Let’s do lunch:
The Fritton Arms is the EDP Norfolk Food and Drinks Awards family dining pub of the year and was also shortlisted for its field to fork category. Rowan Mantell finds out about its winning ways
We’re at the awardwinning Fritton Arms
The approach is beautiful, a lane sweeping in past a little round-towered Saxon church to land you in front of a historic golden coaching inn, close to the shores of Fritton Lake.
The Fritton Arms sits in the grounds of the Somerleyton estate, surrounded by meadow and woodland. Originally a coaching inn, today it is a pub and boutique hotel. Its restaurant sprawls stylishly through several pretty rooms and much of the menu is sourced from the countryside all around.
If you’re looking for fine food with as few food miles as possible (and if not, why not?) then The Fritton Arms is a great place to start. And finish, with the local ingredients starting at the starters, and flowing all the way through to the cheese board, taking in drinks too.
Carefully curated dishes – the descriptions detailed but not over-seasoned with flowery phrases
The atmosphere is cosy, enhanced by an open fire and comfy chairs in the main bar. On a still-chill spring lunchtime, this was very welcome. But not as welcome as the menu. It promised a delight of carefully curated dishes – the descriptions detailed but not over-seasoned with flowery phrases.
I chose a starter of wild mushrooms, charred potatoes, celeriac cream and parsley cress. The smooth texture and earthy flavour of the celeriac was particularly good. My husband had Somerleyton pigeon breast, pink fir potatoes, pear puree and pancetta. I appreciated the alliteration – he appreciated the combination of intense flavours.
Staying ultra-local he had estate rabbit and rarebit pasty with curly kale for his main course, while I chose Jerusalem artichoke pithivier with golden beetroot puree. I had to ask what pithivier meant (a circular puffpastry pasty.) Again, this was an inspired mix of strong flavours, and also served with curly kale. Howard’s main course arrived with chips, not mentioned on the menu; thankfully the portion was generous enough for me to dip in too.
Puddings continued the welcome theme of bypassing the bland in favour of embracing flavour. However we decided to share the cheese-board with quince jelly, apple, celery and crackers. Huge wedges of cheese arrived, although I had to ask what they were. The Binham Blue was particularly divine. Our bill for three courses and a couple of drinks each was just under £70.
We finished with a wander down to Fritton Lake, via Victorian gardens which are being restored, and a visit to the nearby church. It majors on ancient East Anglian saints including farmer St Walstan. I feel he would have enjoyed seasonal dishes created from locally-grown produce.
Fritton Arms Church Lane, Fritton, NR31 9HA. 01493 484008. fritton[email protected]leyton.co.uk somerleyton.co.uk
Our review visits are unannounced and we pay for our meals.
LEFT: When the weather allows, sit outside and enjoy the garden
ABOVE: The Fritton Arms, a handsome destination for diners