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

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

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

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