Review: The Almonry, Ely

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This past week was mine and my sweetheart’s official 2 year anniversary, so on Friday night my man took me out for what ended up being the most amazing dinner🙂. It was just by chance we stumbled upon this gem after a series of other dinner plans fell through.

The Almonry has been serving food since medieval times (13th century), and the building dates back to the 12th century. It was formerly the house of the monastic almoner who dispensed alms to the poor. It overlooks the historic Ely cathedral and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay which was superb. It was mildly sweet and light and the perfect accompaniment to dinner. It was lucky we took the train in however, as I was about halfway to hammered after half a bottle. Will be on the lookout for this Argentinian wine from now on.

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We started off our culinary adventure with baked Camembert served with 8 rosemary shortbread medallions and redcurrant jelly. The gooey Camembert was delicious as was the redcurrant jelly. The shortbread had the texture of a biscuit and while it was enjoyable I would have preferred some toasted, fresh baked bread. But it was nice to try something different.

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For my main dish I had duck breasts served with a duchess potato and cabbage parcel in red wine au jus. I’d never tried duck before and was pleasantly surprised to find it is much like a cross between dark chicken/turkey meat and a steak (at Christmas I always fight for a turkey leg). It was very moist and delicious.

The mashed potato was buttery and creamy and I only wish there was much more of it on the plate as I could have eaten that all day. The au jus was savoury and I all but licked the plate.

The cabbage parcel was interesting; the flavours reminded me of Mexican or Spanish cooking; as I am not a huge bacon fan I would have preferred a plainer side of well-cooked and seasoned local vegetables, but again, I can appreciate the creative flair and still enjoyed it.

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My man had a homemade lamb burger with sweet potato fries and a tomato, feta and mint salsa. He enjoyed both the burger and the potato fries. I tried a small piece of his burger and discovered lamb is too gamey for me; it resembles a strong goat cheese.

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We just squeezed in dessert before running to catch the train home. I had the lemon tart with clotted cream and raspberries. The raspberries were so fresh and bursting with flavour, the tart was quietly lemony, and as this was my first experience with clotted cream, I was surprised to find that it resembled milk more than it does whipped cream as I had expected. As it turns out, clotted cream is not at all sweet, but complimented the sweet raspberry sauce well.

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My better half had the warm brownie with mint ice cream, and let me steal a bite. As a brownie lover, it was bliss🙂.

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Altogether the meal (bottle of wine, one starter, two mains, two desserts) came to £70. While this is more than we would normally spend, the prices are reasonable for a special evening out.

The restaurant was not busy when we went and it was lovely having the garden to ourselves; the staff were very attentive and the food prompt.

The view alone made the evening more than worth it and we only wish we’d had time for a stroll through the gardens. We honestly felt like royalty. We would go back in a heartbeat.

5/5 stars

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