The Norfolk Lurcher, Colton: “If you’re after good local food and a great drink, this is the place to visit”
- Credit: Archant
Local produce, real ale and a seriously good whisky list top the bill at this country pub
The Norfolk Lurcher is a traditional British pub located in the village of Colton, roughly 10 miles out from Norwich.
A family-run establishment, the place was purchased a little over a decade ago by Alison and John Lainchbury, who own the pub and run it with the help of their children Daniel and Penny.
Originally a barn built in 1810, the inn was converted in 1992 into a home, known as Ugly Bug Hall, a name supposedly derived from strange insects children of a builder found inside during the conversion.
Despite it now being a freehold public house, this creepy crawly link lives on, with the pub's eatery being called The Ugly Bug restaurant.
'The name attracts lots of families as children think it sounds funny, but we're not really big fans of the name to be honest, it doesn't quite sound right for a pub, which is why we changed the actual name from The Ugly Bug Inn to the Norfolk Lurcher,' says Penny Lainchbury, who has been based at the pub along with her fiancé for several years.
The pub itself is named after the family dog, Alfie, a Norfolk Lurcher.
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'People really enjoy the family connection here, it makes the place seem more welcoming and familiar,' she adds.
While the this may not look all that different from any other village pub, it sets itself apart through its use of good quality, fresh food.
Miss Lainchbury said: 'Everything we sell is homemade using fresh ingredients, which are predominantly local.
'It's also all made to order, so there are no limitations or dietary restrictions.
'We can easily adapt things on the menu to be gluten-free, vegan or anything else you may require.
'Sometimes you'll go out for dinner and a place will claim the ingredients are fresh and good quality, but you can tell straight away from the taste that they're not. That's definitely not the case here.'
The restaurant also has its own separate vegetarian menu, which features a range of main meals such as vegetable crepe filled with seasonable vegetables in a cheesy cream sauce, vegetable balti, served with basmati rice, poppadoms, raita and mango chutney, and tagliatelli carbonara.
For those wanting something a little meatier, venison is the restaurant's most popular dish at the moment, as well as steak and baked Cromer crab, which has proved to be a big hit with tourists.
A lunchtime menu is also available which features some of the main favourites and lighter bites.
When it comes to the sweet stuff, a special dessert board is created daily and there's another board showcasing the best produce of the season, such as asparagus brought in from local farms, or Brancaster mussels.
Prices here range from £5.95 for a starter to £11 for a main and £22.50 for a hearty serving of surf and turf.
As with the produce, all of the ales inside the pub are sourced from across the county.
'We use lots of local breweries throughout the year and rotate our taps from a selection,' said Miss Lainchbury. 'Our main brewery is Beeston and their Worth the Wait is incredibly popular and rightfully so, it's a fantastic beer.'
However the most impressive thing about The Norfolk Lurcher has to be the range of malt whisky, with more than 60 different types on offer. An entire menu dedicated to the drink is available, which features most of the chapters from the English Whisky Company.
If you're after a spot of good local food and a great drink, just outside of Norwich, this is the place to visit.