Eating Out: the Hop Pole, revisited

As we had such an amazing meal last time (see previous post) we decided to dine here again for dad’s birthday last weekend, and again it was amazing. I’ll keep this post/ review brief as my last one pretty much covered all the bases but I just couldn’t not share these beaut food pics with you..

Trio of pork: roast fillet, slow roasted belly and pulled hock croquet with mini toffee apples, baby leeks and roasted beetroot. Each part of the trio had a character of it’s own but all married together nicely and went lovely with a big glug of Hendersons. It felt like there was half a pig on my plate but I managed to plough through it.

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Rabbit and black pudding Wellington with roasted carrots, parsnips and a rich jus. Lovely and moist and full of flavour.

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And… The biggest steak and ale pie I have ever seen, served with chips. Naturally. Lovely tender beef and tasty boozy gravy. mmmm gravy.

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On another note, I know this is supposed to be all about food but I couldn’t resist sharing  a picture of this she-wee contraption, speechless.

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Bruges: My chocolate and beer heaven

After visiting Bruges last month, a very appreciated birthday present from my parents, im still mesmerised by the beer, frites, chocolate and waffles. It’s left me with a taste for more (my mouth is watering at just the thought).

After arriving and having all the faf of finding the hotel (apparently I’m not the best map reader) we were starving and set out to find lunch. We ate at one of the many restaurants in the main Markt square, I’d normally go for something a bit more ‘off the beaten track’ but as we were only there for a couple of days I felt we should have the full feel. It was club sandwiches all round which to be honest were not great for the 14euro price tag but they filled a hole and the view of the bell tower was worth it.

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Next, my favourite part one word: beer. We tried a few places but for a day beer a definite try is the duvel cafe which is just upstairs in the museum on the main Markt square. The duvel is reasonable and the surroundings are amazing, the outside area looks right over the square. Great for me as I could partake in my favourite activity, people watching.

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Looking around I had definite beer envy of other drinkers beer tasting boards. We just had to come back the next day to have one ourselves which definitely did not disappoint.

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Then came the waffles, well you can’t come to Belgium and not have a one. We had one topped with caramel and one with chocolate and cream which we shared. Oh my christ, they were amazing.

In the evening we ate just off the square; after much indecisiveness between the Bruges beef stew in pale ale and mussles in white wine sauce I decided on the mussles. Looking round and seeing everyone gorging on these giant saucepans full of them I couldn’t miss out. And I didn’t, I ate nearly all of them (which was a lot) and left very satisfied. The boyfriend went for steak (for a change) which was also a delight.

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We had after dinner mojitos the craving for beer set in and we set off on a beer mission, well when in belgium. After, traipsing round in search for a typical beer cafe my boyfriend noticed by chance a place down a side street. The pub- the place to be were offering over 100 beers, we were in. Were chose about 6 different beers between us throughout the night and shared all. The favourites were pajais and mango beer, which I’ll be trying to track down at home.

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With bellies full of beer I only had one thing in mind, frites and that was it my heart was set on it. We visited a frites shop which look like your typical fast food place but that it wasn’t. For one everything was made to order which was just making me hungry and impatient!! But we waited and can I say, it was well worth it. My food highlight of the whole weekend!

The next day was home time, gutted. After another day of beer and frites (yes, round 2) there was only more thing to do, chocolate shopping. There was only one thing, I didnt bloody buy enough.

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So there it is my little foodie trip of bruges. It is definitely one of the most amazing places I have ever been I recommend everyone to go, I can’t wait to go back. It has left my craving more. I need to find beer, frites, chocolate and waffles this good at home!

Oh and just a couple of pictures from our canal tour, a definite must.

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Eating out: The Hop Pole

Having eaten eaten here a couple of times I jumped at the chance when my mum suggested The Hop Pole for Friday night tea. The settings for this place is beautiful, right on the canal side just out of Retford with great outdoor seating area I was gutted the weather wasn’t up to it and we wouldn’t be dining al fresco. The inside is just amazing, some would describe the decor as being a bit garish but I just love it, I always find myself just staring in amazement at all the colourful chairs and light fittings. Attention to detail even goes right down to the menus; I loved the newspaper style, the presentation was just great even down to the picture describing the beef cuts.

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What we ate: I ordered the braised beef blade off the specials board, it came with garlic mash, buttered baby veg, and jus. I could not say a bad word about this, from the beef which just melted in the mouth to the baby onions, carrots, turnips and leeks which were a delight. The mash was creamy, the jus was packed full of flavours so good there was no need to add any extra salt.

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Mum had trio of fish, also on the specials board which came presented in such a beautiful way- what a delight!! The trio was a big chunk of cod, mussles and fish pie which had big chunky pieces of salmon, prawns and mussles in, great! All this was served with sweet potato fries, pea purée and crispy capers, I’m told that it was really good, not that I got a look in.

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And finally dad went for steak, rump, a trend is forming here again this came out looking absolutely impeccable. The steak was cooked to perfection and came with all the trimmings and the chips came in a mini fryer basket, brilliant. I’m such a sucker for all things mini.

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What we drank: I kept it simple with a glass (or maybe two) of Pinot Grigio, dad was on the Heineken which is also a favourite of mine I’ve just had this little soft spot for it since I did the brewery tour when in Amsterdam a few years ago. Mum was the designated driver so kept to the coke.

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On the drive out I spotted the kitchen garden where this place grows its own produce, you don’t get more local sourcing than that.

Such a lovely experience, a definite recommend from me and somewhere were I will definitely be visiting again hopefully when the sun is shining so I can be in the gorgeos seating area watching the world go by.