Friday, 6 April 2012

Out and about: Baumann's Brasserie

I think I found a new favourite restaurant.

Last night I went for dinner at Baumann’s Brasserie in Coggeshall, Essex and it was rather lovely indeed.

Read about the owner, Mark Baumann here.

We booked a cheapie deal through TravelZoo for three courses and a glass of fizz on arrival and it’s clearly popular as we had a little trouble finding a suitable date for our booking.
On arrival they had no record of our booking, but had us listed for the following night, which was probably the result of a few rearranged dates. Either way, they found space for us (thankfully, as I’d gotten a whiff of the food and I wasn’t leaving until they fed me) and whilst we waited for our table we settled in to the big squidgy Chesterfields, surrounded by funky animal-print wingback armchairs and full-to-bursting bookshelves, to peruse the menu (see here) and the daily fish choices with our glass of bubbles.

We were shown through to our table we spent an agonising fifteen minutes debating the best food ordering strategy as there were about three options in each course I could have easily devoured.
After ordering our food and a cocktail we were offered some cute canapés, I chose a tiny smoked salmon “ice cream”. Yum.

Bread and dipping oils arrived and then our starters. I was torn between Camembert & sugared leek fillos, wild mushroom ketchup, mushroom dust, Hot smoked salmon crumpet, fennel & olive carpaccio, Two way duck – crispy & tataki, teriyaki toothpaste and Creamy spinach soup, stilton toasties, crumbled bacon
“Mushroom dust”? “Teriyaki toothpaste”! “Stilton toasties”? How to choose. In the end I chose the toothpastey duck which arrived with a little metal can of crispy duck on a bed of chopped spring onion and cucumber and a little pile of duck tataki… and a tube of teriyaki toothpaste! No joke. Proper Heston Blumenthal stuff! I took a sneaky picture as it was so cute, but, not wanting to look tacky, I kept the flash off! Super cute.

Some crappy, no-flash, photos of my genius food!

As a middle course, there were only two opnions so we chose one of each. A Bonfire sorbet, which was basically a hot chilli sorbet with popping candy crystals hidden under the spoon so when we dipped in, little tiny fireworks went off at our table. Too cute! The Butterfish cooked in chilli and coke was a super-tasty fish broth with little chunks of white fish served up in half a Coke can. Amaze!
For our main course we had toyed with various ideas but in the end settled on Ham wrapped fontaine filled breast of chicken, bloody mary tomato confit and Stoved venison pave, spinach gnocchi, redcurrant juices served with a colourful pile of fresh market veg and our choice of potatoes (we went for creamy spring onion mash). Deeee-lish!

Dessert also presented some choice issues with a list of the most delectable-sounding puddings. It’s probably one of the best, and therefore troubling, dessert menus I’ve seen in a long while. I can’t bear lists of fruit, mousse, possets and other “light” options, but it does make it easy to pick the one stodgy dessert without much brain fuction. Dessert, in my opinion, should be heavy, creamy, stodgy and worth every bite. So, when faced with such an amazing list, I found it very hard to choose. I made a snap decision and went for the Salted caramel chocolate sponge, custard & homemade marmalade and another glass of fizz but also took a good few bites of the Banana custard cheesecake, crushed raspberries & whipped cream. Next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll be sampling the Hot buttered cherries splashed with Cointreau, vanilla ice cream & baby meringues and the Baked honey cream, spiced ginger nut topping, Italian orange biscuits.
We finished off with coffees and homemade petit fours (white chocolate fudge and dark chocolate truffles) before heading home to lay very, very still to avoid bursting, Monty Python style!

Quick mention for the loos (as always), super cute, illustrated with kitsch French murals by Amanda Sheldrake and cute touches like  a "no peeping" peep hole. Obviously I peeped!

Super yum, super cute and super worth the argument over who’s on driving duty. Hoping to head back very, very soon. They also do afternoon tea and the town is so cute and pretty it'll be perfect for a girly day out!

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