If like me you are a lover of food I am sure it is, or was, on your bucketlist to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant at some point in your life. In the UK heading to London is the obvious choice when it come to finding a suitable restaurant but quite frankly there are a lot to choose from and they are incredibly expensive. When I found out that Galton Blackiston had a restaurant/hotel in North Norfolk that had one Michelin star I was set on trying this place out, and what better opportunity than my ten year anniversary.
We decided to really treat ourselves and not only visit for the seven course taster menu but to have a one night stay at the hotel, that extra bit of luxury. So here is my review of a one night stay at Morston Hall.
We were allowed to check in from 2pm and after exploring the North Norfolk coast all day we headed over to the village of Morston which is located very close to Blakeney. The hotel is tucked out of the way and has a beautifully lawned area outside. It looked perfect. When we checked in we were asked if we needed a paper for the morning and told what time dinner would be served, before a member of staff carried our bags to our room. We had managed to book the Sandringham room which was within the main house. The room was incredible, decorated traditionally and we had a king sized bed and a seating area fully stocked with a great choice of magazines including ones about Norfolk. The bathroom was lovely and clean and there was even a TV you could watch when taking a bath. Tea making facilities were provided along with fresh milk and home made shortbread.
We had a few hours to relax and make use of the room and even ordered drinks to be brought to the room before getting ready for dinner.
We were told that canapes would be served from 7pm prior to dinner starting at 8pm. On arrival to the restaurant area we had a choice of two seating areas to receive our canapes, order drinks and have a chance to look at the menu. The best part of this restaurant is that the menu is a seven course tasting menu that changes regularly based on what is in season and what can be sourced which means you don’t find out what you are eating until you arrive. This is maybe not for anyone that’s a fussy eater, but if like me you will literally eat anything then its probably up your street.
We were offered three different canapes, a Baron Bigod and Parmesan Cookie, a Scotch Egg with sauce Boudran and Dexter Tartare with Sourdough and Caper Jam. These were all delicious and a sign of things to come. We sat in the conservatory area which was light and airy and gave a lovely view of the garden. Time seemed to go by quickly once we ordered our drinks and we were soon seated at our tables where we were given the option of still, sparkling and tap water before starting our meal.
With our first courses we were offered freshly homemade bread, choosing from either a white sourdough or a treacle and beer bread, with plenty of butter. There was also the option to have a wine pairing with the meal which if you love wine looked really good as you got a lot of different wines and had them explained to you by the sommelier. Unfortunately being pregnant it wasn’t an option for me. The first course was a butternut squash veloute and felt like a little teaser, it was surprisingly delicious and the mix of textures was pretty mind blowing (my second favourite course). This was closely followed by the starter of Wagyu Beef, the quality of which was amazing.
Seven courses sounds like a lot of food to get through and I wasn’t really sure what the set up would be like, but the way each dish was served it felt like you were out for a normal meal, there was not time pressure but you also didn’t feel like you were sat around waiting. The service from the waiters and the waitresses certainly helped with this, professional at all times they presented each meal perfectly before explaining the meal to us. They had a system with which tables got served first and by the time they got to the last table there would be little time before they had to start clearing the plates of the first table again, it appeared seamless.
Even the vegetable course was delicious and not something I would ever order if given the choice as I love meat. Fresh asparagus with morels and a comte sauce, it was incredibly rich and I was able to use my left over bread to mop up the sauce, yes I remained my usual classy self. The fish course was my husbands favourite and I always enjoy eating seafood when visiting the coast. It was nice to try a different type of fish, having john dory with a mussel sauce, it was an incredibly delicate fish that I would definitely have again although I am not sure I could cook it as well myself. Finally the main event, the meat course and I was not disappointed, Anjou pigeon, I have eaten pigeon before and I like it, but I have never eaten pigeon that tasted this good. This was by far my favourite dish of the night much to the waiters surprise who said they have a few complaints about serving a bird considered to be vermin to many. Don’t be put off, its a gamey red meat and its delicious.
Now who doesn’t love getting two puddings. I was a bit apprehensive about the first pudding as it was a coconut rice pudding, my only memories of a rice pudding are bowls of slop and although I like coconut milk I do not like desiccated coconut, those of you who can eat a bounty bar are animals. Luckily this was a lovely light pudding, with a hint of coconut milk and the addition of puffed rice meant it wasn’t sloppy. It was a great pallet cleanser after some rich dishes. This was closely followed by the most amazingly presented dish of the night, Vanilla Bavarois and Gariguette Strawberry, essentially an amazing collection of vanilla and strawberry flavours including mouse, jelly, coulis, sorbet and fresh strawberries. What is not to like.
By this point I was stuffed, seven courses of food had been served and a lot of time had passed, some people had started to leave as they were clearly satisfied with what they had eaten. The problem is someone then uttered the words cheese trolley and I love cheese! It cost extra at £15 but in my opinion if you are going to eat an epic meal you have to go all out. So I obviously said yes. The cheese waiter arrived at our table with a trolley of cheese, we were allowed to choose five types of cheese. He knew a lot about cheese, asked what we liked and didn’t like and explained each cheese to us and where it was from. I felt like I was in heaven. I do not like blue cheese but I am literally up for all other cheeses. I settled on two goats cheeses, a hard and a soft, with the hard cheese having my name, so I couldn’t resist. A brie, a smoked cheese and a normal hard cheese. These were served with homemade crackers, quince jelly, grapes and celery. It was the most unnecessary food I have ever ordered but I enjoyed every minute.
We finally retired back to the room where we had had our canapes (4 hours earlier) where we had a cup of tea, whisky and home made chocolates. One of the waiters came to our table with a box which had 7 types of chocolate of which we were allowed to choose two each. I opted for the salted caramel and the cherry. They were delicious, I could have easily taken the entire box. At this point I was incredibly grateful that we had decided to book a room at Morston Hall as I was so full. We just about made it back upstairs before slipping into a food coma.
After an incredibly comfortable sleep in a king sized bed we had a very relaxed morning, it was amazing how quiet it was, it felt like we were in the middle of no where with no one around for miles. Unbelievably it was time for breakfast which was included in our stay, held in the restaurant area where we had had our dinner. Our table was marked with a lovely decorated stone with our room name on it. The menu once again was extensive, I wanted everything but thought I best be sensible as I was still full from the previous night. There was a choice of hot drinks, juice, cold breakfast items and cooked breakfasts. I opted for salmon and poached eggs as a ‘light option’ whereas my husband went for the full English. There was a more relaxed vibe in the morning, although the service remained at a very high standard. Much to our surprise whilst we were stuffing our faces with breakfast Galton Blackiston actually came out the kitchen and asked how our dinner had been and asked if we had enjoyed our stay. You never expect to actually see the chef behind the Michelin star, it was a really nice touch and made the whole experience feel a bit more special.
Time to leave
Unfortunately it was time to check out, we had eaten our body weight in food, had a good nights sleep and we had plans to do one of the Norfolk circular walks around Blakeney. We settled our bill when departing and was very happy with what we paid. The evening meal had cost us £85 per person plus the £15 extra for the cheese trolley and our room had cost roughly £200 for the one night. This sounds like a lot of money and it was, but for a special occasion it was every bit worth it and I personally think that the meal is incredibly well priced for the service and food you receive.
Even if you think that staying at Morston Hall is a bit out of your price range it is still possible to book for dinner and stay elsewhere locally. There is plenty to see and do in this part of Norfolk and it would be easy to fit it into any trip if you have a special occasion to celebrate or just want to have a fancy meal. You will not be disappointed that is certain.