Easter is pretty much upon us now – it has been a long time coming this year but the wait is finally up. It hasn’t exactly been easy going getting here though. Although as you can see from above I have been out to play now and again too. This is one that has a big tick on my bucket list. Back in February, for one night only, Whoopi Goldberg performed her first ever stand up show in London. I am a big fan of Whoopi and as soon as I saw on social media that she was coming this side of the Atlantic I had to make sure that I got a ticket at what ever cost. I got my ticket, in the stalls naturally, so then to book a hotel for the night. I’m not one to skimp when it comes to staying in a hotel and this was no exception. Opting for a 5 star hotel in central London I was set to have a good weekend. And a good weekend it was too. Whoopi had me, and the rest of the audience, in fits of laughter all night. This is certainly something I will never forget.
Shrove Tuesday is always a big day in The Dolphin as it sees us fill up with people of all ages to help raise money for the church. Dozens of people came to fill and top their pancakes with a whole plethora of sweet things. Customer pay a minimal amount, which goes straight to the church, and receive 2 hot pancakes from the kitchen. They then have a choice of about 15 different items to mix and match to make their ultimate filling. The church lays on activities for the kids to keep the busy whilst parents and grand-parents enjoy a natter. This is becoming more and more popular every year with this being it’s forth annual outing. The challenge comes with cooking that many pancakes. On it like a pro though – four pans, 30 litres of batter mix and lots of flipping. A couple of hours later and we had churned out over 200 pancakes. Not to shabby at all!!
During the quieter months in Thorpeness we close The Dolphin on Mondays (open again now though). This gave us a perfect chance to take the staff on a well deserved trip out. We do try to push beyond the norm when treating the staff. This outing saw us once again clamber on to a mini bus before heading to London. Parking up at the O2 arena we headed over the Thames on the Emirates cable cars to have brunch at a restaurant. Needless to say the drinking started early. We hopped back in a cable car to catch a boat to take us up the Thames to the Tate Modern. We went where our feet took us in the gallery as we each went out own way for a couple of hours before meeting in the bar – naturally!! As the sunset we took a stroll down South Bank heading to Westminster bridge. A pre-booked table at an Italian was supper for the evening, more drinking ensued. Then another boat trip taking in the sights of the river at night. London lit up is really something quite beautiful. It really is a pleasure to organise and take the staff on such a special day out.
The Village Store has just reopened this week after being closed for a couple of months. We carried out a small amount of work inside the shop but we wanted our main focus to be on the content of what was on offer for you to spend your pennies on. With a nod to home David has sourced some fantastic reclaimed metal sculptures from his home country of Zimbabwe. They really do look amazing and would right in in your garden. Now stocked with blankets and beach towels, post cards and kids toys the shop has a better range than its ever had. We now have a huge display deli fridge in the shop which is packed with fresh veggies, fish, dairy and now with meat from Gerard’s Salter and King butcher in Aldeburgh. I too have been busy making sure that the freezer is once again brimming with ready meals to make your lives a little easier when you want a night off from cooking. Our new shop manager is due to start next week and she is raring to get going.
As I said it hasn’t really been that quiet for us this winter as we have had plenty of projects to keep us busy. This last one is something that David and I are hugely proud of. After literally years of waiting we will be ready next week to open the doors to our new garden room extension on the restaurant. The builders have been busy since January making sure that everything will be in place to open this Easter weekend. The glass went in the window frames so it is all becoming very exciting now. I really cant wait for it to be open. In keeping with the quirkiness of Thorpeness the extra room has a wild flower meadow grass roof, as does our shed now too. The pergola around the outside will have wisteria and hops growing against it so when it flower during the summer it should look pretty spectacular. We are sure that this is going to be the place that everybody want to eat this summer.
I have just launched my new spring menu which carries some great new dishes. The pork fillet with sprouting broccoli, watercress and lemon and garlic butter is going down a storm. Mussels are back on cooked very simply with Aspalls cyder, thyme, garlic and smoked bacon. Salter and King butchers in Aldeburgh have some brilliant Norfolk beef steaks – steaks are always flying out of the door. Once again we have dishes for our vegan and gluten free friends too.
As I’m sure you can imagine we are going to be very busy over Easter, therefore if you havn’t already then it’s best to book your table as soon as possible. We are open for food all day on Easter Sunday and as I type this we already have close to 200 people booked. Please call 01728 454994 to book your table over the Easter period.
Good Friday sees us play host to the annual Thorpeness Beach Clean. An event that grows in popularity every year and is mightily important to the village. Dozens of people will meet with us for coffee in the morning before heading down to the beach to do their good deed. Cheese and wine is then enjoyed back at The Dolphin whilst people exchange stories over their most unusual finds on the beach. As you are all aware the beach and cliffs have taken a particularly hard battering this winter. Huge amounts of the cliff has fallen down which sadly resulted in the death of a walker earlier on in the year. Therefore we must all do our bit to keep our fantastic beach clean and tidy for the season ahead.
Keep up to date with all the goings on from the Dolphin on our social media account, links of which are on The Dolphin website.
Have a great Easter and hope to see alot of you over the coming week.