A two AA rosette restaurant with rooms by the sea. Review by Leah Larwood – www.rootsandtoots.com
Recently, myself and my partner had a room and dinner reservation at The Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh. It had been in the diary for weeks. I drove up ahead and spent the day at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and later my partner would join me after work. Unfortunately, late that afternoon he phoned to say he had became unwell. He told me to go ahead and enjoy myself. We had dinner reservations in the two AA rosette restaurant, and for once, dining alone didn’t appeal. Instead the hotel staff were very accommodating and brought my three-course dinner to my sea-view room. (Although I missed my dining companion, between me and you, it was utter bliss.)
With a generous supply of seafood just a stone’s throw away, The Brudenell’s Seafood & Grill has cleverly kept its menu simple and fresh. The restaurant is light, open and spacious and feels relaxed and entirely unpretentious. The large windows surrounding the eatery overlooks the uninterrupted sea.
I started my evening with an aperitif Bellini: Prosecco with peach puree (£8.50) alongside a humble-sounding amuse bouche of Pickled Cockles (£2). There was nothing ordinary about them. Being a Norfolk girl and living close to 90 miles of coast, I’ve tried a few cockles in my time. As we all know, the secret to good seafood is the length of time its been out of the ocean. These were of course Suffolk cockles, fresh, soft and the right amount of springiness. Pickled to perfection, with a sweet edge and not too much vinegar. I could have kept going.
Other items on the ‘Nibbles & Platters’ section of the menu include Chorizo with Sesame and Honey; Crudités, Marie Rose, Olive Paste and Pesto; and Spiced Nuts.
I’m a huge sourdough fan so I also ordered some Pump Street Sourdough with Salted Butter (£5). I adore the Pump Street Bakery, which is located in nearby Orford. In recent years it’s gained an unrivalled national reputation for its baked goods and artisan chocolate. This sourdough had the right balance: soft, chewy, sour and bubbly.
I moved onto a glass of the Prosecco DOC Treviso, Cantina Bernardi (£7.50), which felt like a happy marriage to the Crevettes with homemade Wasabi Mayonnaise (£9). Again, sounds simple? A dish like this doesn’t need to be complicated. The Suffolk caught crevettes were so fresh, meaty and delightful. There were six in the serving, which was just the right amount as they weren’t small. The homemade wasabi mayonnaise contained the optimum amount of wasabi and the kick needed to complement the flavour of the crevettes. It convinced me that regular homemade mayonnaise with prawns just won’t do anymore.
Seafood of course takes centre stage on this menu, and for my main I could have chosen from several of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including some tempting looking options like the Moules Mariniere in Parsley & Shallot Cream with some homemade Chipped Potatoes or even a Whole Lobster with Garlic Butter. There were also three choices from ‘The Grill’ including Grilled Pork Fillet, Celeriac, Savoy, Scallop with Mustard Cream. In the end I opted for the ‘Catch of the Day’, which I spotted advertised in the hotel’s lift earlier.
Pan-fried Bream Fillet, Cauliflower Puree, Saffron Turned Potatoes and Cauliflower Dressing (£18). The bream’s crispy skin was delicious and full of flavour. The cauliflower purée was smooth and creamy, delicious with the fish, which rested on a bed of Italian black cabbage, bright green and buttery. The saffron potatoes were the perfect texture – buttery and melt-in-the mouth, lightly fragrant with saffron, not too overpowering but a good waxy sidekick to complement the dish. The cauliflower crumb made with lime, salt and rapeseed oil was lightly crunchy and zingy – this lifted dish and added a new dimension – so good. Overall one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a while. Unquestionably fine-dining standard and worthy of its two AA rosettes.
The main was a good match to the house white, Marius VDP d’Oc, Michel Chapoutier 2016 (£6). I didn’t require any sides with the main, it was perfect as it was but if I had space I would have gone for the delicious-looking Green Beans with Shallot Relish or the Broccoli with Chili and Lemon.
For dessert I opted for the Chargrilled Pineapple, Waffle and Coconut Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce (£7). At first this struck me as an unusual choice for a menu such as this. A grown-up version of a children’s classic perhaps? The homemade Belgian waffle was thick, stodgy, sugared but not too much. The perfectly charred pineapple was a juicy component alongside the subtle creamy, coconut ice cream. A big, rich yet tangy dessert but perfect after lots of light seafood. Though not for the faint-hearted.
Other puddings that almost lured me in included the Poached Plum Panna Cotta with Nut Granola and the Hawkston Cheddar, Binham blue, Suffolk brie with chutney.
Breakfast is also served in the same restaurant. The following morning, I enjoyed watching the sea and reading the papers, there was a very relaxed and convivial atmosphere. There are all the usual suspects on the breakfast menu including fry-ups ‘The Suffolk Breakfast’, pancakes and smoked kippers, along side lots of healthy options including Local Mossy’s Yoghurt and Avocado & Tomato with bacon and poached egg on toast. If you don’t manage to make breakfast, the hotel offers room service or you can enjoy pastries and coffees in the lounge, which arguably has even better views of the sea than the restaurant.
The Brudenell Hotel, Aldeburgh
Seafood & Grill