Where to eat and drink
With miles of farmland that stretch beyond the horizon, fishing traditions that have lasted for generations and a growing foraging movement sourcing the best ingredients from the natural world, Norfolk is a treat for anyone who loves food and drink. Exciting local producers are creating bold new flavours, while old favourites are going strong. As for my favourites, I’ll share a few to whet your appetite!
Follow the white horse
At Brancaster Staithe, right on the Norfolk Coastal Path, is The White Horse, an award-winning restaurant with views from the terrace and dining room (with its floor-to-ceiling windows) across the salt marshes and shoreline where fishermen haul in lobsters and oysters destined for the plate. In winter, wrap up in a blanket and enjoy a steaming bowl of mussels. Wash it down with your pick from the wide selection of gins (my recommendation? The rhubarb gin is refreshingly different).
It’s the perfect spot for a romantic bite after a long walk on the beach or a slap-up Sunday lunch, especially if you’re staying at Rose Cottage nearby. If you’re just looking for a quick snack, there’s often space at the bar without the need to book (but do phone ahead at busy times) – and dogs are very welcome to join you in the bar too.
Whether you’re here to eat or just passing, it’s always worth popping into the Staithe Smokehouse at the bottom of the White Horse’s garden. Here, Phil and Fran Hartshorne are running a traditional fish smokehouse – a part of Norfolk’s fishing heritage that is, sadly, in decline. Say hello in the shop and take home a whole side of smoked salmon or some kippers – the fish this coast was built on!
Halfway between North Walsham and Cromer lies a country pub with a difference, just a short walk from nearby Foxes Barn. The Gunton Arms is the brainchild of art dealer Ivor Braka and his artist wife Sarah Graham. From the outside, this is the picture of rural tranquillity – the cosy pub sits next to a 1,000-acre deer park. But once you get inside, you’re greeted by a top restaurant adorned with artworks from some of Britain’s top artists.
Tuck into venison from the local park, surrounded by artworks from Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Paula Rego. The meat is roasted above an open fire and served in hearty portions, and the staff are always so friendly and keen to make your evening special.
Dine in with a difference
Although there’s so much to see in Norfolk, sometimes it does feel a shame not to spend a little more time in the special surroundings of your holiday cottage. Order from the One Food Company, based in Worstead, and you can enjoy a restaurant-quality takeaway made with local ingredients for a meal you’ll remember in the comfort of your Original Cottages castle.
The company was born after chef Ben was experimenting with a new chilli and beetroot sauce recipe. He created a few meals that would complement his sauce, but the demand was so high he ended up carrying on! Now you can order anything from a posh afternoon tea to pulled pork scotch eggs, kebabs to calzone and Indian to Japanese cuisine.
"During the lockdown, the One Food Company offered virtual meals out – the same delicious dishes delivered to you and your loved ones so you could enjoy eating together over a video call. What a great way to bring people together!"
Norfolk Victoria Sponge recipe
Looking for a way to enjoy the taste of Norfolk even if you can’t be there quite yet? I’ve got a recipe for a classic Victoria Sponge made with the best ingredients sourced from around our fair county. With butter from the renowned Norton’s Dairy, jam from Olland’s Farm Foods and flour from The Mill Shop, it’s a great way to support the brilliant local businesses who are keeping us all going in this part of the world!
Continue the journey
Let us take you on a journey to Norfolk from the comfort of your sofa! we’re bringing the best of England and Wales to you – so read on and experience Matt from Norfolk Cottages’ favourite places to go and some hidden gems, too. We’ve got plenty of nearby properties, and can’t wait to welcome you…