I've had a lovely weekend so far. On Friday evening I came up to York and went out for a delightful meal with leonato
at The Park. They do a seven (plus optional extra cheese) course tasting menu, and the first couple of courses were perfectly pleasant, but flawed. The first was a game ragu that was just a bit too thick to feel like a soup, and therefore seemed unbalanced without any kind of carb element (and it's not very often you'll hear non-enough-carbs as a criticism from me!) The second was scallop with cauliflower and lentils, and was quite strongly spiced, in a way that I'd like by itself, but was a bit overpowering for the fish, which felt like a shame.
After that though, they really stepped up their game, and my enjoyment of each course increased monotonically. Sea trout with wasabi, beetroot and cucumber came together in a splendid fusion of British and Japanese flavours. The main course was pork done in a multitude of ways, really highlighting the versatility which is my favourite thing about the meat. We were served Baron Bigod cheese, which had the pungent cauliflower flavours of a good ripe brie, but the smooth creaminess of a fresh ricotta.
We had a lemon pre-desert with tea, ice-cream and posset; all intensely citrussy, but with the acidity and sweetness perfectly balanced. And as a final course a trio of spiced quince, a sherry parfait, and a pistacio mousse, topped with a sherry ice-cream with a flick of salted caramel. If I were to make one criticism of this dish, it would be that each element was better by itself than in concert with the others, but that was easy to fix by eating them one at a time, and the individual parts were all very very tasty indeed.
Eight courses for two and a wine pairing for one came to a very reasonable £230 including service.
On Saturday I went to Castle Howard, where leonato
was singing carols. Every year they transform the house with a different Christmassy theme, and this year it was the Twelve Days, so as we went round there were geese-a-laying and swans-a-swimmng to be spotted amongst the finery. We finished touring just as the choir were about to sing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I like carols a lot, and hearing Mark sing is always one of my favourite things.
Later in the afternoon I travelled over to Sheffield for sfred
's 40th Birthday party. It was an excellent gathering, full of excellent people. It was particularly delightful to have a proper catch up with barakta
and to finally meet miss_s_b
in the flesh, after many years of knowing her online. Unfortunately I had to leave relatively early, so I only caught up with taimatsu
very briefly, but I was very pleased I got to see her looking jaw-droppingly stunning in her new suit.
The journey back to York was much less enjoyable, due to mild incompetence on my part meaning I spent a lot longer waiting in cold train stations than necessary, discovering that at some point during the day I'd lost my kindle, and the presence of some rather obnoxiously loud drunk people on the last train. But I got back eventually, and there was a very handsome man waiting to warm me up, so I can't really complain all that much.
This morning I'll be heading back to London for an afternoon of rehearsing for and an evening of singing in the St John's Carol Service, and then headlong into show week for the Oom Pah Pah, the LGMC Christmas Extravaganza.