Michelin nod gives Sculthorpe Mill buzz - and it doesn't disappoint
- Credit: AW PR
There’s nothing like a badge of honour from food guide giant Michelin to create a buzz around a restaurant.
Not that Sculthorpe Mill, which reopened at the end of July last year, needed it - it had already enjoyed a successful first few months, and in October was named among the best 100 places to stay in the country by the Sunday Times.
But the Bib Gourmand nod from Michelin in February (an award started in 1997 which highlights restaurants offering great quality food at, relatively, good prices) cemented its place as a must-visit in Norfolk’s food scene.
The menu is concise, and changes often (sample menus are available online). We started with a fried first round, ordering the sweetcorn fritters (£8.50), three hearty corn cakes which were lightly battered and well-seasoned, dipped in a spicy chipotle and lime mayonnaise. A comforting (and quite filling) start.
We also ordered the mixed fish-fry (£11.50 - or you can have a bigger version for £15) made up of light, crispy whitebait, tender strips of squid, scampi bites and nuggets of flaky cod, with tartare sauce on the side.
Perhaps not the lightest of starters (if you’re after a smaller bite, try the smoked salmon for £12.50 or the chestnut mushroom pate for £8.50), but it was salty, crispy and tasted like being by the sea.
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We plumped for the Dexter beef burger (£15.50) for a main, served in a seeded bun with some particularly chunky chips on the side.
The flavour of the beef sang through, charred on the outside and still pink inside, while the bun held together well (we’ve all tried to hold a fast-disintegrating burger bun together at one point).
But the star of the show (in a row of four tables, a person at each one ordered it) was the pork rib-eye chop (£18.50), a show-stopping hunk of meat, charred and crisp on the outside but slightly blushing inside, served with a rich mustard sauce and cabbage.
The meaty sauce was a highlight and elevated the cabbage, while the meat was tender, and, when enjoyed with a side of new buttery potatoes (£4 - but enough for two), it was a rich and indulgent.
We were, in truth, too full for dessert, but convinced ourselves the passion fruit fool, with double chocolate shortbread, would be a light ending to our meal. We weren’t too far wrong, and while it was velvety thick, the burst of sharp, tangy fruit was a great change of pace after a rich meal.
We arrived on Friday night, driving up the narrow country lane to the car park, and were greeted by a beautiful waterside building and the relaxing rush of water from the mill. It has the ideal ambience for a cosy pub in winter.
The restaurant is upstairs, a room filled with low beams. There is a bar downstairs with plenty of seating and outdoor seating for warmer months.
The downstairs bar is accessible to wheelchair users, however the restaurant does not have a disabled toilet.
The toilets are bright, modern and clean.
Our bill in total came to £80 exactly. It’s certainly not at the cheaper end of eating out, but it would make a brilliant spot for a special occasion or treat.
Sculthorpe Mill's bar is well stocked, with local ales and craft beer pumps on show. It also has an extensive wine and spirits list - we enjoyed a gin and tonic and a glass of red.
Our waiter was attentive, friendly and helpful, and it was a relaxing, snug atmosphere to enjoy a meal.
Sculthorpe Mill is clearly a restaurant where chefs make the most of high-quality ingredients, and we’ll definitely be back - most likely in summer, when we can enjoy a drink in the sun.
If you like that, try these...
Gunton Arms, Gunton. A country retreat where hunks of meat are cooked over an open fire - it doesn't get much more mouth-watering than that. Also known for its array of artwork.
Stoke Mill, Stoke Holy Cross. Nestled on the river Tas, a gorgeous rural pub in a stunning setting known for its fine dining.
Brisley Bell, Brisley. A village pub with one of the best beer gardens around. Named best pub in Britain last year.
Sculthorpe Mill, Lynn Road, Fakenham. NR21 9QG. 01328 633001.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.