The Old King’s Head, Brockdish, restaurant review: ‘If you love great pizza this is one to add to your list’
- Credit: Archant
An authentic Italian taste on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
When you walk into this pub the oaky, smoked scent of the wood-fired pizza oven swirls around you in an irresistible fug. I bet there are folk who've popped in for a pint but ended up staying for a bite too based on the smell alone!
We honestly found it so hard to choose from the menus - one filled with classic pizzas, the other with specials, crafted from long-fermented dough.
After a brief chat with the owner (who recommended everything – not helpful argh!) we were set.
To start. A decent-sized plate of puffy doughballs with a soft garlic butter made green by flecks of fresh parsley. Totally gorgeous.
There was also a plate of homemade tomato salsa, black olive and green olive tapenades, truffle oil and homemade bread. I loved the way the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes cut through the salty bitterness of the tapenades, each of which was creamy, pungent and earthy.
For mains there was a large bowl of linguine, bathed in a mellow sauce of cream, white wine and garlic, and filled with large chunks of chicken. Mr Jarvis hates olives but I helped him out with those! The pasta was al dente. And the sauce clung to it for dear life – just the way it should.
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A humungous, thin-crisped pizza with that quintessential char-flavour, came topped with a bright, mouth-watering tomato sauce, loads of herbs, mozzarella and proper pancetta and coppa. All salty and crispy and moreish, with the 'real' pancetta adding a savoury herbal dimension to the whole thing.
Full? Course we were but I never say no to pudding! So we found ourselves struggling with a plate of chocolate filled mini calzone served with chocolate sauce and cream, and a delightful and massive wedge of lemon polenta cake. Polenta cake is usually a soppy wet mess of mush, so I was pleased to see this one had a good structure – perhaps because the lemon drizzle was served on the plate as a sauce, rather than drenched over the top. Freckled with candied orange and lemon it was like a slice of Capri on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
As CAMRA's Mid-Anglia Pub of the Year for 2017, those who like a tipple won't be disappointed. There's a great ale and lager selection with plenty of specials, and with local breweries Adnams, Grain and Lacons well represented. The Grain Pilsner was refreshing, light and easy drinking. If you have a penchant for gin, there's over 140 at the bar (so maybe book a taxi).
The Old King's Head has an uncluttered idiosyncratic feel about it. Milk bottles are filled with fresh flowers at the tables. Local art fills the walls with colour. And there's a wall of board games. We liked the unusual 'box' art on the way to the loos. Check it out.
The chef was really friendly and accommodating and we could tell he loves what he does and what he's serving. Our waitress was a little cold? But that didn't spoil our overall experience.
Really reasonable. Starters came in at between £2.30 and £4.95, pizzas and pasta from £7.95 to just shy of £14 and puddings from £4.95 to £7 for an Amaretto affogato.
Very nicely kitted out for a pub. Freshly decorated in a mauve shade, the ladies' had a chandelier, no less! And nice hand soap and a basket of individual hand towels.
There's plenty of parking at the back.
It's hard to decide, but I'm going to say the pizza. It was as good as any I've eaten in various places in Italy. Huge, packed to the rafters with toppings, and infused with smokiness from the wood fire.
If you love great pizza this is one to add to your list. The pub takes relatively simple, high quality ingredients and turns them into something an Italian nonna would be proud of.
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