AN INSPECTOR CALLS
His mission: To test hotel hospitality to the limit
THE Northgate is a welcome addition to Bury St Edmunds. It’s not in the best position (busy road), but is still only a short walk from the centre of this hugely under-rated town, with its thrilling cathedral that took 50 years to complete in the 1500s.
There are ten bedrooms. Ours is called Fitzroy and must be one of the biggest. It has a bath in the room itself, with a separate walk-in shower in the bathroom.
Everything is spanking new — modern but, at the same time, there are curtains with pelmets and thick carpets.
What doesn’t work so well is dinner in the restaurant, where the chef clearly is over-excited — and overelaborate as a result. I read the menu to my wife.
‘Pan seared salt cod, golden raisins, korma spices and yoghurt sorbet?’ ‘No thanks.’ ‘Cauliflower risotto?’ ‘Sounds promising,’ she says, before I add that it comes with ‘candied walnut and truffled honey’.
Only one other table is occupied. Staff are polite. One of them is nervous about making a mistake.
‘Can I take my water up to our room?’ says my wife. ‘Let me ask for you,’ she says. In the morning, we are shown to the smallest table even though no one else is there. I ask if we can move. ‘Let me ask for you,’ she says.
A painter/decorator is doing some finishing touches as we leave. That’s a good sign. We think the Northgate will soon be flourishing.