I started reading at a really young age. So young that I remember my parents asking me to read the newspaper out loud to their friends who came over to visit. Look! She can read! I may as well have been jumping through hoops of fire. As far as my parents were concerned, I was the next best thing to sliced bread (my siblings are surely shaking their heads as they read this)!
One of the first authors I discovered as a child was Enid Blyton. My favourite was The Faraway Tree, a series about the adventures of a group of children who discover a magical tree inside an enchanted forest. The tree is so gigantic that its topmost branches extend all the way into the clouds leading to ever changing magical lands. Carved into the tree were small houses where magical folk lived. I was always fascinated with tree houses and the magical folk and their fantastic world within this tree captivated my imagination.
Today, I recall the enchantment those stories brought me when I eat at Burdock. In my adult imagination, the beautiful interiors are a modern tree house in an enchanted forest. The space is charming and inviting with a curved white-washed wood panel ceiling that has an almost cocoon-like effect. Distressed, reclaimed wood planks and white brick on the walls create a warmth and coziness that is both rustic and refined. I also love the quirkiness of the mismatching vintage light fixtures hanging from above.
When I had dinner there the other night we ordered the family style tasting menu which consists of 6 small plates including 1 dessert. Each dish that came out was such a beautiful expression of simple, organic, seasonal ingredients. And it was absolutely delicious (and dare I say magical?). It was such a delightful experience to be continuously surprised (they didn’t tell us what was coming and we didn’t ask) with dishes of culinary magic spun from humble carrots, padron peppers, halibut and pork belly.
The dishes came out one after the other, each one prepared so simply with ingredients so fresh it was as if the vegetables had just been harvested (they do have a vegetable garden right outside the restaurant). I imagined the pixies and fairies from the books dancing around us waving their magic wands. Actually, those were the extremely polite and attentive servers hovering about. At one point, when one of them came over to ask how our halibut was I told her it was slightly overcooked. I didn’t want to send it back to the kitchen but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She insisted that I had to experience the dish exactly the way I was supposed to. She promptly whisked it away. That’s when we knew this was no ordinary place.
We ended our meal with the creamiest vanilla homemade yoghurt that had just a touch of sweetness from the rose honey. It was divine.
I just found out that The Faraway Tree series is heading for the big screen! It’s so lovely to see that the stories that captivated me years ago are still enchanting children today. Who was your favourite author as a child? What were your favourite childhood books?