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Food review: Atmosphere at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse in Beccles was wonderful

PUBLISHED: 17:02 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 21 February 2018

Courgette cakes with fries and a side salad at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ER

Courgette cakes with fries and a side salad at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ER

Archant

Will this market town have some haute cuisine?

Graze burger at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ERGraze burger at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ER

Food

Beccles has a lot to offer – shout out to the fab local fruit and veg shops – but one of the main foodie attractions is Graze. The sleek interiors shake off any small town vibes, yet the décor maintains character and quirk too.

The menu was quite extensive for a lunchtime, visit with sandwiches and lighter bites alongside the main offerings. The goats’ cheese and red onion toastie was tempting but I couldn’t resist ordering the courgette cakes with red pepper and tomato salsa from the starter menu. I filled it out with a side of fries and a mixed salad.

When the courgette cakes arrived they were smaller than I had expected (um hello Em, you ordered a starter) and the waiter’s offer to make them bigger – which I rejected – suddenly made sense. My slight disappointment in size therefore was totally my own fault. The cakes themselves were more like mini burgers and not the flaky, shredded courgette patties I had pictured. The flavour was great though - unique with a full bodied, umami flavour although there was little courgette to taste.

Moroccan lamb tagine at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ERMoroccan lamb tagine at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ER

The fries weren’t greasy and were more like proper chips when it came to crunch. The salad was generous with lots of leaves, tomato, red pepper and a subtle dressing.

Across the table was the veggie burger - a portabello mushroom with goats’ cheese, caramelised onion and mayo served with fries and salad. The choice of goats’ cheese was a breath of fresh air, halloumi being a more commonplace trimming, but the creative twist paid off and made for a scrumptious combo.

Next up the Moroccan lamb tagine. The meat was gorgeously tender and there wasn’t an ounce of fat on it. The dish had a kick of spice but wasn’t too hot, and the fresh coriander broke it up nicely with lovely, light couscous.

Finally, the Graze burger – a beef patty with cheese and bacon – was served quite pink, something my friend Sophie (the burger-eater) would not normally like, but on this occasion she said she really enjoyed it. A fact she was quite surprised by. The extreme juiciness of the meat won her over.

Lemon posset at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ERLemon posset at Graze Café Bar & Grill at the White Horse. Photo: ER

I wasn’t terribly enthralled by the dessert selection but still feeling a little peckish, I uncharacteristically opted for the very sweet apple and caramel crumble with vanilla ice cream. The caramel made for smooth velvety notes that rounded off the tartness of the apple. The very generous portion made it too much for me to finish and the syrup sponge pudding met the same fate.

The lemon posset had a creamy yet firm texture and a fresh lemon taste that wasn’t too sharp. The accompanying lemon curd ice cream was nothing remarkable and the flavour petered out in comparison to the strong posset flavour. It could’ve also done with some fresh fruit, more texture in the cherry compote or shortbread instead of ice cream to give it some bite.

Drinks

Lots of very nice sounding cocktails for roughly £8 to £10 each, the wines per glass weren’t too expensive though and a good selection of beers, spirits, softs and coffees.

Chrismas Shop local feature. Graze at the Great White Horse Cafe, Beccles.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherChrismas Shop local feature. Graze at the Great White Horse Cafe, Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Ambiance

Classy, cool and comfy. The bar area is small with only a handful of tables but the restaurant itself is really well finished and very attractive. The food was also presented beautifully.

Service

The staff were great, funny and charming. The food came out quickly and we were never left waiting.

Value

It’s not the cheapest meal you’ll ever have, but it certainly won’t break the bank either. Between the four of us the bill came to just over £100 and that was including a £25 bottle of prosecco.

Loos

The toilets are upstairs. They are light and clean with paper towels.

Location

In the centre of Beccles but on one of the quieter roads. It’s easy to get to.

Parking

So many options, but the closest is the on street parking opposite the restaurant.

Highlight

It has to be the general ambiance and the fries. I also liked that there was a lighter lunch menu with sandwiches and toasties but that proper mains were available too.

In summary

Graze is better than I expect - every time. It’s got a lot going for it both in atmosphere, service and food. It’s perfect for a nice treat – especially if you book the private dining room!

This is an independent review

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