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The Grove, Cromer, restaurant review: ‘This is definitely a place to visit’

PUBLISHED: 14:57 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 24 May 2017

The Grove, Cromer. Duck main. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP.

The Grove, Cromer. Duck main. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP.

Archant

We found the perfect coastal gem for a night of celebration.

The Grove, Cromer. Photo: Archant Library. The Grove, Cromer. Photo: Archant Library.

Food

Anywhere that serves bread and oil with balsamic vinegar and olives is a winner in my book, so we happily ordered a portion to dig into while we waited for our starters. Unfortunately it arrived with our starters and didn’t go down too well with my fresh carrot, swede, and potato soup – which was absolutely delicious. However, my date enjoyed it with his starter, a fabulous duo of Cromer crab with devilled hen’s egg, pickled garden rosemary flowers and desiccated coconut. Not only was this dish absolutely beautifully presented – albeit tiny – but my normally sweet-toothed date said it was the most impressive starter he had ever eaten.

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We didn’t have to wait long for our mains to arrive and I was pleasantly surprised with the portion sizes. I had ordered extra garlic rosemary chips in case but they really weren’t needed. The sight of Gressingham duck with rhubarb and Cointreau glaze, butternut fondant and mixed seasonal vegetables (not the baby spinach as advertised) in front of me was impressive and it did not disappoint. The way the butternut squash had been prepared and cooked was like no other squash I had eaten before. The duck was perfect with a delicious crispy skin. And my date’s main may have sounded simple – skrei cod battered in Woodfordes’ Wherry with chips, pea veloute and sauce gribiche – but the fish was melt in the mouth and the batter light and crispy and full of flavour.

By this point I was actually feeling pretty full but my date was, as usual, more than happy to order a dessert. He let me pick the mouth-watering coffee mocha tart with cream for him and not wanting to be left out I opted for the a marinated rhubarb dish. For me it was the perfect ending to the meal. Light and fresh so I didn’t feel absolutely stuffed stupid. My date on the other hand struggled to finish his because he said it was the richest dessert he’d ever eaten – but said as a compliment of course.

The Grove, Cromer. Duo of crab starter. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP. The Grove, Cromer. Duo of crab starter. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP.

With the clock ticking on the evening’s babysitter time, we opted not to take a coffee in the lounge but had there been more time we probably would have happily relaxed in the lounge with a Baileys or an Irish coffee just to finish off the night.

MORE: The Mulberry Tree, Attleborough, restaurant review: ‘I have eaten a lot of tarts in my time but this was one of the best ones I have ever had’

Ambience

This impressive Georgian building certainly makes its mark as you walk up the drive way. Although slightly confusing on how to enter it (and then where the heck to go once you get inside) once settled into the lounge you know it’s going to be a special evening. It feels cosy enough to make you feel at home but also has an air of elegance about it.

Drink

The Grove, Cromer. Cod and chips main. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP. The Grove, Cromer. Cod and chips main. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP.

The restaurant boasts an impressive wine, port, and sherry menu, created by the vintners. Being six-months pregnant though I opted for a Norfolk-based elderflower cordial, which was absolutely delicious, while my date stuck with a recent favourite of rum and coke.

Service

Granted it wasn’t a busy evening, but we were well looked after throughout the duration of our visit. From being greeted with smiles at the door, being made comfortable in the lounge area, and attentiveness during our meal, the service here was first rate. The staff obviously takes pride in their work as much as the chef does with the cooking

MORE: Alley Olé, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘For the indecisive, it’s a dream’

Loos

The Grove, Cromer. Photo: Archant Library. The Grove, Cromer. Photo: Archant Library.

If it wasn’t for the random storage of high chairs in here, then it would have been pretty atmospheric as it embraced some of the original features of the country house. As it was, it looked a little bit like a dumping ground for things which had no home.

Parking

Plenty of parking on site, with a tiny overflow car park if needed – which it was for us.

Location

Tucked away just off the Overstrand Road, on the outskirts of Cromer, nicely hidden from the hustle and bustle of this busy seaside town. It feels remote enough to escape for a night out but is also close enough to enjoy a late night walk along the beach and pier (if that’s your sort of thing).

The Grove, Cromer. Rhubarb dessert. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP. The Grove, Cromer. Rhubarb dessert. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP.

Price

This is certainly somewhere to save your pennies for (we didn’t get much change from £100). Most of the starters are around the £10 mark, while mains were around £17 and up – the steak was on for £25 that night. Puddings are also around the £10 mark but worth every penny.

Highlight

A relaxing atmosphere with memorable food and pleasant staff. As well as feeling like we’d eaten out as a special treat, we were also able to relax and take our time over our meal and drinks, making it an all-round successful evening out. This is definitely a place to visit for a celebratory dinner or for something a bit more special from the norm.

In Summary

Although out of my price range for a regular meal out there, I’d definitely return for a special anniversary dinner or a night of celebration. It’s one of Cromer’s hidden gems (well, not quite so hidden – check out the awards this place has scooped) and one that is worthy of a visit.

This is an independent review.

To see all of our food reviews click here.

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