The arancini of my dreams

This weekend I am in Norwich visiting a friend who recently moved back home. This is my third time in here, the first was back in 2011 for my sister’s hen when, as you can imagine, we didn’t see much of the place, then more recently for Mr Gosling’s mum’s birthday when I managed to see some of the city. And you know what? I like Norwich, not only is it the birth place of Mr Gosling and the legend that is Delia, it’s also a really lovely city with some great history and lots of old building to take Instagram pictures of.

A good measure of any friendship is when you get a message saying I really don’t like gin and tonic but I know you do so, want to go to a gin festival? Emm, yes I want to go to a gin festival.

The festival is great if you like gin and great if you don’t as K discovered. Actually she does like gin just not tonic.

On arrival at the festival you get given a large Spanish gintonica goblet style glass from which to swill your gin. This glass is yours for ever so you should look after it. With the help of our trusty gin book we decided what to sample. We also joined an Adnam’s masterclass to learn a bit more about the process of making gin.

The team behind this event are a husband and wife and it’s amazing to see them go from strength to strength with festival up and down the country. In this endeavour they are assisted by a bunch of slightly dodgy, bearded scousers (Sean, bearded scousers words not mine).

Gin of note to try:

Pinkster- packed with raspberry and awesome with some mint

Bromwells- nothing like any gin I’ve ever tasted packed with blueberries and bramble favours

Pink Pepper – quite spicy, again not like anything I’ve tasted before (Sean, good recommendation).

If you want to go and drink Gin then you can find the next festival here.

Back to dinner. We headed for 42 Kings Road for a Norfolk take on tapas. K ate there recently and discovered to her surprise she knew Lee the chef owner having done a ski season with him many years ago and much more recently some training.

Our first problem was deciding what to share, even more so after some of our joint picks were sold out.

In the end we settled on:

Baked Camembert with red onion marmalade

Chicken coconut curry with mushroom pilaf

Mac 3 cheese & smoked ham arancini with garlic mayo

Baked duck egg and sausage hash in a tomato sauce with new potatoes and spinach
For tapas,  four felt mean but k assured me it’s not really tapas, and she was right. Generally with tapas style eating you need three dishes to feel like you’ve eaten a meal. Here, a single dish is an entire main course pretty much, it’s probably my main compaint , I know ridiculous, sorry we had too much food. Because they are so big, you order less dishes but I always want to try everything. Let me tell you now a full baked Camembert between two with everything else, don’t do it. It’s a great dish but why do all restaurant never give you enough bread and red onion marmalade? When we asked for more we got more than the original portion and then we had to eat it! So full.
It was all good but the stand outs for me were the arancini, oh my god they were so good, I keep thinking about them. Maybe I should try to make them.

And the curry, the chicken was thigh and cooked with skin on which kept it super moist and tasty.

The food is great value although I was amazed to see sweet potato fries at £7, that would be scandalous even in London. And yes I would have ordered them but they were on the sold out list!

The service was lovely, very personable and I am ever grateful to Nicoletta for seeing into my soul and knowing I couldn’t drink more wine but that I could, absolutely have an espresso martini, wait a salted caramel espresso martini, be still my beating heart.

It was amazing and the perfect way to end the night, except we didn’t.  We went out dancing.

My advice for 42 kings road, go in a big group so you can order lots, oh and an elastic end waist band would have helped.

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