Sunday 12 October 2014

A Birthday Weekend at; The Bronze Pig, Bunty's Tea Room & Lindum Books .... Lincoln

Phew it's Sunday, and a lovely sunny Sunday it is too. We've had a hectic few weeks lately - a week in the beautiful little resort of Akyaka in Turkey, followed by a full-on work week and my birthday on Friday. 

I've wanted to eat at The Bronze Pig in Lincoln for so long now. I am a huge fan of food programmes and my all-time favourite show is Masterchef, I adore it. The Bronze Pig is part-owned by Eamon Hunt who did really well in the 2012 series of Masterchef, I so wanted our Lincoln boy to win, but he had some tough competition. The Bronze Pig has been receiving rave reviews ever since it opened, and my hint-dropping worked! Martin booked a table, we were in!

It was truly fantastic, everything that I expected, and more. From the moment that you walk through the door, to the moment that you leave you really do feel as though you are a very special guest. Front of house is part-owner Pompeo who guided us to a table in the window and explained that the table was ours for the night.

The Bronze Pig is not a huge place, it is cosy and intimate with quirky decorations and the most comfortable, quirky chairs ever.

A bottle of mineral water was placed on the table, we ordered a bottle of House Rose wine, and a beer for Martin and waited for our first course. I ordered the scallops; pan seared scallops on black pudding served with smoked bacon, blackberries and a blackberry sauce. Martin opted for the duck; smoked duck slices, served with coleslaw and syrup. My scallops were divine, cooked to perfection; coloured on the outside and sweet and juicy inside, the bacon was crisp and smoky, the black pudding texture was superb and the accompanying blackberries were tart, plump and succulent. Martin loved his duck dish too.

I was in heaven, and could hardly wait to see and taste my main course; Pork Tenderloin with Apricot ~ Pork tenderloin stuffed with apricot, wrapped in pancetta and oven roasted, served with almondine potato, broccoli, roasted apple slice and a star anise, cider and stock reduction. This was pork as I've never tasted it before! Tender and still with a hint of pinkness, wrapped in crispy pancetta and stuffed with the sweet apricots, the almondine potato was perfect - fluffy mash encased in a crunchy outside, it all melted in the mouth. My plate was completely cleared.  Martin went for the beef fillet, served rare to medium and it was beautifully cooked; a huge wedge of fabulous fillet, browned on the outside, the knife just glided through it to reveal a beautiful pink middle. This really is heaven on a plate!

We really needed a break before dessert, to appreciate the wonderful things that we had tasted so far, enjoy our drinks and take in the lovely ambience of this busy, yet intimate little place.

Pannacotta is one of my all time favourite puds, and my hazlenut pannacotta, with figs, blackberries and syrup certainly passed the test - and the 'wobble' test. Just the right consistency and sweetness and complimented by tart fruit and glossy, smooth syrup. Martin's chocolate delice was a masterpiece on a plate, he cleared every last spoonful and gave a huge chocolaty sigh at the end.

I was thrilled when Eamon himself came out from the kitchen to say hello, he'd been watching my Tweets throughout the day, and the meal. I'm afraid I probably gushed a little, especially as he actually knows my hero Gregg Wallace! I had a glass of Limoncello on the house for my birthday - Cheers Eamon!

Our evening at The Bronze Pig is probably one of the nicest food experiences that we've ever had, the service, the surroundings and of course, the food. I will be dropping some more hints in the hope that it's not too long before I return!

The Bronze Pig, 6 West Parade, Lincoln, LN1 1JT
The Bronze Pig on Facebook, and on Twitter       Eamon Hunt on Twitter

No visit to Lincoln is complete if you don't go to Bunty's Tea Room. I've talked about Bunty's before on Random Things, when I visited back in June. We do our best to pop in for one of their wonderful sandwiches, or a piece of cake - or both - whenever we are in town. It was my birthday, I HAD to go to Bunty's this weekend!

We arrived late afternoon, so a table was available straight away, be warned though, if you visit on a busy day, at lunchtime, you may have to queue. When we walked by on Saturday, there was a queue forming up Steep Hill.

One of the best things about Bunty's is the welcome, they remember their customers and they care. I'd been tweeting about my birthday, and cake, so our welcome was even warmer on this visit.

Seated at one of the tables, decorated with a Lincolnshire flag, some fresh flowers and lots of old photographs, I made my choice. A slice of the coffee and walnut cake - it had to be done. Martin opted for the fruit scone, with jam and clotted cream. I also had a pot of Bunty's own blended tea.

The cake was scrumptious! A huge portion that I thought would beat me, but it's just so moist and so fresh that I was able to eat every last piece - and it came with a candle, and they sang Happy Birthday to me ~ such lovely lovely people, they deserve all of their success. Oh, and if you are a tea drinker, and you like a good, strong cuppa, I'd certainly recommend their own blended tea - served in a beautiful teapot and good old-fashioned china cup and saucer. The perfect Birthday tea and cake!

Bunty's Tea Room, 18 Steep Hill, Lincoln
Bunty's on Facebook and on Twitter

I've also mentioned Lindum Books here on the blog before. Lindum Books has been open in the Bailgate of Lincoln for around six months now, and it's a smashing little bookshop. They've really got involved with events in the city, and have hosted author events and signings over the past few years.

This weekend was the start of the Books Are My Bag 2014 campaign, and Lindum Books were taking part. I was delighted to have a browse around the shop, chat to the owner and see all of the #booksaremybag totes carried by people in Lincoln.

BOOKS ARE MY BAG is a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops. This collaboration between publishers, bookshops and authors and is the biggest ever promotion of bookshops. For many people bookshops conjure fond images of book readings, in-store cafes and delight at the discovery of a new author. In fact, 56% of all book buying decisions are made by consumers in a bookshop and high street bookshops (both chains and independents) still account for almost 40% of books bought by consumers. Yet, many high street bookshops are under threat.
The campaign launched in 2013 and was devised pro bono by M&C Saatchi and was inspired by the precepts of Lord Maurice Saatchi’s Brutal Simplicity of Thought,
I was so pleased to be able to get one of the 2014 collector's edition of the Books Are My Bag tote, designed by Tracey Emin. I love it! I know that there are people who don't like it, or the design, but I think it's great. Of course, I had to treat myself to a shiny new book whilst I was there, and although I'm not a huge fan of Hilary Mantel's historical fiction, I have been intrigued by her recently released collection of short stories entitled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, so that was my birthday present to myself. I'll be sure to post my review when I've read them.

Lindum Books, 4 Bailgate, Lincoln, LN1 3AE
Lindum Books on Facebook and on Twitter

I had a really lovely birthday weekend. I love Lincoln and feel so lucky to live so close by. Maybe I've whetted your appetite for our wonderful city? If you get an opportunity to visit, please do - there's so much to see and we are very friendly!

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