Village pub's burgers are a hit for our reviewer as eating out returns
- Credit: Stuart Anderson
How is the food at The Lodge in Tuddenham? Reviewer Stuart Anderson headed along to sample its menu.
We planned this meal shortly after the stay-at-home order was lifted, and so decided to seek out a nice village pub.
I found The Lodge after a quick online search and booked a table in a few days in advance, knowing most people had been more than happy to brave the sunny but chilly early spring weather for the joy of sitting outside in a pub garden again.
Although we visited soon after its reopening the pub's team seemed to have their coronavirus measures down to a fine art. We were greeted at the entrance to the pub garden where we signed in and were shown to our table.
They have an in-house mobile app which you order from, which speeds up the whole process and cuts down the number of times servers have to come out to your table. Everything was well cleaned and gave the feeling of confidence.
To start the meal, we had the sharing nachos (£8.50) which was dished up in two separate bowls - one vegan version for my wife and a dairy version for me.
At first glance the servings seemed manageable but those bowls were deceptively deep - this was a small meal in itself.
The cheese had melted into a beautiful burnt orange colour over the crisps and there were generous servings of salsa, guacamole, sour cream. The salsa was delicious - really fresh ingredients.
Looking back at the photos of it now has started my stomach rumbling again.
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For our main dishes we both ordered burgers, and they both came with a side of slaw and pretty big stack of fries.
Mine was the Smokehouse Blues burger (£12.75), which starred a 7oz beef patty. That was topped with thick slices of bacon, melted cheese, crisp lettuce and a slab of beef tomato. It was a pretty epic ensemble - the kind of burger that's almost too big to pick up and eat with your hands. All of the ingredients were fresh and of a high quality.
I also had a side order of onion rings (£3) and got about five huge rings on a separate plate. These were both crunchy and chewy and served as a nice counterpoint to the chips, of which there were more than enough.
My wife got the Moving Mountain burger (£12), vegan option which came with salsa, vegan cheese and a pot of vegan mayo. This is one of those veggie burgers that are designed to look, smell and taste as close to the real thing as possible. I had a bite and although I could definitely tell it was not real meat, it was tasty enough.
So full was I after this dish that I almost couldn’t carry on, but we dutifully ordered dessert, which proved to be a highlight, with real care and attention put into the presentation of these dishes.
I had the chocolate cheesecake (£6) which was unlike any other cheesecake dish I’ve had before, its parts stacked into a small tower on a slightly oversized plate.
At the bottom was the cheesecake itself, round and flat like a tartlet with a pliable biscuit base. Above that was a partly crushed Oreo, chocolate cake crumbs and tiny cubes of fudge.
Topping it off was a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream and the ensemble was finished with lashings of chocolate sauce and powder.
It was one of the best desserts I’d had in a very long time. My wife had the vegan chocolate cake (£7) which was a more conventional slice of devilishly good looking dark choc, with its own scoop of ice cream and a smattering of raspberries.
The Lodge is a traditional country pub in North Tuddenham, near Dereham, just a short detour from the A47. It has a fairly large pub garden with a relaxed, family feel.
There are wooden tables and benches with umbrellas attached spread out over the grass and a covered section which would come in handy if it’s raining. It’s on a quiet road, so the only background noise was the chirping of the birds and the hubbub of other guests.
The waiting staff were really friendly and helpful and patiently explained how everything worked with the online ordering system. They seemed to be having fun and thrilled to be back serving customers again.
The food was prepared quickly there was almost no waiting between the different courses, although after the mains they did ask if we wanted a bit of a break before moving onto the pudding.
A full range of beer, wine, spirits and soft drink, just what you would expect at any self-respecting pub. I stuck with a Coke (£2.90) while my wife had a Crabbies ginger beer (£4.60).
The one time I wandered into the pub itself was to check out the loos, which were step-free and clean, and there was plenty of sanitiser on hand.
Value for money
Our total bill came to £56.75 for three courses each, drinks and an extra side. I thought it was really good value for money and the burgers were probably a couple of pounds cheaper that what you’d pay for the same thing in the city.
It’s difficult to say because the entire meal, service and dining experience was consistently top notch, but if there was one thing that did stand out it would have to to have been my amazing chocolate cheesecake dessert.
It was a great feeling to be back eating out again, and the team at The Lodge seemed to go above and beyond to put their customers at ease and make sure everything ran smoothly.
The atmosphere was casual and relaxing and the food was filling and delicious.
*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.
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2. Spice Fusion, Dereham
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3. The Black Swan, Horsham St Faith
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