Retired couples loveto travel and see everything they never had a chance to see during their younger years. And for some the new-found independence inspires them to eagerly start a new business. Such is the case of John and Susan Williams. After returning to London from a three week stay in Chiang Mai in 2007, Sue and John conceived the idea of starting a theme restaurant.
After hours of research, the novelty of Elizabethan cuisine was their choice. Good food and dining were a part of everyday life in Elizabethan time. They sold their home and disposable assets, they toured Europe in a camper before jumping in head over heels to make their dream a reality here in Chiang Mai.
That period had many different dishes and styles of cooking. They also had distinct manners and traditions that went along with the meals. Elizabethan food has little if any resemblance to contemporary English dishes. Recipes way back then added sugar, honey and fruit like oranges, prunes and dates to meat. A rabbit, for example, was stuffed with pepper and currants and then boiled in mutton broth. An Elizabethan dinner usually consisted of several kinds of fish, half a dozen different kinds of game, venison, various salads, vegetables, sweet meats, and fruits.
The wealthy of that time usually served food that suited them as most had noted French chefs to prepare their meals. Many had a very moderate diet. Guests seated at a pleasant dinner table were offered oysters with brown bread, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Altogether there were many things to eat during this period, thus, overall the diet was much healthier than what many people eat now.
The Elizabethan Room interior is very pleasant with mementos of the Elizabethan period adorning the walls. The shields, and most decorations as well as the Norman arch entrance doors were hand made by John derived from the couple’s longtime interest in collecting old guns, swords, and a variety of historical pieces.
Recipes prepared in the kitchen are real Elizabethan selected after hours of researching such as scones from an authentic Elizabethan recipe following breadlike recipe with fruit added and the dough raises 3 times. Meat Pyes selections are bountiful in addition to steak and ale, there are chicken with asparagus and tuna. All vegetables are fresh from the Royal Projects, as well as the rainbow trout, and the coffee. Soon to come on the regular menu will be pheasant, venison and wild boar.
Within the past few weeks of opening, the best selling dishes are soups, hotch potch kidneys, beef and stout pye along with the Shepherder’s pye, Salmon steak and salad combination.
The scrumptious desserts are Apple crumble with grounds nuts, the apples are very soft; Pears in Champagne; and Christmas pudding with brandy butter is served all year round. After a great meal, “When it’s time to go, most likely you will be thinking to yourself ... My tongue is smiling”.- - - Abigail Trillin
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