Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Restaurant review: Aurora


Where we ate:
Aurora, Helena Road, Ipswich
On Easter Sunday, Jake took me for lunch at Aurora, a fairly new restaurant on the docks. I love going quayside, because whatever the weather, it looks really lovely. In the summer, as you’d expect, it’s a lot better because it’s much busier and the sun glistening on the water is just beautiful.
With it being so cold on Sunday, everywhere looked deserted – including as we approached the restaurant. It actually turns out the bar is on the ground floor and the dining area, upstairs. We were the first couple for lunch, mind.
From the outside, Aurora looks ultra-modern: a large tented building at the far end of the docks, with a balcony on the top floor. The interior is even better: large windows displaying a lot of natural light, an open plan dining room with plenty of space, neutral colour scheme and sophisticated decor.
Despite booking, we were able to choose where we sat and opted for a window seat (there are plenty of them) which gave us a lovely view of the boats on the water. Like I said, we were the first to be served, but by the time we left, there were at least six other tables, including a party of eight.
What we drank:
Jake – Peroni
Me – glass of Pinot Grigio
Bottle of still water
Because Aurora is also a bar/lounge, there is a cocktail menu, making it an ideal place to relax and socialise with friends. When we arrived, we were greeted by one of the bar staff who offered us a drink downstairs, but we went straight up for lunch. I imagine, it’s quite a nice atmosphere in the bar, having a drink pre-meal. I didn’t check out the wine list, having just ordered by the glass, but having browsed the website, the list is extensive. With 67 varieties on offer including champagnes and sparkling wines, as well as dessert wines, prices range from £14 a bottle, to £145 for top-end champers!
What we ate:
Jake – carrot & coriander soup, followed by roast pork loin and sticky toffee pudding
Me – carrot & coriander soup, followed by roast pork loin
We ordered from the Easter weekend menu, which was running on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. The prices stood at £18.50 for two courses, or a three course meal at £22.50. The a la carte menu wasn’t available, but I have since had a little nose online.
Funnily enough, we both opted for the same first two courses. There were six options for starters and mains, and five choices for desserts.
The soup was really lovely and having consumed a lot of carrot & coriander soup over the winter months, I can safely say, this was the best. The portion sizes are really deceiving, mind – the bowl had a really large rim and the depth was a lot deeper than it appeared. I was almost full before even starting on my pork!
There were three meats on offer for the main course, as well as fish and vegetation options: pork loin with apple sauce and crackling, sirloin of beef with horseradish and Yorkshire pudding or leg of lamb with mint sauce. The pork was served with roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower cheese. Although the jus was really rich, as roast dinners go, this succeeded any I have ever eaten! As my favourite part of a roast dinner is the amount of vegetables, two pieces of pork were just enough for me. I couldn’t manage it all though.
I couldn’t even save space for dessert which is very unlike me and it was annoying because I’d had my eye on the white chocolate and macadamia brownie (served with peanut brittle ice cream) – one of our waiters even recommended it as the best dessert on the menu. Jake went for the sticky toffee pudding and I couldn’t even manage a little taste of that, either. It looked really dense and rich, but he said the sponge was actually really light, so not too sickly.
All in all, I had a really enjoyable afternoon and although it wouldn’t be the sort of place I’d go to for a regular Sunday lunch, it’s somewhere you can go with anyone, for any occasion. For just lunch, it may have been a little on the pricy side, but you’re paying for quality in a lovely location and none of that can really be faulted! I am already looking forward to returning – but hoping the weather is a little better next time.
Before we went. Yes, that's my AX Paris dress again!
 

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