Today we took a trip out into the Essex countryside.
The main reason for this was to get our ‘free lunch’ courtesy of TopTable. I have been steadily earning lots of points over the past year, and suddenly noticed a couple of weeks ago that some were due to expire very soon, so I thought I’d best book something up!
The last free meal that we had was at the lovely Cantina Vinopolis on the South Bank, but i fancied something different.
In amongst the usual reward redemption venues was the lovely looking Baumann’s Brasserie, which is out in the pretty Essex village of Coggeshall (yes, I did take the photo of the church today – that really was the colour of the sky!)
Baumann’s Braserrie is a deceptive restaurant – it looks a little like a small tea room from the front, but opens out quite airily inside. It feels unpretentious but ‘nice’. However, I think the food outshines the surroundings.
Our ‘free lunches’ were two courses from the ‘lighter lunch’ menu, which is available Wednesday – Saturday.
For starters, I plumped for the radichio, smoky bacon and red wine risotto
As it was set on the table in front of me, there was the wonderful aroma of the fresh rosemary. i liked the fact that I got to pour some red wine over myself, as it was presented in the spoon as above. The textures were amazing, the rice still had a little bite, it was smooth, creamy, and with unexpected little nuggets of goats cheese/feta (I must admit I’m not altogether sure, I am not a total foodie!). Sublime, but not too heavy.
The Man plumped for the Scotch Ducks Egg with turmeric pickled vegetables and walnut sauce.
Now, the look that passed over his face as he was eating was sheer pleasure, LOL. he said that he could happily have eaten it all day. the blobs were chutney, and I tried a little of the cauliflower (which I usually hate!) and it was totally scrummy.
I am NOT a fish-eater, but seeing as I wasn’t paying, and seeing as The Man couldn’t make his mind up, I decided to go for the polenta-crusted plaice with fennel slaw and ‘red sauce’ (and thenswap with the Man’s burger if I didn’t like it).
The polenta was crisp, the plaice was soft, the fennel slaw was crisp and flavourful, the ‘red sauce’ was almost sweet and sour – it was heavenly!
The Man had gone for the homemade burger with melting gorgonzola, chips and tomato chutney.
The burger was medium, the chips were crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and perfectly seasoned, the gorgonzola wasn’t over-powering and the chutney was tasty (it was in a little bowl behind the burger!).
Being a sad bint, i got very excited by the side order of mixed salad that I had ordered – I didn’t take a pic but it had the perfect balance of different leaves, finely shredded white cabbage, radish, carrot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and even mango! the dressing was superb – a lovely slightly mustardy ooziness coating every element perfectly. Mmmmmm…..
So, I paid for just our drinks and then we had a drive round…and an hour or so later, happened to come across The Blue Egg at Great Bardfield just as I was saying I fancied a cake and a coffee.
Oh…my…god! i am SO glad that we found it. This was only part of the cake display, and honestly, what a fantastic display to come across when you fancy cake!
The Man went for a pear and frangipane tart, but demolished most of it while I was in the loo, so I couldn’t get a pic. I must admit, seeing as he made a perfect Bakewell during the week, I have to say his frangipane is better! however, i actually had the best cheesecake I have ever had in my life. it was soft, and full of flavour and almost melted away in my mouth. Black cherry and chocolate cheesecake – heaven on a plate.
So, a marvellous day all round. I am so glad I didn’t have any breakfast! And I will be saving up my TopTable points, and hope to take my parents to Baumann’s for a treat soon…watch this space to see what we’ll have then 🙂