The Ship Hotel – Brancaster, Norfolk (UK)

The Flying Kiwi Inns is an independent group of luxury hotels in coastal Norfolk purchased by New Zealand Master Chef Chris Coubrough who has settled in the area. The Ship Hotel in Brancaster is one of those luxurious hotels. I already stayed at The Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea and blogged about it here a few years ago. Paulo and I really enjoyed the great food, wine, service and ambience and were eager to repeat the experience at The Ship Hotel. I’m pleased to say we were not disappointed.

the-ship-hotel-brancaster

the-ship-hotel-bar-area

We had a bit of a stressful drive during Storm Doris but when we arrived at The Ship Hotel, check-in couldn’t have been more effortless. Within minutes we were shown to room 9, which I requested upon booking over the phone, where we could unwind before dinner.

the-ship-hotel-bed

the-ship-hotel-collage-room

The deluxe Moroccan-themed room on the top floor featured a comfy King-size bed, a luxurious roll top bath, separate shower cubicle and a great little nook with a sofa bed nestled in the corner.

the-ship-hotel-nook

Room 9 on the top floor was the pub’s attic before the refurbishment but the high ceiling in the roof’s apex and the original wooden beams made the room feel spacious.

Continue reading

1H+K – Vaasa (Finland)

Once in a while you stumble upon the perfect little restaurant that has it all: great food, ambience and service. 1H+K is that place, although it happens to be in Vaasa, Finland so I’m not able to pop in nearly as often as I’d like. However, I did make the most of my short stay and enjoyed dinner at 1H+K twice.

1hk-stairs

1hk-pentik

1H+K stands for one (1) room (huone) + kitchen (keittiö) and that’s exactly what it is, although there is a private dining room available (they call it a cabinet). The restaurant (ravintola) is tucked away on the first floor above the Pentik shop but it isn’t part of the store. It’s completely independent and is accessed through the main entrance with its own staircase. However, you can spot the restaurant from inside the shop.

1hk-inside-view-pentik

1hk-view-from-pentik

Its relatively hidden premises is part of the charm. It’s like discovering a secret location for those “in the know”. It certainly feels as though it’s the type of place only locals know about, as there is no English version of their website. Fortunately, I was able to find their main menu on their Facebook page that included the English translation. The dishes feature local produce and seasonal cooking, which means that the menu changes a few times a year and remains small (as it should be) with 4 or 5 items per course.

1hk-interior

Continue reading

The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

A few months ago, I was kindly invited to sample The Cock’s new à la carte starters and mains menu, designed by talented head chef Wil Findlay. I was seriously impressed and raved all about it here. I also vowed to return and experience the restaurant as a customer. I had that opportunity on Monday!

The Cock sign

The Cock side sign

The Cock, which is one of the restaurants operated by Cambscuisine, isn’t one of their Cambridge locations. It’s located in the picturesque village of Hemingford Grey in Cambridgeshire (out Huntingdon way) and it is definitely worth the drive. Its focus is on high end casual dining, with no sign of pretentiousness. Reservations are strongly recommended as The Cock has been garnering rave reviews and has even been named the 2015 Cambridgeshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide.

Collage The Cock

Paulo and I arrived 10 minutes before the restaurant opened at 6:30pm for dinner so we were able to enjoy a drink in the cosy pub, which has a separate entrance but still connected inside for staff to make their way from one section to another. The Cock’s building dates back to the 17th century so some parts have a quirky layout but it is all quite charming.

Continue reading

The Anchor Inn – Morston, Norfolk (UK)

North Norfolk is one of my very favourite places to eat. Its seafood, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables are always fresh to the plate. In my search for new places to indulge in some local food and drink, I came across an interesting article written by James Ramsden for The Guardian, which addresses why we return to our favourite restaurants time and again (read “Why we never get fed up of our favourite restaurants”). The Anchor Inn in Morston was recommended by Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage. Now Sarah lives in Norfolk and makes the best pork pies on the planet… so I took her word for it and promptly booked a table for 2 at The Anchor Inn.

Anchor Sign

Anchor Exterior

The result? A delicious lunch in a very charming country pub which, by the way, was a one time haven for 19th century smugglers and fishermen!

Continue reading

The Dining Room, Poets House – Ely, Cambridgeshire (UK)

Poets House in Ely, Cambridgeshire has a city centre location but once you enter the courtyard, there is a little hideaway waiting for you. With its luxury rooms, upscale restaurant (The Dining Room) and bar serving afternoon tea and casual food (The Study), Poets House has everything you need for a lovely getaway. They even offer private dining and 24-hour butler service.

1

Collage Room1

We chose the Classic Stay Package, which included two cocktails at The Study, dinner at The Dining Room, bed and breakfast. Check in was effortless and valet parking was available at no charge. Very convenient for a city centre location, in front of the majestic Ely Cathedral.

Continue reading

Delifonseca Dockside – Liverpool (UK)

After an impressive visit at Delifonseca‘s café bar on Stanley Street, my husband Paulo and I decided to pop into Delifonseca’s Dockside location for lunch and a spot of shopping on our way out of Liverpool. It is housed in a colourful and functional building on Brunswick Quay with the added advantage of ample free parking.

Delifonseca Dockside

The deli caught my eye as soon as I entered… so many lovely displays of delights as far as the eye could see. I was tempted to turn right and keep exploring but hunger beckoned. We were greeted warmly and guided to a table in the restaurant section at the left. We had a great table by the window and settled in the comfy chairs as we perused the menus at the table and on the chalkboards.

Restaurant

Continue reading

The Crown Hotel – Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (UK)

The Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea is one of the luxury hotels in coastal Norfolk owned by The Flying Kiwi Inns. They are known for serving some excellent food as the restaurants have New Zealand Master Chef Chris Coubrough at the helm. My husband Paulo and I had these places in our sights and we finally decided on an overnight stay and dinner at The Crown Hotel.

HotelThis charming former coaching inn overlooks The Buttlands, with its spacious village green and majestic trees. Picture perfect.

CrownThe magnificent golden crown at the entrance assured us of a regal experience as we eagerly explored the rest of the hotel.

We were impressed by the pleasant bar with its cosy little nooks in which to unwind, the bright and cheerful orangery and the more formal dining room. After checking in, we were shown to a spacious deluxe room with a comfy sofa and bed, including an abundance of pillows to help us settle in and relax.

Continue reading