Friday, May 04, 2007

Clun and the Waterdine

Our 1st wedding anniversary!

Walked around Clun, up to the castle and round the village. The castle is having work done on it, with men and scaffolding so didn't like to go too close and ferret around. Bought a couple of cards and a PD James in the antique shop, and walked up to the church. Looked at the ducks on the river (also the Clun) and took a picture of the 14th century packhorse bridge.

Drove down to Llanfair Waterdine to suss out where the restaurant is for this evening - just as well as we completely missed it the first time through, it having a teeny-tiny sign behind a climbing rose painted the same colour as the building.

Drove up through Leintwardine to Craven Arms and went into Harry Tuffins, which is the local supermarket chain. And I use the term 'local' advisedly. Mind you, it did have Blue Dragon oyster sauce which Cornwall appears to have stopped selling completely, so yay.

Back to the cottage for packing and clearing up before going out this evening. Made pasta to eat on the journey back tomorrow before realising that we actually have nothing to eat it *with*. Oops. Still, it'll do for dinner when we get back, yes?

Drove back to the Waterdine for seven thirty. It used to be an old pub and is several hundred years old. We were directed to armchairs in the bar area where we selected a bottle of wine (Argentinian Chardonnay. Which was excelent. What do you mean did I just point at the one that said chardonnay and wasn't the cheapest?). They brought us appetisers of a teeny tiny hot cheese biscuity thing, straight from the oven, and a puff pastry smoked salmon thing. And a little pot of olives.

The (female) owner appeared and proceeded to bray loudly and at length at the couple behind us (the only others in the bar, and I think they were staying there) about how she went to Anthony's villa in March and wasn't it simply wonderful. Now, fair play, she can talk about what she wants, but this was so loud we'd have had to raise our voices to talk ourselves. And there was /no/ other noise in the room, and she was standing just in front of them. And she didn't draw breath for five minutes. When the other couple's table was ready and they disappeared (not having been able to eat their appetisers due to being talked at) we heaved a sigh of relief. Then she reappeared and came to talk at to us. Mercifully shorter but just as loud, and obviously not actually interested in anything we had to say, just making her presence felt.

We moved into the dining room (lovely little vases of fresh wild and garden flowers everywhere). It was a reasonably small room, and there were two other couples besides us. Two. There was a deathly hush over the room for a lot of the evening. The couple in the far corner conversed occasionally in whispers, and the older posher couple behind us (think retired Major, in fact we'd decided the whole place was ideal for a episode of Midsommer Murders) talked at normal volume which I was immensely admiring of and Chris found very irritating. We sort of murmured on a level in between. But seriously, it could have done with some background music or something.

Our starters arrived - Chris had Cornish crab with crispy salad (which appered to be the small bits of cucumber and tomato on top of the crab tower). I had smoked haddock mousse with cucumber and dill. Now the salmon mousse we'd had at the cottage had been fantastic, and I suppose I was expecting something like that. What arrived, was a rounded mound of bright yellow something, in a lake of equally yellow something, all flecked with green dill strands (one of which I discovered plastered to a tooth much, much later). I took a bite. Only, it wasn't a bite, because this had the consistency of very wet scrambled egg. So fortunately (or I don't know what I'd have done, because it didn't come with anything) there was bread on the table, and I mopped it up with that. It was - yellow, is about all I can say. And slightly fishy. And the texture was truely foul.

So the mains arrived, I had confit of salmon (I'm not entirely sure what confit means*, but I'm reasonably certain it doesn't translate as 'a piece') with onion risotto and creamed leeks and saffron sauce. The first mouthful gave the impression of a rather chlorine-y taste, which I thought for a heartsinking moment was the fish, but tracked down to the saffron sauce. So the generously sized salmon was nice enough, and the (very) little mounds of creamed leeks were ok. The risotto was rather claggy and not the best I've ever had, but hey, it was edible.

Chris had loin of Gloucester Old Spot pork, which I thought was a bit tough and overdone, but he liked. Oh, the crackling was fantastic though. Celeriac mash, roast new potatoes and marjoram sauce. He gave it the seal of approval, but said there could have been more of it.

I had been going to have the crisp lemon tart with cassis sorbet, but when this was delivered to the couple behind us it looked like the sorbet was just a drizzle of purple round the outside. This obviously came as a surprise to the lady as well, as she queried it, and it turned out the waitress (or the chef, presumably, unless he'd gone to bed by this point) had forgotten it. So it arrived rather forlorn in a little metal cup. But I'd gone off the idea by then, and plumped for the iced strawberry parfait with strawberry and balsamic tart. The tart was a brandy snap basket with chopped strawberries (in a balsamic something, doubtless) and the parfait was indeed iced, so much so I thought I was going to break the plate getting the spoon through it. It was okay. The whole meal was okay, which is a shame, as at each point it had the potential to have been fantastic.

Chris had almond chocolate brownie with white chocolate ice cream, which disappeared reasonably fast so must have been good.

We went back to the bar/lounge for coffee, and were given squares of something dark chocolatey with bits of fruit in to go with it.

As soon as I'd put down my coffee cup the waitress/barmaid appeared and asked if we wanted anything else from the bar. I'd barely fnished saying no when she said 'oh I'll get you the bill then we can close up'. Erm. Okay, we'll be off then. Ten pm it was. Bye.

* Confit (French) is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months, and can be reheated to extend its useful life. Well I'm fairly sure it wasn't that.

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At 9:13 am , Blogger searleyeditor said...

You expect me to read all that! I thank you for the pictures


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