We are meeting Jem & Sassy for dinner at The Bell in Ramsbury. Dinner with friends and chatting about a wide range of topics can occasionally be an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows….I feel a theme coming on.
Rock loves a vegetable that has suffered and the raw, roast & pickled cauliflower with blue cheese and apple is a perfect choice. Jem and I both decide on the crab mayonnaise with pickled cucumber & shaved fennel – it is both fresh and delicate in flavour. Sassy’s cultivated mushrooms are more robust with pearl barley, coddled egg, crème fraiche & rosemary flatbread.
Sassy remains robust until she finds her haddock gently battered, her chips triple-cooked and her peas completely crushed. I am bitter and excited…. much like the pint of Ramsbury Gold I am enjoying. Mainly, my excitement is generated by the prospect of trying the vanilla & lime mash that accompanies my confit duck leg, roasted vegetables with damson & port sauce. The duck is great, the mash is good but not quite as exciting as it sounds.
Rock upsets the harmony of the tender roast partridge, parsnips, blackberries, bread sauce croquette, baby gem & Chantenay carrots by eating each item individually. Jem enjoys the roasted fillet of salmon, sea vegetables, brown shrimp, seaweed & chicken broth. Chat turns to some difficult areas and some of us are in need of a hug!
I am passionate about good chocolate and I cannot resist trying the chocolate torte with cherry compote, chocolate soil and blackberry sorbet. The zest of the compote and sorbet cut through the delightful richness of the torte. Sassy has an exuberant mix of ice creams while Jem simply applecrumbles for dessert with vanilla ice cream.
It has been a wonderful evening with a great deal of laughter and the odd tear. The food has been excellent, service good and the company has been fabulous. I hope we’ll be back here again before too long.