From 4 ft long sausage rolls to an elk room: The Gunton Arms is offering something truly special

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb atThe Gunton Arms, Cromer Road, Thorpe Market. Photo: Danny Elwes

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb atThe Gunton Arms, Cromer Road, Thorpe Market. Photo: Danny Elwes - Credit: Gunton Arms

Forget basket meals and nuts on the bar, the humble pub has moved on...

A rib of beef and venison sausages cooking on the Elk Room fire at The Gunton Arms, Cromer Road,Thor

A rib of beef and venison sausages cooking on the Elk Room fire at The Gunton Arms, Cromer Road,Thorpe Market, Norwich. Photo: Danny Elwes - Credit: Gunton Arms

Sitting in the midst of a 1,000 acre 18th century deer park near Cromer is The Gunton Arms - a gastropub that opened in October 2011 and offers guests a truly unique dining experience.

Owned by art dealer Ivor Braka, the north Norfolk establishment separates itself from other pubs by not being entirely food or bar led, but instead intertwining a brilliant combination of the two with a vibrant bar and thriving restaurant housed under the same roof.

Head chef Stuart Tattersall, who hails from Lancashire, trained in London with Mark Hix and says he is 'fiercely proud' to have the opportunity to bring his own interpretation of his mentor's work with the Great British food movement into the restaurant by showcasing the finest local ingredients.

'I'm a big supporter of the idea of using food from our own shores and at The Gunton Arms this is reflected in our cooking,' he said.

He added: 'We are loyal to the seasons and our menu changes accordingly throughout the year, featuring shellfish from Cromer in summer, Aberdeen Angus beef from G. F. White Butchers in Aylsham (who have been supplying our meat consistently for the last six years), and of course we have venison on tap thanks to our location.'

Venison is easily the star of the show at the restaurant, with one of the most popular dishes being a mixed grill containing different cuts of deer meat.

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This is cooked in front of guests in the eatery's quirky Elk Room, over a large open fire.

'The fire gives a unique nutty caramelised flavour to the meat and adds an element of the theatrical to the meal,' said Stuart, who encourages guests to share dishes, and enjoy a feast-style dining experience.

As well as a mixed grill, the venison is used to create a four foot long sausage roll which is served daily in the bar, causing a bit of a frenzy with customers due to its popularity - you'd better get in quick if you want a slice!

Other highlights on the menu include slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, which is served with a bubble and squeak style garnish, classic pub grub such as chicken, leek and bacon pie, and sweet treats like buttermilk pudding with Yorkshire rhubarb.

'We're incredibly fortunate to have a bountiful larder on our doorstep as it means we can be progressive with our cooking, introducing new ingredients on a daily basis, be it wild mushrooms, blackberries or elderberries.'

Wild garlic is one such ingredient that will be coming into season soon and Stuart advises customers to look out for the multitude of dishes that will benefit from the herb.

He said: 'We'll pick the garlic from local hedgerows and then make pesto, butters and wilt it into risottos.'

As well as local produce, The Gunton Arms is also keen to promote local ales with a wide selection on tap. The gastropub works closely with Adnams of Southwold but also has a lot of guest ales, which recently have included a few from Panther Brewery in Reepham.

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