This is the third of three guest posts from, Phil, a good friend of mine – all restaurants visited while on holiday in Norfolk, England.
Located in a 1000 (that’s a thousand) acre deer park on the Cromer Road, Norfolk The Gunton Arms is one of our favourite restaurants.
I say restaurant but it’s actually a hotel, pub and restaurant.
The pub serves bar snacks and has a huge range of whiskies and gins as well as the local brew but it’s the restaurant that attracts people from all over.
It serves local, seasonal produce (yes, including venison from the deer park) and all the seafood is caught by local fishermen.
A quirky bonus is that there are works of art from, among others, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Lucien Freud dotted all around the interior – the surrounding park has sculptures seemingly planted at random everywhere you look.
The first picture below is from the ladies’ loo. So I am told, so I am told!
But enough of that cultural stuff, we were here for food. Meat food!
First though you will, almost certainly, need to book well in advance and ask to be seated in the Elk Room. We booked a month before our trip and could only get a 6:30pm booking on the Saturday. This didn’t bother us though as we just made sure we had an early breakfast and skipped lunch!
The menu is extensive (venison from the park is seasonal) and they also have a specials board.
For starter we chose Queenies from the specials board (£10) I say “we” but I didn’t get a look in. Oh, ‘Queenies’ are scallops by the way and were served in garlic and herb butter. According to reports and the wrap on the knuckles with a fork they were ‘absolutely superb’
I didn’t have a starter, partly because I thought I may have been in with a chance of a 12.5% share of the Queenies but mainly because I was here for the meat.
The Elk Room in the Gunton Arms has a focal point you see. Sure, there’s a huge pair of elk antlers and the works of art stuck on the wall but it’s the fireplace below them that’s the main attraction. All the steaks, sausages and pork chops are cooked over an open fire by a chef who has fireproof skin. His name is Stuart and he’s a really nice guy. Buy him a pint of cider to say thanks. There’s something very caveman about the whole experience. Fire, smoke, meat. Man make fire! Man need food!
Did I mention the Bob Carlos Clarke photograph in the gentlemen’s loos by the way?
And so, to dinner.
The Queenie guzzler ordered suckling pig (£18 from the specials board) it came with spinach and potato and ‘amazing’ crackling. NB – You could be really greedy and order more sides at £2.95 each.
I ordered the fillet steak from the very same board (£28 with a peppercorn sauce).
Oh, I also ordered the pork chop (£16.50).
Yes, I know, but I didn’t have a starter remember?!
Anyway, this isn’t any pork chop, it’s a Blythburgh pork chop and the man with the asbestos skin was gonna cook it on the fire!
Actually, the waiter mentioned very politely “that’s quite a lot of meat sir” follow by “so you want the chips and roast potatoes?”.
Did I mention the potatoes are cooked in goose fat? A wonderful crunchy coated creation.
We ordered a bottle of Valpolicella Classico (£26). Very nice.
The food was all delicious, it is the best meat meal either of us have experienced. If you are in the area it’s a must.
PS – They do a Rib of Beef to share. It’s £62. I’ve seen couples share it.
TIP – Trust me, it will feed 3 easily and you may even have some left over for a sandwich the next day.
PPS – Nearly forgot amidst my salivating. We had dessert, well one of us did!
White chocolate and strawberry cheesecake £7 for the scallop stuffer. Ok, maybe I squeezed in a little cheeseboard £7 too!
We will, of course, return.
Cromer Rd, Thorpe Market,
Norwich NR11 8TZ
Please note we do not cook on the Elk Room fire on a Sunday