I started this blog in April last year as a sort-of occupation of the mind. I had just been accepted into Southampton Solent University on a Multimedia Journalism course and so I thought my work would benefit from some practice. It never struck me how it would evolve in the way it has, not to mention how popular it has become. Before we took to WordPress in July, we had over 11000 hits! For a little food blog, I like to think I’ve achieved something. And so now here we are a year-and-a-half on and this is the 100th post I have written.
To mark the centenary post, I went to a very special restaurant in the company of my grandmother. The venue was entitled Storm, a fish restaurant that is along the old high street in Poole, just before the Quay. The fantastic thing about this restaurant is the daily-changing menus, which add an air of unpredictability to the meal, not to mention an element of surprise. A broad selection of shellfish: Mussels, Cockles and to our delight Oysters (see pictured). Recently, oyster stocks have been shrinking, so much so that a ban on fishing for them in the Solent has been instated in everywhere except Portsmouth. Naturally one can expect oyster prices to go up (and they weren’t exactly cheap to begin with!) For a half-dozen, we paid £10 (we shared them), so essentially the same price we paid at Dorset Seafood Festival in July, where it was £5 for three oysters. The Shallot Vinaigrette that accompanied them was a good combination, but I find an oyster with too much cold brine in it ruins the eating experience. I was resolved to drain mine before eating.
Our mains were more a topic for debate – I was torn between Whole Crab with chips or Cod Suprême with Welsh Rarebit. Fortunately my Nan was also contemplating either of those two dishes. She couldn’t remember the last time she had had crab, so she chose that (see pictured).
Watching her eat it was amusing though – she was desperate to not waste a morsel – especially as she was equipped with all the essential tools, such as a crab fork and what (to me) resembled a pair of pliers – actually a crab cracker (similar to a nutcracker, see pictured below).
Once she had gotten into it, I tried a small mouthful of the meat and my God – I have had crab meat before – but the taste was considerably different to what I have had in the past. There was a lightness and almost a gentility to the flavour.
Indeed by the time she started eating her main course, I had actually finished my Cod Suprême, which came served on a bed of mash and greens (see pictured below). The Welsh Rarebit element to the dish was non-existent as far as I’m aware, save for a little melted cheese on top of the fish. Welsh Rarebit typically is cheese melted over bread, but in this case there was no bread element. As I said, just some cheese, along with grain mustard, caramelised over the cod, which otherwise felt, smelled and tasted wonderful.
And I mean just look at that presentation. It doesn’t get much more pretty than that. The mashed potatoes were creamy to perfection as well and the mustard in the “rarebit” made a good complementation to this.
Well despite having scoffed all my Nan’s chips while she battled her way through her whole crab, I was still very much in the mood for a third course. I had perused the dessert menu beforehand and already nominated a Berry Eton Mess to be my choice – after two very heavily savoury dishes, a sweet, creamy and fruity dessert would be the only option.
I have seen Eton Messes made before at work in the hotel – they are in this case served in sundae glasses. Cream, fruit and meringue pieces are generally the main ingredients. A heart attack in a sundae glass is what I named it. This heart attack was so worth it though (see pictured). All of those aforementioned ingredients – blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries swimming in cream and raspberry sauce. Absolute Manna from Heaven, and well worth savouring every mouthful I can only tell you.
The only superfluous thing (and this applies to any dessert in my opinion) are the physalis fruits which often come as a decoration. They are a sort-of cross between a tomato and a gooseberry and I have never liked them since I first tried one in a home-made fruit salad in 2003, when I was ten. The chefs in Storm apparently like them though, as they accompanied both my dessert and the Apple and Vanilla Cake my Nan chose (see pictured). She was very impressed with the dish’s quality – not least because it came with freshly-made custard. However she was also taken with the added (and unusual) choice of chocolate sauce on the side of a fruit dish.
Well I will only say that the meal came to a huge nearly-£64, but this wouldn’t be an Expensive Tastes Centenary without a little extravagance. Maybe a touch overpriced (only slightly) and I was a bit annoyed about the whole Welsh Rarebit thing, but that still puts Storm among the higher-ranking restaurants of 2013. And very deservedly so.
I can only say that whether or not I stay in journalism rest assured this website will hope to continue for another 100 issues. Thank you to my dedicated readers.