Pop-out, Pop-up

It’s been a while since I blogged – so some catching up to do. Let’s start with a playlist for those with Spotify – Click Here

This post is in three stages:

  • The Fantastic Truffle Pig Pop-Up in Brandeston
  • How do I give feed back when asked – “is everything OK for you” and whilst OK it’s not great
  • Why detox anyway?

The Truffle Pig Pop-Up

Way before Christmas, the delightful @suzannewilliams started mentioning the idea of a Pop-Up restaurant to be held at Brandeston Queen’s Head for one weekend only. I liked the idea; but from mid-January to mid-February I like to detox. For me that means no meat, wheat, dairy, fish, tea, coffee or alcohol. Now Suzanne’s other half is a great cook, I know because he has influenced the food at Brandeston Queen for some time now in his role as consultant, so I was rather sad to think I might forego the pleasure. However, quick as a very fast cheffy knife, they came back with ‘so? We’ll take you on, tell us what to avoid,’ thus a cunning plan was born.

A group of tweeting friends and other halves, six of us in all including @adrianmelrose, @fiswaff and @spudballoo decided to book. In the meantime Adrian experienced an epiphany (if that’s not too strong a word for it) and decided to become a vegan too, having read Eat to Live. Did Truffle Pig rise to the challenge? – You bet they did.

The aim with Truffle Pig was for Suzanne and David to run the show in their way, putting their stamp on everything from the food, suppliers to service and publicity. This is importantly different from acting as a consultant where you are influencing, advising and supporting others to develop their ideas. What a sign of a truly professional relationship though that the host location for this Pop-Up was Brandeston Queen’s Head who are current consultancy clients.

From the moment we walked through the door, coats were taken by attentive staff and we were directed to our table. The meat eaters had menus to select from but the detox two had each course introduced with due ceremony. To start was cucumber jelly with apple sauce and salad, delicate, colourful little roundels of jelly perfectly set and light on the palate. The main course included golden beetroot in a vegan consommé, rosti potato, with pak choi and tight spinach bundles. Desert was a trio of red fruit delicacies. For meat eaters there were such spectacular delights as pig’s head starter, pig’s trotters or blade steak for main course these of course were anything but ordinary. Every course created with the accent on flavour and beauty.

This was an evening to savour a long, leisurely meal with some absolute wow factors built-in. As if to prove that I’m not a food blogger, I failed to photograph anything as I went along; so many thanks to Suzanne for the photographs.

The extra good news is they are about to Pop-Up again. Follow @trufflepigpopup and register at their website to receive more information.

So half way through the detox and I was being treated like a queen – all good. Then came the end – time for a blow out meal but…

How do I give feed back when asked – “is everything OK for you” and whilst OK its not great

At the end of detox month, time for a meal out. I shan’t name the place (but if you think it’s you, ask). I have always said I’ll post the positives here and if there are negatives I’ll give feedback direct. First meat in a month, first wine etc, etc. I don’t think it was my palate being askew, if anything it should have been heightened and relishing good food. So how do I, or should I even, give feedback when food is OK, as in nothing to complain about (which I would do) but just uninspiring; the location hollow and empty and the whole experience leaving a feeling of – well we’ve tried it and now we know not to go back again? “Fine”. I would genuinely welcome your views. Since that meal another impromptu lunch date was totally unspectacular too – I swear, what gave the appearance of freezer sausages in freezer stew-pack veg with some watery stock does not constitute a sausage casserole in my book – “interesting”.

However I refuse to end on a down note – today I went to Marlesford Farm Cafe, squashed goat pie, mash and mushy peas – simple, fabulous in a deservedly busy, carefree atmosphere. p.s. no goats were squashed in the making of the pie, it is goat cheese and squash. When asked I was happy to say -“it was great thanks!”

Why detox anyway?

I promised Niamh a fuller response to her tweet to me (above). My version of detox might be more appropriately called a month’s rest. It is not intended to be a whole life change, but just to get me back on track after the Christmas excess, before you ask, I know I should just be less excessive over Christmas. It also is linked to dropping a few pounds in weight and getting out and active once again, fit and ready for the spring. It works for me. Basically I just eat super healthily for a month and then slide back into eating other stuff gently with the aim of being better with my self control thereafter. I am not trying to remove weird and wonderful substances from my body in weirder and wonder-fuller ways. I am more than happy to post Ben’s YouTube clip below, I don’t disagree with what he says, there is far too much hype about products etc., not sure that this clip is any more scientific than some of the things it is commenting on though. Many cultures, for many years, have had some period of abstinence, often fitting with religious festivals or timing that neatly fits with seasonal shortages or periods when eating certain foods might be more dangerous due to climate. None of this is new, a period of rest, a little pause, regroup and then off we go again.

One final comment:

RIP Broadhouse Hotel. Catering and hospitality is a difficult world. The Broadhouse Hotel recently announced its closure. It was a great place to stay. Sadly staff, customers, investors and suppliers will all have been impacted – it is such a pity, I can’t begin to understand the economics of it all, I hope others can and good will come of it in the long run.

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Posted on February 26, 2011, in Detox, food, Foodie/Green/Gardening, life changes, squash, Suffolk, Suffolk Diet and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Great come back! What an interesting post. I’m not a foodie at all but loved the pop-up and wish them well for the future. The whole experience was quietly attentive and thoughtful. What a super evening we had. I was quite jealous of the vegan plates actually.

    sorry about your disappointing experiences. I don’t really know how you give feedback in such circumstances. seems unfair to vote with your feet without giving a chance to respond but I would think that’s a harsh reality of being in the restaurant trade.

  2. Marlesford is now added to our ‘must try’ list!

    Guests/customers must vote with their feet, feedback is so important yet so few restaurants manage to work it to their advantage. Handled correctly, many lack lustre experiences can turn customers into fiercely loyal ambassadors!

    Passions run high in hospitality, when a restaurant/hotel/pub declares itself as hitting a certain standard, then doesn’t, the disappointment is palpable.

    So many factors influence what we do on a daily basis..it is truly a wonderful, stimulating, energetic yet insane industry! Not for the faint hearted.

    Fab fab writing!

    • Add Mains at Yoxford to your list too. Paupers night tonight 3 courses £15 three choices for each course. Superb, quality and value – quite amazing for the money.

  3. I’d be pissed off that the meat eaters were given a choice, while you were told what you were going to eat.

    That really bugs me.

    • Oh I may have given the wrong impression – this was all done very much in the spirit of “these are the restrictions – now surprise us” – which they truly did, no copping out with unadventurous alternatives, true wheat free, vegan fine dining.

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