The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, restaurant review: ‘Breathtaking’
Will this popular restaurant on the marshland coastline of North Norfolk live up to the hype?
I must confess that this trip started with a phone call to tell the restaurant that we may be slightly late for our booking, at which point it became evident that they didn’t have our reservation but with first class service they squeezed us in regardless. It later materialised that in fact we’d left a table sitting empty at a pub of the same name, 30 minutes down the road.
The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe was however our intended destination and I had seen plenty of photos and read plenty of reviews beforehand but when I got out of the car, I was still amazed by the breathtaking views, it was about ten thousand times better than I had ever imagined and I was blown away by the sheer beauty.
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Inside we were brought a generous platter of freshly cooked tomato bread, which was so fluffy and moist it may have been some of the best bread I’ve eaten. The olive oil accompanying it was rich, nutty and oh so smooth.
Our starters didn’t quite live up to expectation, although were enjoyable. The baked king scallops with cauliflower, smoked dapple and truffle, had a delicate and fresh cheesy sauce and were nicely cooked, although there weren’t many of them. The buffalo mozzarella ‘panzanella’ was full of multicoloured array of vibrant heritage tomatoes and was pleasant. The Autumn beetroot with goats’ curd and raspberry vinegar, again was enjoyable but didn’t inspire fanfare and the addition of the puffed wild rice, tasted like dry cereal and was quite unfavourable.
Perhaps we were being devilishly fussy as the main courses quickly eradicated any notion of disappointment.
On arrival the smoked pork tenderloin with caponata, squid, gem heart and jus’ smelt divine, from the moment it was placed under our noses we knew it would taste exquisite, and it did. The caponata, squid and jus worked in perfect harmony with the pork. The meat itself was faultless, no gristle and packed with succulent flavour.
The pan roast seabass with curried couscous, cauliflower, bhaji and coconut was an extremely well balanced dish, the fish was beautifully cooked, white and soft. the curry flavoured couscous was delicately flavoured and unbelievably light and I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of it.
The 28 day matured Norfolk 8oz rib eye steak, cooked medium rare was everything you would expect of a quality steak, the addition of garlic tiger prawns, also impeccably prepared gave it a little extra oomph and the chips were marvellous.
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The sweet potato bastilla with feta, pine nuts, raisins, apple and leaf, was up to standard, the pastry was flaky and soft. My one criticism being that the addition of a myriad of currents in the bastilla made the dish extremely sweet, and I found the savoury notes of sweet potato, feta and pine nut were completely lost.
We were too full for desert but I have only heard good things and believe that any pudding served would’ve been out of this world.
When we ordered our drinks we were very impressed by our server, who not only recited about 20 beers off the top of his head but could also tell us the alcohol percentage of beverages like it was no big deal.
The White Horse is beautifully decorated throughout, although I must say the conservatory area is the place to be and if weather permits even better is outside. The atmosphere was calm and relaxing.
Second to none. Staff were knowledgeable, diligent, professional and very helpful.
Nice and clean with a cheery nautical theme.
This place is pretty pricey but ideal for a celebratory meal. In all honesty I’d pay just to sit and enjoy the view but we did feel £12 for three tiny scallops was steep.
It’s not exactly somewhere you are just going to stumble across. A wonderful addition to any North Norfolk day out though.
Plenty of car parking, although it does fill up quickly, especially at busy times.
Has to be the view and the curried couscous.
The White Horse is special. It’s a cut above the rest, both in service and food and the location may have something to do with it as well…