Last night some friends were able to get a babysitter for their hurricane, so we went to the Sugar Loaf Inn for dinner. We were 40 minutes late due to a combination of bad planning and a late taxi, but that didn't phase them at all. The main dining room is a dark wood panelled room - very cosy - but we were out in the conservatory, which I think was much nicer for a pleasant autumn evening.
My husband and I have been there several times, so we knew the food was going to be lovely. It's one of the restaurants we have discovered through reviews in the local magazine Optima. We are so lucky to have a decent local mag, even if they do only review places that advertise (but it wouldn't be a local mag if they didn't favour the advertisers).
We ordered champagne and were asked twice what we were celebrating; unfortunate that there is such a strong perception that you can't have champagne just because it is Friday and champagne is delicious. We were sort of celebrating - but it was more about having a nice treat.
I had a charcuterie platter, which was just lovely, with a range of pork loin, chorizo and proscuitto and nicely toasted ciabatta slices, cornichon and olive to accompany. I thought the grain mustard was a slightly odd addition - something fruity would have been better to my mind. I was very tempted by the foie gras parfait, but since I was planning a rich main and hoping to have room for pudding I didn't go there. My husband did, so I got to taste. It was served a bit too cold, so it was a little stiff, but as it melted on the palate the flavour was just wonderful.
For main, I had mussels in a wine and cream sauce with chips. The sauce was so thick and rich - I couldn't figure out if it was just reduced cream or if they'd thickened it with something - that, with all the determination of a sweet tooth, I couldn't fit in pudding, and I couldn't even finish the sauce. I did manage to snaffle some of my friend's crackling, from the Amersham belly pork with smoked black pudding (one of the dishes I have had before, best black pudding ever). A good piece of crackling is a joy forever.