I was staying with some friends in Norfolk last week, and visited a couple of fantastic restaurants that I thought were worth sharing with you.
The first one was the Masala Garden in Hales. This one hasn’t been open very long, it was a previously a pub, so is a pretty big restaurant. What would have been the bars have been converted into the dining rooms. The car park has room for 20 cars, so that gives you an idea of how many people can fit into the restaurant – my guess is 80 to 100 people.
We had a takeaway on Thursday, rather than eat in. Geoff had a Lamb Palok, which is a dish with a thick sauce and spinach, which is a dish I’d never heard of before, but looked fab, and Geoff really enjoyed it. Kate had Chicken Bhuna and I had a Chicken Vindaloo. We had garlic rice, motor ponir and tarka daal, and Kate had plain naan bread. That came to £35, which I thought was very good value, and all very tasty. I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant if you are up this way.
The next one was the Priory Farm Restaurant in St Olaves. The restaurant is next door the English Heritage site of St Olaves Priory, complete with a couple of llamas in a field next to the driveway.
The main menu for the restaurant is good, but there is also a huge blackboard with the daily specials in front of you as you enter the restaurant. With a large number of starters, fish and main dishes, I could only suppose that they did a massive trade to enable them to justify the range of food available.
Kate and I both chose off the main menu for the starters – Kate had the Avocado and Crayfish, I had the Large Prawns and Mussels. I chose that because I thought light creamy herb butter” would be ok for someone like me who doesn’t eat gluten. Our waitress was really on the ball because when I asked for a gluten free roll, she asked me to hold on and said she’d check my starter with the chef. The dear man said he could make it for me gluten free. (He did and it was delicious.)
For our main courses, we both had specials: Kate had chicken stuffed with stilton, wrapped in bacon, and I had the seafood platter which was grilled halibut, swordfish steak, red snapper and prawns. All this with vegetables of the day.
The food was great, and we were so full that we finished with liqueur coffees. If I tell you all this, with a bottle of wine only came to £62, well, I am suitably impressed.
I wish I could show you the restaurant but I didn’t take photographs in there. There is a bar in the entrance hall-cum-lounge and comfortable armchairs where you can sit to have an aperitif. The main restaurant is a huge hall with four-seater booths around the edges. There is also an upstairs balcony area, but quite deep, so I guess there is enough room for at least four-seater tables up there (I didn’t go upstairs). I could see a stuffed reindeer up there, but apparently there is a statue of a monk on the other side. The waiting staff were really helpful and friendly and we had a great time.
If we’d gone earlier in the day, I would have had a little trip to the priory next door. The priory was founded in 1216, dedicated to St Olaf who was a king in the 11th century (and patron saint of Norway). Not much of the priory survives, it’s mostly ruins, but according to English Heritage, the refectory is impressive, with its vaulted undercroft. Actually, lots of places in Norfolk seem to have quite impressive undercrofts.
While I was up there in Norfolk, one of the little dumplings gave me a book idea. I need to go up there for a few weeks to do a bit of research, but watch out for that one, I think it’s a runner.
And, just for a quick update, the girls are going to the vets tomorrow so paws and fingers crossed.Amazon
©Susan Shirley 2014
Masala Garden: http://masalagarden.co.uk/
Priory Farm: http://www.prioryfarmrestaurant.co.uk/