Archive | July, 2011

The Anchor

21 Jul

I found myself in Suffolk the other month to help Mark walk around shops and stick up posters for a new writing theatre festival. I tagged along like a good and supportive girlfriend, but I will be honest, if the prospect of a nice dinner wasn’t on the cards I wouldn’t have been the one handing over bits of bluetack. With help from the Good Food Guide and an extensive google search complete with menu comparison we decided on The Anchor in Walberswick. I find when a cheese soufflé is on offer, there is no competition.

Which is why I was thrown slightly when, seated at our table, menus in front of us, I couldn’t see the word ‘soufflé’ anywhere. I am surprised my eyes didn’t burn holes through the paper I looked so hard for it. The next five minutes were spent convincing myself that fish soup was really what I wanted because it would come with a spicy and garlicky rouille.

“Are you ready to order? Or would you like to hear the specials?”

“No, no need for that. Fish soup for me please.”

“Actually, I would quite like to hear the specials.” Mark interjected.

I am not entirely sure how it happened, but I somehow ended up with a fish soup with a grainy texture while Mark tucked into a deliciously piping hot, fluffy, cheesy soufflé. I couldn’t even taste the garlic in my rouille. I am still sad about it, I shouldn’t have brought it up, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

I was thoroughly out of sorts, which was not helped by the sudden aversion to scallops that I had developed when we were served our main courses. Luckily I didn’t have to eat them as I had ordered steak and chips, but just the sight of them on Mark’s plate nonchalantly hanging out beside a piece of monkfish was enough to send waves of nausea through me. I was able to endure these bouts of sickness for a while as my steak was juicy and perfectly rare. I continually pointed out the delightful redness underneath the charred outside of the meat to Mark who was sufficiently impressed.

However, about half way through my steak I began to lag. Mr Creosote would not have needed that wafer thin mint to push him over the edge had he just eaten this. I hate leaving food, especially if I have had to pay for it, but it was just not an option on this occasion. The lady who ran the place jokingly challenged me to finish it, but the idea brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t have done it if my life depended on it. I spent the rest of that course slumped in my chair, my back to Mark in case I caught a glimpse of a dreaded scallop and sweating profusely.

It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when the plates were cleared away. In fact, the sense of relief was so immediate I was able to sit up straight in my chair and peruse the dessert menu with no worry of vomiting or exploding à la Mr Creosote, a character I began to have strong sympathy for.

I went for the Panna cotta with cherry beer jelly and was rather amused by the presentation of it. I like to imagine the chef having spent hours trying to make the dessert look elegant slamming his fists down upon the plate, biscuit in each hand, while screaming ‘I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE’ and thus the shortbread positioned naturally into their fateful places.

I once made a Panna cotta and used so much gelatine that it was like trying to eat a rubber brick. The consistency of this one was much the same, but I still enjoyed it. The jelly was brilliant and I was flooded with memories of eating those beer bottle jelly sweets as a child. You know the ones – they tasted inexplicably good whilst being explicably weird at the same time. I liked this dessert a lot.

Look, I know I said I didn’t want to talk about it, but had I had that soufflé I would be planning my next trip to Suffolk. Instead I can only look back on my experience with the deepest of regrets. Most of you will just understand this to be an anecdote about how I made one wrong course choice, just one of those things that makes life what it is. But I believe my story has a deeper message.

If you don’t follow your souf… I mean dreams, you will inevitably be disappointed.

The Anchor
Main street, Walberswick, IP18 6UA