sweetly preseved carrot and the other had a tomato, mozarella and parma ham stack. Duck was thankfully still pink and succulent. No reports on the tomato contraption.

I then had monkfish wrapped in spec with cannelli beans and a rocket salad on top. Monkfish was tender, juicy even, and the beans were amazing: they must have been pan-fried after they were cooked, because every once in a while I would get a crispy bit. I'm making it sound far less pleasing than it actually was. I would even put the beans as the highlight of the meal, if the monkfish and the creme brulee weren't such outstanding competitors. Companions both had lamb with lemon paste, which they report were quite good. One had his lamb slightly overcooked, however.

My only complaint was that everything was in the stack 'em high and make 3 drizzles of sauce around the edge format. But I suppose this is unavoidable nowadays. Not cheap (£6 starters, £12 mains), but for what you get, its a steal in comparison to London. If you could only eat in one place on this side of the country, eat here. (and go to the Red Lion for lunch... but that's a different story).

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