Food Review: The standards at Bure River Cottage Restaurant in Horning are exceptionally high
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010
Will local, no-fuss seafood impress?
On the banks of the Bure in the Broads village of Horning, Bure River Cottage Restaurant prides itself on serving local fish without fuss. This is a solely seafood offering, sourcing its fish locally in Norfolk and Suffolk, with menus changing frequently.
We last came here as a surprise for my birthday and there is always a risk when returning to a restaurant you've loved previously. Would it be worth it? In a word: yes.
I started with a generous stack of steaming hot, fresh mussels cooked in wine and parsley. They were fat and juicy - just what you want in a mussel.
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My partner opted for char-grilled scallops (the best and most expensive starter at £9.50). They were perfectly cooked - plump and sweet - and served with salsa verde. This green sauce is great with fish. We soaked it up with the restaurant's homemade, herby bread.
For mains, I went for a whole seabass, simply char-grilled with lots of herbs but meltingly delicious. You are rewarded for picking through the bones with a light but buttery flesh.
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Not liking fish bones, my partner had a fillet of sea bream, perfectly accompanied by a basil, walnut and feta dressing, which adds more complex flavours to the seafood.
All dishes are served with seasonal vegetables and buttery potatoes – but alas no chips.
A starter and main are enough to fill the larger appetites, but we feel optimistic and the menu looks promising, so we go for desserts.
I'm not a big pudding-eater but my partner is a sweet-expert. I feel restaurants often see sweet treats as an after-thought and you can be looking at a sad, cold, bought-in concoction for dessert – not here. The desserts were faultless. I chose a vanilla crème brulee – sweet with a great crack. My partner went for a chocolate and salted caramel pot with peanut butter ice cream, which was equally delicious.
Fine fish needs fine wine, something well understood at this restaurant. There is a great range of wine by the bottle. My only quibble is the 'wine by the glass' selection is limited, so find a designated driver or book a taxi because you're going to want to skip the glasses and plump for a bottle. Otherwise, there is a range of soft drinks.
The decor gives the impression of being on holiday abroad but somewhere still familiar - like Australia or California. The restaurant is bright and airy, with some walls painted a darker teal colour. It's a reasonably-sized dining room and tables are far enough apart so that if you drop your sea bass's head on the floor, it won't fall into your neighbour's lap (it happened). Book ahead, though, as the restaurant is often fully-booked on a weekend.
The service was friendly and laid-back; you get the sense that this is a family-run operation by people who have put their hearts into this.
A couple of loos, perfectly clean.
There is a large car park along the street but it is pay and display 24/7. There is limited parking outside the restaurant and there is the option of free parking slightly further away in the village.
Smack bang in the middle of this Broads village, behind the Swan Inn pub on Lowest Street.
For the quality of food, prices are reasonable, ranging from about £14-£20 for a main, including sides, and £6-9 for a starter and about £6 for a dessert.
The food itself is wonderful. If you're a fish-fan, this is a must. It's the best fish we've ever eaten in Norfolk.
Bure River Cottage knows how to do fish well – their standards are exceptionally high. They don't use pomp and faff to create their dishes but excellent ingredients cooked superbly. If you're looking for exceptional food without the pretension, then Bure River Cottage Restaurant is the place to go.
This is an independent review.