Restaurant gets new head chef with hopes of landing AA rosette

The restaurant at the Black Lion Hotel in Little Walsingham has undergone a refurbishment. 

The restaurant at the Black Lion Hotel in Little Walsingham has undergone a refurbishment. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

The owner of a Norfolk restaurant is hoping that a new head chef and stylish refurbishment will be the recipe for earning an AA rosette for culinary excellence. 

The Black Lion Hotel in Little Walsingham boasts six en-suite rooms alongside a bar and restaurant and was taken on by Claire Woods in November 2019.

Despite the obstacles brought by the pandemic, Mrs Woods has risen to the challenge and during each lockdown made changes.

The Black Lion Hotel was taken on by Claire Woods in November 2019. 

The Black Lion Hotel was taken on by Claire Woods in November 2019. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

This included revamping all the rooms to give them each their own identity and a more luxury feel. 

Her work was rewarded in August last year when The Black Lion achieved three-star hotel status from the AA.

One of the new look rooms at The Black Lion Hotel. 

One of the new look rooms at The Black Lion Hotel. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

Mrs Woods, who has an HR background, said: "This was my first foray into hospitality and The Black Lion is one of my favourite places.

"I thought I could take it to the next level and over the last two years it has gone from a pub to a restaurant and three-star hotel - now we are hoping to achieve a rosette."

The bar area at The Black Lion Hotel. 

The bar area at The Black Lion Hotel. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

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To gain one rosette for food, establishments must achieve standards that stand out in their local area using good quality ingredients.

In December 2021, new head chef Leroy Otton came on board, who previously worked at a three-rosette restaurant in Suffolk.

The bedrooms at The Black Lion Hotel now all have their own identity.

The bedrooms at The Black Lion Hotel now all have their own identity. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

He serves a classic British menu with a twist, offering dishes such as pan-seared fillet of salmon and king oyster mushroom steak.

There is also a lunch menu and Sunday roasts with local meats and all the trimmings.

In January 2022, the restaurant area underwent a refurbishment which included new tables and chairs and dark teal walls.

The restaurant area at The Black Lion Hotel underwent a refurbishment in January 2022. 

The restaurant area at The Black Lion Hotel underwent a refurbishment in January 2022. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

Mrs Woods added: "It has a lovely look and feel and it has been commented on by everyone.

"The food offering is now fine dining and Leroy is innovative and is very big on flavour.

"I'm feeling really positive with a fantastic team and our great general manager Matt Bulley.

Matt Bulley, general manager of The Black Lion Hotel.

Matt Bulley, general manager of The Black Lion Hotel. - Credit: The Black Lion Hotel

"We now have the complete package to move forward to our goal.

"We offer great food, great service and a warm welcome."