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Saturday, December 10, 2011
Strattons is a small independent family run boutique hotel in Swaffham. COLIN WILSON finds its also a fine place to enjoy organic and locally sourced produce in a fine Sunday lunch.
To start our foray into the new season we decided to try out an alternative to our regular Sunday lunch haunts.
Strattons, nestled just off the Market Place in Swaffham, is well known in the county as a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant, most has previously won the EDP Best Norfolk Restaurant award, but what appears to be less well-known is its step into Sunday lunch.
On our arrival there were already other diners enjoying the fare, and we were offered a choice of table in “The Rustic”, a cosy restaurant situated in the semi-basement, with a view over the hotel’s garden drenched in the fading sun.
The name comes from the Palladian fashion for decorating the lower ground floor facade with rusticated stone. The room features striking specially commissioned large canvasses of birch trees by East Anglian artist Debbie Boon, designed to reflect the surrounding Brecks landscape.
If you want an endless string of options for each course, then this may not be the place for you – just three choices per course, but offering a selection to meet a varied taste on what a Sunday lunch should be.
Strattons pride themselves on sourcing local seasonal ingredients and wherever possible share with the diner the journey they have travelled – from farm to fork or plough to plate.
The ingredients frequently reflect the unique geography and climate of the Brecks, it is the driest part of Britain, which yields some interesting crops from asparagus to blueberries.
For starters we chose from Spiced Squash Soup, served with warm homemade bread, Spiced Potted Pork with toast and piccalilli or Soused Herring, with beetroot chutney, crispbread and relish.
The former two were selected and both were equally tasty – the soup wholesome, served in a cast iron dish that kept it piping hot to the very end, and the Potted Pork smooth and rich, with the zing of a good piccalilli.
When it came to the main course there really was only one option for us – Swannington Top Rump of Beef – accompanied by all that it should be and a bit more – from dripping roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, to savoy cabbage with bacon, roasted carrots and beets, plus braised red cabbage, rich gravy and horseradish sauce.
Presented as large portions, with the side orders of vegetables served in dishes to share, it was definitely packed with flavour, if slightly heavy on the buttery richness.
The other two main course choices were Beer Battered Hake with chips and mushy peas or Truffled Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto – both sounding equally appealing, but just not for an autumn Sunday lunch.
After such a helping of comfort food, the desserts were equally filling – opting for Salted Fudge Brownie with honeycomb and stout ice cream and a slightly lighter, if only mildly so, Roasted Black Fig accompanied with sweet fried eggy bread and honeycomb ice-cream – once again both were a delight. Warm Norfolk Ale Bread Pudding or a Cheese Slate (at a £2.50 supplement) were also on offer.
The three-course Sunday lunch is £25.
01760 723 845
Open: Daily from 6.30pm, Sunday 12pm-2pm
Prices: Starters from £6, mains from £12, desserts from £8
Vegetarian options: Limited but cater for all dietary requirements including coeliac, vegetarians, diabetics, vegans and allergies.
t Wheelchair access: Yes