The Gull Inn review: Crowd-pleasing dishes - just don't order the burger
PUBLISHED: 13:13 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:33 22 January 2019
A well-known pub in Norfolk for its prominent position along the A146, I headed to The Gull Inn to see whether its recent refurbishment under new management has been a success.
My visit to The Gull Inn on an early Saturday evening was the second time I had visited the pub.
At Christmas, I was coming back along the A146 after a day in Southwold for the light switch-on and wanted to pop in for dinner on the way home.
However, they told me the ovens weren’t working and rustled up a plate of cold meats, cheeses and olives with some oils instead which was really tasty so I made a mental note to come back to eat a proper meal there.
To start we ordered the smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade, herb crème fraiche and granary bread (£5.95) and bruschetta topped with chargrilled red peppers, balsamic glaze and rocket (£7.95).
The smoked salmon was topped with salmon roe which were bubbles of pure joy and the fish was complimented perfectly with the sharp celeriac remoulade and tangy chive garnish.
The bruschetta was suffocated by heaps of rocket, which made the presentation look a bit messy, but was sweet and moreish and combined with the balsamic glaze gave a punchy flavour.
Feeling optimistic after our starters, we waited in anticipation for our mains – The Gull cottage pie with slow-cooked beef brisket, beef mince, gravy, cheese-topped mash and a side of carrots and cabbage (£11.95) and chilli brisket burger with a chuck rump steak patty, fiery chilli spices, slow-cooked brisket, topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo and mustard with chunky chips (£12.95).
The cottage pie was downright delicious and the chunks of beef brisket were floating in a rich gravy and combined with the mince took the home comfort dish to the next level.
The cheesy mash was perfectly smooth and the portion of cottage pie was very generous – my only complaint would be the carrots and cabbage needed a little more seasoning and some butter.
However, my fellow diner was looking enviously across the table at me once his burger arrived.
I had expected a towering burger, perhaps in a brioche or crusty bun, topped with steaming chilli which gently oozed out the side.
Instead, he was presented with a large but flimsy white roll and you couldn’t even see the burger underneath as a gigantic portion of chilli had been dolloped inside which looked like something that had been squashed on the A146.
There was some sorry looking salad inside, the chilli had a nice flavour but was lukewarm at best and the accompanying skin on fries were decent but not particularly crunchy.
The burger itself was cooked well so it is a shame they have favoured quantity over quality.
Thankfully, my diner had ordered onion rings too which was a moreish mountain of batter and a bargain for £2.95.
Despite the let down with the burger, The Gull brought it back with the chocolate and pecan parfait (£6.95) we shared for dessert.
The spoon went through it like butter and was indulgent and full of flavour and combined with the chewy marshmallows was very tasty.
Some dishes are worth travelling for but they need to realise that less is sometimes more and focus on flavour rather than giant portions.
Located in Loddon Road along the A146 it is the ideal spot for lunch or dinner if you’re heading to the coast from the Norwich.
Also, it is less than five miles from the city centre and you could easily drive to the Broads afterwards.
We went early on Saturday evening but it was still reasonably busy, though most people were just drinking, and there is also a well inside and it is light and spacious.
There is a waterfall feature outside and you can’t hear any traffic noise at all.
The staff were polite but not overly enthusiastic.
However, a male member of staff, who I thought was either the manager or supervisor, who served us later on was lovely.
I had a lovely rhubarb and ginger gin with tonic which also had juniper berries in which was a nice touch.
However, there was no drinks menu which meant we had to rely on the waitress reciting the choice of gins and it would have been nice to see the prices.
The main restaurant area and toilets are on ground level with a small flight of stairs up to a raised platform with a few more tables.
The toilets had a Victorian design, including china toilet bowls with floral patterns, and were very clean.
Plenty of parking for customers all day, just make sure you know where the turning is for The Gull Inn as you could easily miss it.
The food was reasonably cheap with huge portions and a three-course meal with sides and an alcoholic drink for two cost £65.
The beef brisket in the cottage pie was very tender and combined with the cheesy mash on top was the perfect winter warmer.
A cosy pub and a good spot for a relaxed drink or meal if you’re already travelling along the A146 or live nearby.
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