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Last night we finally had the opportunity to sample the restaurant menu at the Moorcock Inn, Norland. We’re incredibly lucky to have this place so close to us and we walk up to the pub on a regular basis for a drink and chance to sample the bar menu, but until now, we’d never had the opportunity to sample the restaurant menu. As it’s our first wedding anniversary on Sunday we thought this would be a great start to the weekend. We weren’t disappointed. Here’s what was on the menu.

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I couldn’t resist getting some pictures of the courses but as none of this was set up, these were the dishes as they came, so you’ll have to excuse the rushed nature of the shots – it was quick, get a picture and tuck in!

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Bread (served with their home-made cultured butter) and the snacks, In the Foreground are sprouts in a Rosehip and Hogweed vinaigrette, ingredients that have been foraged. The sprouts were gorgeous and the dressing superb, reminiscent of a hoisin sauce but far lighter and less cloying.

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Smoked Dogfish (sourced from Whitby on the Yorkshire coast and caught sustainably) with celery and horseradish.

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Wood-roast pear and onion, sea herbs and walnut cider. A superb mixture of flavours and textures, salty, sweet and smoky.

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Potato tart, plankton and chrysanthemum. This was a real surprise. There was an earthiness and variety of textures, from the layered potato to the crunchiness of the pastry base. – all perfectly balanced. Accompanying the tart was the fish seen below, which added yet another dimension. Aimee had done an excellent job in complimenting Alisdair’s amazing food with a range of drinks and served a NV Drie Fonteinen Geuze beer from Belgium. The sourness of the beer added yet another dimension to the dishes.

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8 yr old Hebridean mutton, tomatillo and home-made feta cheese. Inside the lettuce leaf is braised mutton which had been cooked overnight in one of the smoke ovens at the rear of the pub. Dawn had never had mutton before and was blown away by the tenderness and taste.

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One of the extras which I had all to myself as Dawn is allergic to cheese, so for me it’s a rare treat nowadays. I love veined cheeses and this Young Buck blue cheese from County Down was rich and full of flavour. It’s made from organic raw milk. It was served with wood-roast apple and soda bread. The balance of flavours, from the thick tangy creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness and smokiness of the apple, coupled with the texture of the soda break was a delight.

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The meal was rounded off with Lavender ice cream with grapes and beetroot, served with sake from NV Kodakara Umeshu, Yamagata, Japan. The sake’s infused with plums and almonds, giving it a richness and roundness that makes it an ideal accompaniment to a dessert. Wow!

We had a wonderful evening and the food exceeded our expectations – which were already high after having eaten different items off the bar menu several times. Alisdair’s a wizard in combining tastes and textures to produce some unique and stunning food. His inventiveness is amazing. Couple that with Aimee’s talent in selecting just the right choice of wines, beers (or even sake) to accompany the food and a meal at the Moorcock’s a truly memorable experience. My wife’s no slouch when it comes to cooking (something we both enjoy doing) but Dawn was left in awe by what we had last night – and I have to agree. The food here is very, very special. We can’t wait until next time to see what the pair of them provide…

If you want to contact the Moorcock. Here’s links to their website and their Facebook page.

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