De­spite liv­ing a cou­ple of miles from Baw­burgh King’s Head, Do­minic Cas­tle had never been there. Time to put that right

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - King­shead­baw­ Our re­view vis­its are unan­nounced and we pay for our meals.

The King’s Head at Baw­burgh

We of­ten over­look things that are close by, don’t we? Parisians are sup­posed to never go up the Eif­fel Tower, New York­ers don’t go to the Statue of Lib­erty or the Ro­mans the Colos­seum.

Closer to home, I have never been to the King’s Head at Baw­burgh, de­spite it only be­ing a hop, skip and jump from the front door and de­spite it hav­ing had, for many years, a pretty strong rep­u­ta­tion and own­ers who, after more than 30 years there, are clearly com­mit­ted to the cause.

And so, on a bit of a whim, we nipped over to the pub for a spot of mid­week sup­per. There was an agree­able buzz about the pub when we went in; it’s a nice old place – 17th cen­tury – with plenty of oak, comfy so­fas and ta­bles spread around.

As it was a spur of the mo­ment thing we skipped the starters, tempt­ing though they sounded. I went a lit­tle weak-kneed at the idea of crispy pork belly, caramelise­d ap­ple puree, crispy black pud­ding quail egg, pork puff, baby wa­ter­cress, jus, but bravely held off and went to the main cour­ses.

The last time I ate veni­son, a few weeks ago, it was a dis­ap­point­ment, a slab of meat with the tex­ture of some­thing knocked out by Dun­lop. So I de­cided to see if the King’s Head could re­store my feel­ings about this lovely meat.

Well, the short an­swer was that they could, and did. The veni­son was well-cooked and tender and the sticky red cab­bage, ap­ple and potato gratin, baby beet­root and turnips worked well.

It was per­haps a touch sweet over­all; maybe a lit­tle crisp green­ery might have helped bal­ance the flavours, but those thoughts formed only once I’d scraped the plate clean.

Across the ta­ble Mrs C was get­ting busy with her ravi­oli, which was a starter as a main course por­tion. Filled with pump­kin and ri­cotta with a pesto aioli and some toasted pine nuts, it was given the nod of as­sent. The pasta was a touch thick on a cou­ple of the ravi­oli but it didn’t stop them all be­ing con­sumed, with much gusto.

Skip­ping the starter left space for dessert. Things went a bit quiet as a date and ginger sponge with poached pear, caramelise­d wal­nut and vanilla ice cream ap­peared in front of her­self and then quite rapidly dis­ap­peared. I was granted a half-spoon­ful to taste and it was de­li­cious, with the sweet­ness of the date and a nice counter-punch of ginger.

I went for a big choco­late fix; a fruit and nut choco­late bar, with salted caramel, hon­ey­comb, and milk sor­bet. It was ev­ery­thing it should have been, es­pe­cially after I’d let the chilled bar warm up a lit­tle, re­leas­ing the flavours.

With a cou­ple of drinks, we came out just un­der £50 lighter in the wal­let.

It might not have been quite like a French­man shin­ning up the Eif­fel, but it was a re­ward­ing enough ex­pe­ri­ence to wish we’d done it sooner.

TOP: Pump­kin and ri­cotta ravi­oli

LEFT: Date and ginger cake with poached pear

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