As MGG has been at Brownie camp, I took the opportunity to escape for a night away, and have had a fantastic night at The Crown Inn at East Rudham. It appears I did very little from the time I arrived except eat and drink, unless you count a long walk on Brancaster beach. Which I do, as a way to feel less guilty about the amount of great stuff I’ve tried.
The Crown Inn belongs to the The Flying Kiwi Inns group, and I would gladly stay at any of their places. Comfy, friendly, attention to the important details and very laidback. And a great focus on local food, really well cooked. It felt busy but efficient for service last night, and the menu gave some great choices to make. There was the smoked haddock and gruyere tart with a perfectly poached egg, and then the chicken won tons, mainly to see if all the menu was homemade. And if these weren’t, they were from a very good supplier, incredibly tasty with fresh herby seasoning, and a sweet chilli sauce with a bit of a kick.
First night was about the steak, because I’d been talking about the Lads That Lunch evening with owner Chris Coubrough on the Science of Steak. I took it to mean that they would understand what made a great steak, and how to cook it properly. And given that medium rare really meant medium rare then I think it’s safe to say they do! And I still don’t know how I made my way through the pile of very hand cut chips, but they were delicious.
Night two I went for sea bass with chickpeas, chorizo, roasted pepper and a cod beignet. Not mad on beignets, bit cheffy for me, but it added a great bit of crunch to the dish’s varied, but complementary, flavours. Tasty dish and not so heavy that I couldn’t make my way back to the dessert menu.
I tried a chocolate option, and a gooseberry fool. Beautifully served in a kilner jar, this was probably twice the size it needed to be, but was a great combination of sharpness and sweetness, bit more texture from some amaretti biscuits crunched on the top and a buttery piece of shortbread to top things off. Divine.
A 5 minute walk round the green to convince myself I’d walked off dinner, and then up the stairs to bed. Room 6 is small and perfectly formed, with interesting angles. Whoever has the uphill side of the bed shouldn’t roll over too quick as it could be disastrous for the one on the lower side! Divinely comfy bed though, so I don’t expect you to toss and turn much all night. If you’re country bumpkins like me you may find the road noisy, but I imagine most people will hardly notice it.
Breakfast was a proper English, with decent bacon, proper sausage and even a very respectable black pudding. Very relaxed feeling, as there are only the 6 rooms so breakfast is never going to be a mass stampede. I was asking where they would recommend I went to buy a crab. Firstly, A M Frary in Wells Next The Sea, was their recommendation and where all of theirs comes from. But as the kitchen had a couple going spare I bought one all ready to go, packed in ice for the trip home.
So I had the crab, we just needed bread. And the Village Deli at Thornham provided not only great bread, but a decent latte and two Bray’s Cottage pork pies, which are as amazing as everyone has said. Considering my afternoon tea companions are all Mrs King’s fans, these disappeared very quickly, with no complaints about a non Melton Mowbray pork pie being served up.
It was a very quick breeze through, but certainly wetted my appetite for all the many attractions, flavours and tastes that Norfolk has to offer, so I am sure I will be going back sometime soon. I would very happily stay at The Crown Inn again, or The Crown Hotel or the latest from this group, The Ship at Brancaster. Anywhere that puts me that close to great food and a comfy bed is my idea of heaven!