Food Review: Wiveton Hall Cafe
PUBLISHED: 18:16 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:16 08 August 2018
I first discovered Wiveton Hall Cafè a couple of years ago, remembering being impressed by its seasonal menu and delicious food I was keen to return for a review to see if it lived up to my memories.
My first impressions upon entering the café where that it felt exactly as I had remembered, bright, colourful and incredibly summery with great views over Cley marshes. Divided into two parts, a conservatory and the main seating area, when the weather is good the café spills outside giving diners several different options of where to sit.
Open from March to November Wiveton Hall Cafè, promises a seasonal menu using locally sourced produce and features everything from warm ciabattas and sandwiches to salads and hot dishes.
After a tough call between a Norfolk classic –the crab salad– or another equally tempting fish dish, I plumped for the latter and went for baked mackerel with tomatoes, new potatoes and aioli. My companions went for a pulled honey and mustard ham hock salad served with toasted sourdough and a dish of pulled shoulder of local lamb cooked with garlic and herb cannellini beans. To wash it all down, we ordered a couple of jugs of homemade cordial (£8.75), one lemon and another blackberry. Made using fruit grown on the estate fruit farm both where incredibly refreshing.
After ordering, our food arrived in good time, was well presented and we all happily tucked into our chosen dishes.
The oven baked mackerel (£10.50), served with roasted tomatoes, the most delightfully waxy new potatoes and aioli was nicely cooked and a good choice of fish to stand up to the richness of its accompaniments. As a whole the dish worked well, with each component being simple but perfectly cooked and well seasoned. The aioli, was garlicky, but too strong while the roast tomatoes added a great depth to the dish.
Across the table, my friend was disappointed by her choice of the ham hock salad (£9.50). She said that, while the ham itself was tasty, delivering notes of honey offset by wholegrain mustard, the accompanying salad lacked a dressing and the sourdough came without butter. Leading her to comment that the whole dish was a little dry.
My second friend, who ordered a dish of lamb cooked with garlic and cannellini beans (£13.50) was also left feeling a little let down by his dish. Saying that while he enjoyed it, he felt that for one of the more expensive options on the menu he expected a bit more from the dish. Adding that it needed more seasoning, as after a few mouthfuls it tasted a little bland. He did though thoroughly enjoy the accompanying sourdough bread.
With space for desert, two of us ordered from the menu, choosing the Wiveton panna cotta and banoffee while my other friend chose a slice of lemon drizzle cake from the counter.
The panna cotta (£6.50), which came highly recommended by our waitress was nicely presented and studded with raspberries grown on the farm. From experience, panna cotta is by nature a delicately flavoured dish and while nice, a mouthful without a raspberry lacked flavour. I would have liked to have tasted and seen a little more evidence of vanilla in the custard.
My friend enjoyed Wiveton’s take on banoffee pie (£6.50), served in a glass, it was nicely presented although she said it tasted like it had been made with squirty cream which she found disappointing.
My other friend happily devoured his generous slice of lemon drizzle (£2.95) reporting it was exceptionally moist.
This is an independent review.