If I had been born in Yorkshire I would have advised you to play the "Hovis" theme tune as you read this. As I was born in East Anglia I don't think it would work but the sentiment is still there.
As it was my birthday last Friday my Dad decided to take me out for a treat. In fact, he took me home to where I was born (yes we did drive past some signs for the hospital I was born in as well).
Before I continue with the reviews I would like to say a couple of things about myself. I am technically English (born, raised, and educated in England) but the part of England I was born in has more in common with Holland than Leicester and the rest of England - it is flat as a pancake for one thing. My Mum and I were both born in Port towns (OK so Rotterdam is slightly bigger than Kings Lynn but at least we were born facing the same stretch of sea). Oh - and when I started Primary School my Mum and I both had a strong accent which other people couldn't understand. (I really wish I could get my original accent back.)
I am reasonably easy to keep quiet and happy - just show me water and lots of it. This can take the form of rain or - more usually - rivers or sea.
Last year for my birthday my Dad decided to surprise me by taking me to a part of Kings Lynn I didn't really remember for a meal. This year we went to the same place.
The Riverside Restaurant, in Kings Lynn (27 King Street), really lives up to its name by being right on the riverside (you can even watch the little ferry go from West Lynn to the town centre). It is in an old building (probably a warehouse or Customs Bond House) with the original beams and features.
Dad and I both had the same meal. I found a starter of Lynn Shrimp and Leek Tart irresistable (and delicious) although I wasn't too keen on the leaf salad it was served with (I would have preferred it on its own - either provide me with other salad items to go with the salad leaves, ie, tomato and cucumber or just give me the tart on its own - and don't drown the leaf salad with a dressing which clashes with the tart).
The main course was a Sea Bass with Tomato and Pesto Sauce, served with New Potatoes. I had never tried Sea Bass before but it was delicious.
I even had a glass of white wine with it. It was advertised as a dry white wine. I am sorry but someone is really going to have to explain to me how a liquid can be both wet and dry at exactly the same time. It was a Sauvignon (even I know that is white grapes). We skipped dessert as we had more adventures to go on that day.
After my Dad had taken me for a drive past the one building I have ever lived in which I would move back into like a shot as well as the nearest local Railway station to it (if you are ever in Norfolk I would suggest you visit Runcton Holme and Watlington - especially if you are into quaint places) we went to Downham Market.
I was amazed to learn on one of my trips back to Norfolk with my Mum that she and a couple of family friends had protested against plans for "Woodlakes Caravan Park" (as it was then). The reason for my amazement is that we were staying in that exact place when I found out. Woodlakes has now turned into a Fishing Lodge park www.woodlakes.com/. Situated between Downham Market and Kings Lynn (and a 20 minute walk from Watlington station) it is in peaceful surroundings.
Downham Market is almost a chocolate box Market Town with a very well-kept secret. The secret is a Railway Station which I would move into if I could. It has got a library (with second hand books for sale too) and a bar selling alcoholic drinks. The front of the Railway Station looks for all the world like it could have been transplanted from somewhere like Groningen or Delft.
The only disappointing thing about Norfolk is that the original accent is being drowned out by the London/Essex/Home Counties accent. I stopped a lady on a Mobility Scooter to ask if I was heading in the right direction to get to the Railway Station and I was really pleasantly surprised to hear my original accent being spoken at me. (You wouldn't believe me now if you heard me speak but - when I started Primary School - I had such a broad Norfolk accent that apparently my Mum was advised to send me to a Speech Therapist because nobody could understand a word I said. Her reply (in a thick Dutch accent) "Don't worry - they all sound like that where she comes from". When they enquired where on Earth that was she silenced them with "Norfolk". End of Speech Therapy idea.
Back to the subject. Next time you are in Norfolk give Kings Lynn and Downham Market a visit. A bit of Holland in England.
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