Wedding "Breakfast" at Matfen Hall, England
Here at a good friend's wedding in Newcastle Upon Tyne, I learned three interesting cultural things about England:
(1) A wedding dinner is called a "wedding breakfast," not because it is actually breakfast, but rather because of the traditional sense of the word: breaking fast.
(2) A wedding "breakfast" is usually served at around 4PM, meaning you must eat a very big (morning) breakfast or a very small lunch...unless there is a spread of food later in the evening for late arrivees.
(3) Sorbet is often served between the starter and main course, instead of as a dessert. The intention is to cleanse the palate before starting the main course. Perhaps this was borrowed from the French?
Anyway, this meal was really good, dispelling any traditional stereotype that English food is boring. The Salad of Tiger Prawn and Baby Gem with Marie Sauce and Sun Blushed Tomato Pesto was very fresh. The Gin and Tonic Sorbet was crisp and clean, which was perfect for the job described above.
The Braised Shank of Lamb with Rosemary and Red Wine Sauce was the standout though: the meat was so tender that it fell off the bone, and with almost none of that signature lamb taste (apparently this "country house hotel" uses only organic ingredients). The cabbage in particular was one of my favorites. Finally, the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch sauce was nice and warm, without being excessively sweet. This was a pretty darned good meal overall, and certainly very hearty and filling.
A pint of the local North Yorkshire-based John Smith’s Extra Smooth ale is always a welcome addition too (even if it takes a couple seconds for the head to settle) – geez I wish we could find more ales in Singapore.