54 minutes away from Colchester lies the pretty village of Orford. It is our little family tradition to go there on Mothers Day and eat delicious food.
I say it's a tradition but today is only the second time we have been as my son is only 2 and 3/4. The first time we went there, last year, I decided I would like to retire there. It's beautiful. There is a lovely church, 2 pubs and a post office but what sets it apart from many other rural villages is not only the added bonus of a Castle (Orford Castle), an award winning Smokehouse (Pinneys of Orford ) and a wonderful fish restaurant (The Butley Orford Oysterage) it is the gorgeous (in every sense), Pump Street Bakery.
Then as soon, as we had finished our mid morning pitstop we walked across the road to the Butley Orford Oysterage.
It really is a must visit place for anyone traveling through Suffolk. It has had lots of super reviews from some very highly regarded food critics (including Jay Raynor and Thomasina Myers) and it was even mentioned in a thank you speech by one of this years Oscar Winners! (Mat Kirkby offered free Pump Street Bakery doughnuts for life ).
When we went to Orford last year unfortunately there was no room for us to sit in, it has just one long refectory table for those wishing to eat/drink in, but today we were in luck. I know not everyone is a fan of communal tables but I find it a great opportunity to chat to people. The family next to us had moved to the area from South West London so were in a similar boat to us. It always makes me feel a bit better to meet other people who have moved out of London. Communal tables also give me the opportunity to eye up other peoples food at close range. The South West London guys were having the French Toast which looked amazing. If we weren't about to have lunch over the road at the Oysterage I would have ordered a couple of portions and probably passed out.
However, we opted for a coffee and a Cinnamon Danish instead (although we did bring doughnuts and sourdough home for an afternoon treat...), which was delicious of course.
It's a no frills fish restaurant which serves lovely fresh seafood from the local area. As with the staff in the bakery, the staff here are very friendly and its another 'must visit' if you are in the vicinity although you may have to book a table in advance. It gets very busy.
When we looked through the menu we realised, if we ordered everything we wanted to eat we would have been ordering 5 starters and 6 mains for the three of us, it was very hard to choose which dishes to have! However, we eventually settled on the Brown Shrimp, 3 Oysters and Whitebait to start . Delicious. My son only ate the heads of the whitebait and I only wanted the bodies so it worked out pretty well.
Then we moved onto the mains and had an amazing spot of good luck. There was nothing remotely unusual about the insides of my delicious smoked trout but inside one of Wig's mussels, he found a tiny pearl!I think I'm going to try and get it set into a little ring.
It really was a perfect day out made even more memorable by our little pearl. I feel after all the upset of 2014 this is our little symbol of hope for 2015. Thank you Orford, for a really wonderful Mothers Day. See you next year.