Review: 745pm Farmhouse Fine Dining
Stowmarket, United Kingdom
Farmhouse Fine Dining
18 people found this review helpful
Not quite on the road to nowhere, Middlewood Green is the kind of place you need a cat's curiosity to visit. Unless, that is, it is Friday or Saturday, and the time is approaching 745pm.
Tempting though it is to keep the secret, this is when service begins at the eponymous restaurant. Numbers are already in on it, to judge by our visit, when every table was booked.
Just off the busy A140 that carries traffic between the even busier A14 and Norwich, Moat Farm is a dream of past times and slow food. Even so the cuisine is of the present though service reflects an Italian influenced culinary experise.
The policy is upfront, as the website and brochures make clear: five set, seasonal courses with canapes before, sorbet between and coffee or tea to end with chocolates or petit fours. Vegetarian or specific diets are catered for on notice. Reservations are important as there are fewer than 30 covers, although parties of up to 12 can book for other evenings. The price too is set. Wine is for the most part on a self-service basis, sourced from Wine Aid at prices of house plonk at most other restaurants. And this is anything but plonk: we had a Sancerre drinkalike from a neighbouring vineyard at £16.25: delicious.
Given the drinks policy, it is very helpful that cars can be looked after overnight and taxis home booked. To judge by our fellow diners, local taxis must do better on Friday and Saturday than throughout the rest of the week.
We arrived at 7.30 as advised so the policy could be explained and everyone would have time to settle. The canapes were a filo parcel with feta and nuts plus a crab nibble. This gave us time to order a quarter bottle of Prosecco at a reasonable £5.50. (Sparkling and fine wines – still fairly pticed – are the exception to self-service.)
The first course was chilled tomato and red pepper soup with basil oil and freshly made olive focaccia. This was both refreshing and appetising, set off well by the Prosecco. There are complimentary jugs of iced water also, which are refilled frequently.
Each succeeding course has a photograph so the arrangement can be appreciated though my comments on flavour must be taken on trust. The extra piece of our local Suffolk Brie on the macedoine of garden vegetables came courtesy of a diet-conscious companion. It is delicious but made from 100% Jersey milk so not to be taken lightly. The vegetable flavours were delicately enhanced by mint and honey.
The Prosecco ended its tour of duty and the Quincy was uncorked in time for ballotine of sea bass in a lemon thyme sauce with a hint of mustard, accompanied by broccoli and – for colour contrast – a nasturtium flower. Not just a pretty sight: plenty to savour before the lemon sorbet came to clear the palate.
Duck in a damson sauce with saffron risotto that had an exquisite hint of cardamon as delicately infused as the bergamot flower was placed on it. A blend of opulence and – with a bow to pseuds' corner – tact.
Each course had seemed a 'now follow that' challenge to the next, but the dessert was never going to be outdone. Raspberries that could have been individually selected had an orange zest cream sauce; the gooseberry and elderflower shot both cleansed the palate and gave delight; then there were strawberries in a soft cinzano jelly.
Generous amounts of coffee – none of your single doll's cup – and beautiful chocolate made for a memorable end to the evening. By the time I went to pay, since nobody brings a bill to hint at departure, it was getting on for 11 pm. Although there is a no tipping policy a small donation to Water Aid was easier done than taking change: be aware it is cash or cheque only. A wonderful evening, to be repeated as and when funds permit, with much relief Moat Farm is close to home.
18 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.