Well finding good places to eat is essential to Travel Gourmet when it comes to holidays! I must confess, however, that I didn’t have any idea what was on offer in Aldeburgh until after I’d booked my stay at The Cross Keys and started looking at restaurants here. When I saw The Lighthouse listed as the town’s best restaurant, a local favourite for 20 years, and that it was in the Michelin and Harden guides then I just had to book to eat there.
I booked a table for 7pm and when I arrived it was already busy. There are large seating areas downstairs but I was taken upstairs. Here was a simple but attractive room. I was given a choice of tables, which for a solo woman diner is a great sign of good service.
Service all the way through was excellent: vey attentive and efficient but with a relaxed friendliness too.
There was plenty on the menu I would have happily eaten but having checked it out online first, I was clear about what I wanted. There were some nice appetisers to go with an aperitif but they sounded too much for one if I wanted a starter. The waitress however asked if I’d just like some bread with olive oil and balsamic and that was perfect.
I chose a salmon based starter. There were three salmon dishes: a hot smoked salmon served cold; salmon rillettes; Lighthouse 77 gin and beetroot cured gravadlax with pickled cucumber.
It looked wonderful and each element of the dish was delicious.
For my main I chose sea bass fillet on a saffron risotto with crispy kale and courgette ribbons.
Again, this looked great and lived up to its promise. I noted immediately that the fish didn’t have the usual crispy skin you usually get with sea bass fillet but it was so delicious and moist it seemed all the better for it. The saffron risotto was particularly delicious and crispy kale so lovely I must learn to make it.
I ordered a glass of white Burgundy to go with my main.
The first two courses were so good I decided to have a dessert, which I don’t always do. I chose a lemon polenta cake served with custard and a pistachio ganache.
It looked good but was actually a bit disappointing. I wasn’t sure warm custard – although clearly homemade and the real thing – was a great accompaniment and the pistachio ganache had a strong almond essence taste, which I didn’t like. The cake itself, however, was excellent – wonderfully light and lemony. I would have preferred it on its own with maybe just some cream or creme fraiche.
Apart from the slight disappointment at the end, it was a lovely meal in an attractive setting with great service, so I’d definitely be keen to eat there again. The bill was very reasonable at £48.25 (service not included).
Outside it was still light – we’re close to the Summer Solstice and longest day. I headed to the beach where it was quiet and peaceful and found a bench to sit on for a while, enjoying the view and just the sound of the sea lapping at the water’s edge and seagulls flying overhead.