11 of the quirkiest places to eat in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 18:30 19 July 2019
Fancy dining on a barge, down on the farm, at a vineyard or windmill? Read on.
Eat…on the market
Gees the offering on Norwich Market when it comes to street food is extraordinary - many of the stallholders wouldn't look amiss in London's trendy Borough or Spitalfields markets. Where do you start? Sausage and white pudding pie with mash and gravy at Walsingham Farm Shop's stand maybe? Fish and chips from Lucy's? A bowl of katsu curry, sticky rice and pickles from Bun Box? Arancini from Sicily Market? Bubble tea and Chinese cakes from The Dim Sum Place? You're truly spoilt for choice. Many of the stalls have a bit of seating so you don't have to navigate walking and trying to eat/not get food down your top.
Eat…on a vineyard
On the second Friday of every month until September, award-winning Flint Vineyard in Earsham near Bungay, is teaming up with its neighbours Ampersand Brew Co to put on Fridays at Camphill (named after the farm where both businesses are based). Inspiration for the event came from Hannah and Ben Witchell's experience of food and wine nights while living in France. The concept is simple. Great food, local wine and beer, and a relaxed atmosphere. The location, overlooking the Waveney Valley and vineyards, is stunning, especially as the sun begins to set. Each month different street food providers bring their goodies along, with Pie Central, Nomadi Pizza, Hay Hay, The Cabin, Cocky Dogs and more lined up for 2019. The event runs from 6pm to 10.30pm with live music and children are welcome.
Eat..in a walled garden
Chef Alex Firman has a residency every spring and summer at glorious Hoveton Hall, where the Garden Kitchen Café has a tussled, romantic country rustic vibe. The cafe brims with character, offering three beautiful outdoor courtyards, an enclosed heated cartshed, the nostalgic Hay House barn and a large picnic area - it's child and dog-friendly too. Many ingredients for the menus are grown on the estate, from vegetables and herbs, to lamb and game, and it's these which influence the menu. The café is open from Sunday to Friday during the daytime, and until 8.30pm from Wednesday to Friday evenings, with live music on Fridays. Typical dishes include orecchiette Romanesco with Wissington cheese, and beef kofta with harissa, tzatziki, fregola tabbouleh and flatbread. The tearoom menu has lighter bites, be it cheese scones, homemade sausages rolls, tarts, soups, cakes or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Eat…at a railway station
You can smell the Station Smokehouse as soon as you jump out of your car. Those caramelised, smoky, sticky, meaty barbecue notes singing their way up your nostrils. The restaurant is found in a former railway building next to the tracks at Hoveton & Wroxham station and gets very busy, so booking ahead is advisable. Local meats are smoked, charred and smothered to perfection in the eatery, laid out like an old railway carriage. Sink your teeth into almost charcoal dark brisket burnt ends with house barbecue sauce, 8-hour smoked beef ribs, scorched hot dogs, wood-fired salmon with dirty rice and more. Should you find room, you have to order the incredibly naughty molten Twix cookie with caramel ice cream, salted caramel and chocolate sauce.
Eat…in the jungle
Ponds, bridges, cacti, succulents, lush green niches and a touch of the exotic await at Urban Jungle's café in Costessey. The setting is truly unique and remarkable, setting the scene for lots of lovely homemade food, from brunch waffles, to smashed avo on toast with chilli flakes, sandwiches, frittatas, homemade cakes and scones. It's worth noting this café is no longer purely a gluten-free location, now offering both regular and gluten-free options for many dishes.
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Eat…at a distillery
One of our reviewers visited The Kitchen at St George's Distillery in Roudham not long ago, and found the home of English Whisky to be a solid place for a family lunch. The restaurant has tables both inside and out, and serves food from breakfast, through brunch, with sweet and savoury snacks along the way. You can take in a tour of the distillery while you're there, or enjoy a ramble down by the river. The menu is pretty classic in its offerings, from sandwiches with their own whisky-glazed ham and whisky red onion chutney, to battered fish of the day with beef dripping fries, and burgers. Prices are reasonable too.
Eat…on a working dairy farm
Opened earlier this year, Old Hall Farm in Woodton (on the Suffolk/Norfolk border near Bungay) truly showcases the farm to fork ethos. While sitting out overlooking the farmland, you can tuck into breakfasts of their milk-fed pork sausages, bacon and free-range eggs, lunch from the salad bar, open sandwiches, paninis stuffed with anything from Baron Bigod brie and Candi's Spiced Carrot Chutney or their own pulled pork with homemade apple sauce, and a range of homemade cakes and savouries. On warm days make room for the farm's Jersey milkshakes and gelato.
Eat…a takeaway picnic
The eclectic, cool Dial House boutique hotel and restaurant in Reepham, last year introduced picnic baskets, which can be booked in advance and taken away to enjoy in a location of your choice. Regular picnics are £27 for two, served in a Dial House bag for life…or you can upgrade to a luxury afternoon tea for two - £40, complete with wicker hamper. Both options include a picnic map featuring the hotel's favourite picnic spots in the county. Order up until 10pm the day before you need it, and it will be ready from 9am the next day. Inside, and the hotel has also recently launched some new afternoon tea options. A 'Posh Kids' Tea' (£10 per child). And Dunch - a bit like a high tea, combining sweet and savoury nibbles at £22 per person. What makes it quirky? Well, the Dial House has some of the most outrageous loos in Norfolk - from an infinity toilet, to a shed!
Eat…at a football club
Delia's Restaurant at Norwich City Football Club is a rather elegant location, all creams and whites, with a focus on the flavours and presentation of the food. Friday and Saturday evenings offer a three course dinner with two sides and filter coffee for £39.95 per person. The current menu brims with thoughtful Italian-style plates. Handmade gnocchi with sage, butter and Parmesan. A lasagne al bosco style, layered with Parma ham, wild mushrooms and cream, trofie pasta, given the Ligurian treatment, with slivers of French beans, homemade pesto and potatoes, fresh peaches baked in Marsala wine with cinnamon and vanilla, and a light marscarpone cream. Booking is recommended.
Eat…on a boat
Climb aboard The Albatros, a former Dutch cargo ship moored on the quay at Wells next the Sea, where you can sip on local beer, enjoy the bonhomie of live music on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, and tuck into Dutch fare from 12noon until 9pm. The menu is simple, but hearty, boasting anything from Brancaster mussels, to Dutch pea soup, sweet and savoury pancakes with all manner of toppings, and the house speciality Dutch apple cake.
Eat…in a windmill
The bucolic setting of Cley Windmill steals the show. Unfettered views across marshland as far as the eye can see make this a very romantic location- one that's popular for events and weddings. During the evenings, the circular dining room hosts a candlelit three course supper, priced at £32.50 per person. The menu is changed every day, with no options (although dietary requirements are factored in when you book). Recent dishes have ranged from chorizo and chive arancini with black garlic aioli, to herb crusted cod with roasted cauliflower, salt and vinegar croquette, roasted vine tomatoes and salsa verde.