Review: Gastrono-Me in Bury St Edmunds offers pickles, tacos, the 'vegilante' and the chance to sip sunshine in a glass
'What the frick!' This was the gasp of joy as my dinner companion spotted one of the diverse starters on the menu.
We were at Gastrono-Me, in Bury St Edmunds' Abbeygate Street, on a bustling Saturday evening.
Despite the busy atmosphere we were greeted warmly on arrival and soon seated at a comfortable table.
Then it was time to take our pick from the eclectic drinks and food menus on offer.
As the meal had been some months in the planning, my friend Lucy and I were certain cocktails were required.
Despite a long list (including non-alcoholic options) of classic cocktails and mimosas, we both settled on the same choice from the 'whole lot naughtier' section of the cocktail menu.
Soon we were sipping delicious 'Bahama Mamas': amaretto, coconut rum, banana liqueur, vodka and tropical juices.
With tropical holidays thin on the ground these past couple of years, the Bahama Mama was just what we needed to bring a little sunshine into the restaurant. Not only did the cocktail taste like a lush holiday, but it was served in a kooky Aztec-inspired ceramic tumbler.
Drinks in hand, we started to study the dinner menu. And that is when I heard the delighted 'what the frick!' from across the table.
Lucy immediately pointed out a starter she knew would appeal to two avid gherkin fans.
'What the frickle!' is a dish of deep-fried dill pickles with Gastrono-Me's 'comeback' dipping sauce.
Well, there was absolutely question, what the frickle! was a dead cert we simply had to order.
And when the dish arrived it did not disappoint: a steaming pile of juicy deep-fried pickles ripe for two of the UK's biggest gherkin consumers (possibly).
They were absolutely delicious. If you're not a gherkin lover then this clearly is not the dish for you, but these pickles left us salivating for more.
Then it was time for our main courses (service was speedy and courteous throughout the evening).
I had settled on the 'vegilante burger', a plant-based burger with vegan cheese, pink pickled onions, sriracha mayo, lettuce and tomato in a brioche bun – and topped with a twirled slice of gherkin.
Obviously the gherkin scores bonus points with me, but aside from the pickle the vegilante definitely rates highly in the vegetarian burger rankings: a good burger, plentiful toppings and a soft bun all add up to a tasty combination.
Lucy, meanwhile, had settled on the Baja halloumi tacos: California-style crispy battered halloumi with bean and corn salsa, crunchy romaine lettuce, sour cream, pink pickled onions and chipotle crema in a trio of mini tortillas.
Her verdict? "They were delicious, with succulent halloumi, fresh and crisp textures with the pickled onions and salsa and a great portion size."
Alongside our mains we had been silly enough to order sides from the 'we are the famous fries' section of the menu, with molten lava cheese fries ('drowning in molten lava cheese sauce') for me and Roman fries (seasoned with truffle oil, parsley and parmesan) for Lucy.
It did not matter how delicious they were, we famously could not eat them after our pickles, burger and taco. Lesson learned: one bowl of famous fries to share between us when we return.
And we will be back. Great food, warm atmosphere and cocktails which brought back holiday memories added up to one memorable meal out.
Find Gastrono-Me at 22 Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, and www.gastrono-me.co.uk