5 of the best places we ate at in Norfolk in 2019
PUBLISHED: 15:15 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 31 December 2019
Our reviewers have been out and about trying out your recommendations this year, as well as newcomers to the dining scene.
Here are just some of the pubs, cafes and restaurants which made an impression.
1. The Black Horse, Earlham Road, Norwich
Lauren says of all the restaurants she's reviewed in 2019 her stand-out dining experience was at this spot, recommended by a "persistent friend" who'd been singing its praises. "It was well worth the trip. One of the best meals I've had out all year, with a stand-out starter board and beautifully crispy, fatty confit pork belly. It was cosy and welcoming and I've since taken back friends and family. A must-visit if you're in the market for somewhere different - and I've heard wonderful things about its roast dinners."
2. Rasputin, Swaffham
Stuart paid a visit in the autumn to East Anglia's only Russian restaurant, where he found the food hearty and wholesome. He declared the black rye bread (smothered in cream cheese) which came with his starter of borscht soup "yum", and raved about the stand out plate of multi-layered Russian torte served at dessert. "It alternated layers of cream and sponge, much like my all-time favourite cake, the Bavarian prinzregententorte. The Russian version was topped with chocolate, tasted of honey and was surprisingly light and fluffy."
Read Stuart's review here.
3. The Orange Tree, Thornham
Nick said this family-friendly north Norfolk pub was "burger heaven" - although it's known for its fabulous fine dining too and has been name the Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year for six years in the Good Food Guide. Seeking comfort on his visit, Nick dived into a 48-hur home-smoked brisket burger with bourbon sauce, crispy onions and Monterey Jack cheese, served with fries and hickory-smoked beans. On the other side of the table was the OT burger, comprising beef patty, pulled pork, smoked Dapple cheese and fries dusted in truffle and Parmesan. But the stand-out dish during his visit was the Eton mess sundae of meringue, whipped cream, bay leaf ice cream, pink peppercorn sorbet, macerated strawberries and hot cinnamon beignet.
4. The Bell, Brisley
"Not only was this country eatery absolutely stunning to look around and sit inside," said reviewer Donna, "but its food and service was first rate. It was super cosy and had a lovely atmosphere which was ripe for a quiet pint with friends or a special meal."
The Brisley Bell won Pub of the Year in our Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2019, and Donna says her visit cemented it as one of the finest in the county for her. Surrounded by "divine smells" she tucked into lamb rump with roasted aubergine and minted gravy, and roasted hake with wholegrain mustard mash, spinach and shallots. "As well as being beautifully presented on the plate, it looked appetising, delicious and filling."
5. The Honingham Buck
Louisa said this is a pub worth travelling for. "The quality of the meat was superb, and the 14-hour roasted pork belly dish was slow-cooked to perfection, served with a moreish pork croquette, vegetables and raspberry jus. The service was also very good and they were brilliant with allergens and even created a new pudding for my boyfriend who has a dairy intolerance!" The couple shared crispy fried chicken with Thai slaw and homemade dipping sauce and haddock fish cakes with fennel remoulade, watercress aioli and mixed cress. Louisa raved about the Buck burger with smoked Dapple cheese, tomato relish, pickled pepper, courgettes and hand-cut chips. And her boyfriend's custom dairy-free dessert of sorbet with figs and honeycomb was declared delicious and stylish.
Read the full review here.
Where's the best place you ate in 2019? Do you have any recommendations for our reviewing team? Email our food and drink editor.