Lunch in Lynn was a spectacular treat fit for a king, writes Rowan Mantell
We dine out at Market Bistro in King’s Lynn
When a neighbour is one of the most stunning buildings in the county and you are opposite the twintowered medieval marvel that is Lynn Minster, you have to be pretty special to stand out.
And, just along from the dazzling flint façade of the Guildhall, Market Bistro does stand out. Award-winning, colour supplement-starring, there’s been a buzz around Market Bistro for a while now.
A lot of restaurants profess to love local, but Market Bistro is a place to become besotted with local. The set lunch menu, £20 for two courses, £26 for three, was packed with Norfolk ingredients, but the tone was not obsessive or strident, simply using local fare where possible to create a menu where every dish became a compelling compilation of flavours, textures, methods and, quite possibly, magic.
Our set lunch began with a prestarter ball of deliciousness which contained a morsel of pork, some crumb and a couple of piquant dabs of sauce. It set the tone for a lunch to be savoured slowly. The starter of squid noodles was served with pickled vegetables and tempura mussels, with dashi (Japanese fish) broth, poured at the table.
For the main course my husband enjoyed Norfolk pheasant breast, accompanied by a Norfolk Winbirri red wine and I had the beetroot option. Sometimes a dish focussed on a large slice of vegetable can look as if the veg centrepiece has been subbed on for meat, promoted from side-of-the-plate to star position. This was very different. The hunk of tendertextured beetroot was obviously monarch of the meal, with an array of other vegetables dancing delicious attendance. It looked beautiful too with colours ranging from beetroot purple to pink tinged discs of celeriac and deep green fronds and leaves. Alongside the recognisable vegetables were small mounds of cauliflower mousse and beetroot hummus, their smoothness set off by smoked beetroot, delicate pickles and sweet, crunchy grains which turned out to be caramelised onion.
Howard’s pheasant was enhanced by confit parsnip, sprouts, red cabbage and walnut. When eating out I tend to choose something I could not make at home. I think every single element of this complicated menu qualified.
The set lunch dessert was a creamy, lemony curd brûlée with lavender and blackberry. Howard had coffee, and a fine range of petit fours served in a faux-book hinged box.
The décor is cosy – wooden floorboards and beams, walls of deep blue-grey, subdued lighting. Outside, a wintry day had turned to dusk as we lingered over a lunch to remember and left knowing that, set among the exceptionally fine architecture of historic King’s Lynn, Market Bistro is a gem. Our review visits are unannounced and we pay for our meals.
ABOVE AND RIGHT:The Market Bistro in King’s Lynn, owned by Richard and Lucy Golding.