Pea Porridge, Bury St Edmunds

Before anyone thinks I’ve gone into restaurant reviews, let me stop you right there. If I wrote reviews of food I ate out it would run to no more than a few sentences. It’s less that I am overly easily pleased (although I am fairly easily pleased), more that I run out of things to say about food. I either don’t like it, or I do. I don’t think I have a very sophisticated palate in that I can’t really tell if there is coriander missing in something.

I’m missing that gene.

Really the point of this is more a selfish one. In the same way that my blog now reminds me of things I like to eat and make, this will I hope be a useful repository of places I’ve been that I’ve liked. But it is nice to share good places you’ve been, no?

I don’t live in Bury St Edmunds, which I affectionately call Biddy St Edmunds as the proportion of old biddies (yes, yes, I will be one myself soon) seems to be quite high there and I often seem to have run-ins with them looking at me like I’m going to mug them or not locking the toilet doors in places and then accusing me of trying to burst in on them (“I didn’t lock the door because I was scared of being locked in” happened to me twice, in the space of 20 seconds two weeks ago).

But we don’t live far from there and we visit the Picture House there often, and love it. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to the Barbican cinema, which I used to frequent when I lived near the Barbican in London. Sometimes we escape to the pictures during the day.

This is when and where the proportion of old biddies is really high. Especially if you go on a Wednesday which is market day. Two weeks ago, whilst ‘queuing’ to go into the auditorium, one old biddy turned round and properly screamed when she saw me like that character in Catherine Tate.

The market in Bury is great btw.

We went yesterday and we – my partner and I – got told off for eating our popcorn too loudly by this really grumpy, rude old man. We weren’t, of course. But, for five seconds, we were the young, annoying people. It made our day. We saw Grand Budapest Hotel which we thought was fabulous and afterwards we went to Pea Porridge which is a bit out of the way in a residential bit. But still a very short walk from the centre.

I wanted to eat everything on the menu – really rare for me – and we really struggled to choose two things. I had two starters: grilled squid with black risotto rice, the remnants of which you see in the picture up there (no way am I taking pictures of my meals out like a nutcase, this is what was left). My ‘main’ was a starter of grilled venison heart in a salad with some walnuts. For pud I had poached quince with fromage frais and crumbled amaretti which was light and fresh and yummy. Prices, as you’ll see from the menu, aren’t ridiculous and you can have a shot of brandy or something hair-on-chesty, afterwards for under £3 which is super reasonable.

The bread was so good I almost stole some on my way out – an oil-encrusted focaccia. They carbonate their own water here to cut down on packaging and transportation costs. The espresso was spot on.

IMG_5572

It was all amazing. Easily the most memorable meal I’ve eaten out in years. This is not a posh formal restaurant, it’s in an old bakery but looks like it’s in two houses knocked together. It’s laid back, great service. Note that it’s not open every day.

I would thoroughly recommend it.

And that’s it.

There was a table of old biddies sitting next to us but their conversation was sprightly and fun. One uttered the great line of “we had a girl stay with us for a while in the attic”.

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