If you are a regular reader of my blogs, and in particular the review section, you will know one of my favourite escapes from this hectic life is the county of Norfolk. I consider this beautiful part of the country to be my second home in the UK and it offers the perfect antidote to the mile a minute lives we all lead in the city. I prefer to seek out the cosy, country bolt holes which tend to fall under the tourist radar, and within those enclaves there is invariably a quaint pub which really captures my imagination. The Gunton Arms is one such establishment.
We found the Gunton Arms quite by accident while visiting a lovely park near Cromer. It really was one of those “oh look there’s a pub over there” moments. The exterior promised great things but having been disappointed in the past I kept my excitement under control. Once we got through the door however we soon discovered that the interior was every bit of good. From the wood panelling to the nooks and tables set into the bay windows, this is a traditional British pub at its finest.
Now while I may be a modern fella in terms of my cooking appliances et al when I relax with my wife and kids I’m a real traditionalist at heart and the Gunton ticks all my boxes. The restaurant serves top quality food using the best local produce and my heart did a little leap when I found out that the chef Stuart Tattersal used to be head chef for one of my favourite celebrity chefs Mark Hix. These dishes include fresh venison from the nearby deer park but I thought it best not to share this with the kids who had been admiring these beasts only minutes earlier!
A complete renovation of the entire building took place in 2011 and the attention to detail is sublime. The restaurant in particular is, naturally, the area that interested me the most and it was good to see them give a nod to Mark Hix for the help and inspiration he had given them during the reno project. The manager also used to be in the employ of Mr Hix and between him and Stuart they have created something very special.
After a couple of drinks and a delicious lunch we left the Gunton with that fuzzy feeling you get after a particularly good meal and vowed to return again, which we have done many times since. Little gems such as this pepper the British countryside and is proof that you don’t have to visit a city to enjoy fine fare. The Gunton is one of those local secrets which deserves countrywide recognition but with that comes the risk it will lose its unique ambiance. So lets just keep it between ourselves eh?