Saturday, 12 October 2013

Where to Eat in Falmouth: Hunky Dory

After I moved to Falmouth, one of the first restaurants I visited was Hunky Dory, which is conveniently located about a block away from Sasha's and my apartment. The restaurant used to be a favorite of the bio department, and was frequently the establishment chosen when a guest speaker or other important person needed to be treated to an upscale meal. Indeed, that is exactly why I wound up there many years ago: An emeritus professor had come back to visit the campus, and there was a large dinner party held in his honor. Since then, I've only visited Hunky Dory once--not because there is anything wrong with it, but because so many other great restaurants have opened in the last couple of years and enticed us away from the older venues. This week, however, Sasha and I revisited HD and reminded ourselves of what we've been missing all this time.

We wound up there a bit serendipitously; I initially tried to get us reservations at another restaurant that, sadly, was completely booked because the town is full of visitors who have come to attend the annual Falmouth Oyster Festival. Hunky Dory was merely the fall-back option, but our meals were so good that I felt a little guilty not having considered the restaurant as my first choice.

I started off with some local pressed apple juice, which was the perfect accompaniment to my baked goat cheese/apple puree/roasted chicory/date and walnut salad starter:

Sasha, who generally avoids starters in order to ensure that he has room for dessert, was forced to sit and watch me practically lick my plate clean. His only consolation was that my appetizer blended sweet and savory flavors, which, in his opinion, rendered it completely inedible.

Soon enough, he was able to enjoy his main course, which was one of the evening's specials: cod and prawns with saffron-boiled potatoes.

I tend to avoid using saffron because I have a hard time stomaching the price--especially considering that it adds much more color than it does flavor. I have to admit, though, that it does make for an impressive presentation.

Speaking of which:

This lovely tower of food is my main course, the mozzarella-stuffed saffron (again!) risotto cake, sitting atop creamed garlic spinach and a portobello mushroom. Basically, it was a giant arancini, which is fine by me; it's hard to imagine too many ways that risotto could be improved upon, but a little bit of breading and frying certainly does the trick. I liked having the veggies there to add some lightness and freshness to counteract the heaviness of the cream and cheese. Delicious.

As per usual, I was too full to indulge in a dessert, but Sasha had the (vanilla) panna cotta, which came with a fruit puree, a scoop of ice cream, and a shortbread cookie:

I may have helped Sasha eat the shortbread--but only to make sure it didn't go to waste, of course.
We also toasted the evening with some glasses of port, as tends to be our routine these days. I aspire to be able to drink one of these without having it immediately go to my head. Sadly, I'm not there quite yet; obviously I will need to do a bit more training.

In addition to very much enjoying our food, Sasha and I were also quite impressed with how attentive and friendly all the waitstaff were (including one who is also a PhD student in our department!). They acted as though we were favorite customers who visit on a regular basis. Though that is not the case, that sort of royal treatment makes me think that maybe we should make it a point to visit Hunky Dory more often!

Hunky Dory can be found at 46 Arwenack Street, Falmouth.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Foodie Penpals Reveal: September 2013

This month's Foodie Penpals parcel has been sitting around since late last week, just waiting to be opened. I've been so busy settling in to my new job that I have been lax about staying on top of other activities, such as blogging or peeking into packages related to blogs.

However, my curiosity finally overcame my feeling of being harried, and I set aside a few minutes to see what this month's penpal, Amanda Mercer, had sent my way. Amanda was kind enough to step into the breach after my first penpal failed to get in touch at the beginning of the month; with only a few days to spare before the shipment deadline, she put together this very decadent parcel so that I wouldn't be left in the unenviable position of sending, but not receiving, a penpal package.

As I have discovered from subsequent e-mails with Amanda, she is someone who appreciates the value of a good snack stash at work. I am not surprised about that, because many of her choices are exactly what you need to eat at 3 PM so that you have the energy and willpower to make it through the rest of the afternoon. As evidence, I offer Exhibit A:

The sweeter components of the parcel, shown above, included some biscuits, two different types of chocolate bar (for when I am feeling particularly indulgent), and some homemade flapjacks. Flapjacks are a thing I had never heard of until I moved to Britain; I quickly became a huge fan, because they are chewy and tasty and filling, all at the same time.

Also included were savory items and cooking ingredients: toasted edamame (which I've never yet tried but which I assume I will enjoy since I like corn, peas, and garbanzo beans prepared in the same way), a bag of assorted teas, and two packets of Thai-themed flavors (aromatic Thai seasoning mix, and coconut milk in powder form--something that I didn't even know existed until today). There were also some piping bags, which are shown in the next photo:

Obviously, I will need to have a hearty snack at work, cook up a Thai dinner, and then finish it all off with a cup of tea and a dessert that features some piped icing. Sounds good to me!