Sometimes you need a break from blogging about finance committees at Colchester Borough Council; sometimes you need to see what Sunny Colch has to offer outside of dry, localgov pdf docs.
Sometimes you need MEAT.
Which is why on Sunday afternoon we stepped out into the not exactly Sunny Colch conditions to sample what the Gamekeeper’s Daughter and her team had to offer down at the old Waiting Room in St Botloph’s.
We emerged a couple of hours later laden down in protein, and with a probing question as to why we are blogging about the business of CBC when we could devote an entire Sunny Colch blog to MEAT.
And other foodie stuff…
Jess – for she is the Gamekeeper’s Daughter – has been operating out of the flexible space at the Waiting Room for a few months now.
Where once weary travellers parked their backsides whilst waiting for the delayed No.62 back to Wivenhoe, now sees a fine dining experience with pheasant being served up.
We admit to not being foodie snobs. A fine dining experience Vs large chips and a cheeky saveloy from Dr Chippy down the road would have us favouring the fry up every time.
But fine dining needn’t mean a false and sterile restaurant experience.
It’s all about the food, isn’t it?
Good news then for MEAT lovers of Sunny Colch. The Gamekeeper’s Daughter can provide the high quality that you would hope from fine dining. The Waiting Room is able to bring you back down to earth with a more ‘rustic’ ambience.
We never did like empty white walls and mood music with our MEAT.
The atmosphere at the Waiting Room was incredibly relaxed. A bright spacious room, with contrasting views of the Colchester Cultural Quarter (yeah, yeah…)
Eyes right for the Golden Goose of firstsite, eyes left for, well, eyes left for St James House and what is looking like an increasingly ugly blot on the St Botolph’s landscape.
But back to the food.
We were greeted with an incredibly prompt service. Seats were taken, and before we even had the chance to check in with foursquare, aperitifs arrived.
This was unexpected. Our dining companion (who is usually happy with fish finger sarnies) reckons that it was elderflower with a couple of bobbing raspberries.
Bang on with the raspberries, but we’re not sure about the elederflower. Either way, it was very refreshing.
A very simple online booking was made earlier in the week. A MEAT or veggie option was available.
We’ve nothing against any ideological approach to food, but when dining with a Gamekeeper’s Daughter then it would seem odd not to devour at the MEAT.
Local Pheasant braised with white wine bacon and shallots was ours for the taking. This was served up with roast apple, celeriac, parsnips and smashed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts.
It is impossible to make Brussel sprouts taste half decent. Unless you dine with the Gamekeeper’s Daughter that is.
The MEAT was piping hot and tender. The bacon added a tasty contrast to the white MEAT of the pheasant.
— Colchester Chronicle (@ColchChronic) November 23, 2014
If we were a crappy Sunday supplement foodie writer then we would probably make a joke about being plucking good.
You want MORE?
Not really, but who can turn down homemade Banoffee Cheesecake?
Our dining companion certainly couldn’t. Not until she got halfway through the rich desert and realised that she had too much on her plate.
Don’t mind if I do, Madam.
A cappuccino and a summer fruit gin washed it all down, just as Jeff Buckley blessed the dining experience with Hallelujah over the Waiting Room speakers.
Fine food, fine music and some local art to fill the walls.
Stick that, poncey Soho fine dining experiences.
Oh – and here’s the disclaimer: we were offered a free meal down at the Waiting Room in return for a bit of blogging action over the meal.
We’ve only ever accepted one freebie here at The Chronic – and that was because how ever much we absolutely LOVE Dexy’s, we thought that £30+ was pushing it a bit for the Arts Centre gig back in 2012.
So yeah, we gratefully coughed up for the price of two full on Sunday MEAT meals – £15 a pop.
If it was a ropey restaurant experience then we would have a clear conscience in saying so. But it was absolutely ACE (as we’re sure that Dr Chippy’s also is on a Saturday afternoon).
Our only criticism was the Sunny Colch weather.
But that’s just picking the MEAT off the bone.
You can make bookings for the Gamekeeper’s Daughter at the Waiting Room each Sunday over here.
Back to those bloody CBC pdf docs.