Brasted's lived up to its reputation - perfect for romantic evenings and intimate occasions! The quality and quantity of food justifies a little extra expense.
It’s never an easy task to pick a venue for a first date, but if there’s one way to make sure that it’s a memorable experience, it’s to take your new acquaintance to Brasted’s. Housed in a beautiful barn conversion in the quaint village of Framingham Pigot, it’s only a couple of miles from Norwich, but as you wind your way down the leafy countryside lanes, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve left the city far behind you. Over the course of thirty years, Brasted’s has established itself as one of Norfolk’s go-to dining destinations, with a list of regional and national accolades to its name, and it also has on-site boutique rooms and a separate event venue at Langley Abbey.
I’d browsed the menu beforehand to consider the safest first-date options – easy on the garlic, no spaghetti – and my stomach had been performing somersaults from nerves as well as hunger ever since. As we ventured out into the drizzle, I couldn’t help but worry that with such high expectations, it could turn out to be a bit of a washout – but in the end, there was nothing that could rain on this parade.
Understated luxury was in evidence at Brasted’s before we’d even stepped across the threshold. We were rescued from the elements by a host with a giant golf umbrella and ushered inside, where we plumped into the depths of a leather sofa. As I sipped my cocktail – a Bramble, at £9.50 for a very healthy serving! – we were treated to a duo of canapés, including a beautiful salmon teriyaki. Deep red walls and wooden beams created a warm, welcoming mood and with plenty of space between tables, soft lighting and muted background jazz, there was a definite sense that we could take our time throughout the evening.
SCOFF & QUAFF
We had a momentary dilemma over whether to choose the three-course or four-course option, but in the end, we erred on the side of caution and went for three (I was still trying to make a good impression, after all!) However, there was no fear of us going hungry. We were served with amuse-bouche and a trio of homemade breads and herb butter, so it was something of a relief that we’d both opted for light starters. My roasted heritage beetroot with goats’ cheese parfait was particularly delicate and creamy, with a pleasant contrast in tastes and textures.
We’d both chosen winter warmers for our main course, and my companion’s venison was melt-in-the-mouth tender and packed full of rich flavours. My confit pork saddle was served with a salsify carbonara, a tasty alternative to the standard accompaniments, and this wasn’t the only unusual ingredient to feature on the menu: smoked roe espuma, bergamot curd, crispy egg yolk and tomato nage all raised their delicious heads across the various courses. As you’d expect, there’s an emphasis on local ingredients and the freshest of produce, and there is always at least one vegetarian and vegan option available.
Dessert, however, was the star of the show. After a sweet pre-dessert treat of honey mousse with blackberry gel, my rhubarb and ginger tarte tatin was zingy and sharp on a wonderfully flaky pastry base. By this point, we were familiar enough that I could steal a little bit of my partner’s coconut & pineapple extravaganza – I mean, there’s no better way to test someone’s relationship potential than to see if they’ll share their food! – and the gooey meringues and zesty wafer were simply gorgeous (and to be fair, the company was pretty gorgeous too!)
OUT & ABOUT
Brasted’s is perfectly positioned between the city and the countryside and if you can drag yourself away from their beautiful gardens, there’s plenty to do and see in the area. The Broads are only a short drive away, and there’s plenty of countryside around, so pull on those wellies and get out for some fresh air. Plus, Brasted’s have partnered with Imagine Spa in Blofield to offer midweek breaks, so whether you’re escaping from the daily grind or looking for a romantic weekend away, why not stay over in one of their boutique rooms and have a little pamper too?
Romantic evenings, intimate occasions and apparently, first dates too! It’s perfect for special occasions where the quality and quantity of food justifies a little extra expense, and my companion enjoyed it so much that he even asked me out for a second date. The only question is: where could we possibly go from here…?
Children, noisy groups or fast food. The whole experience is centred around relaxed, easy dining, so if you’re looking for a party atmosphere, you might want to visit their alternative venue of Langley Abbey instead or host your own occasion in their Barn venue. Just make sure you come back to the restaurant another time – it’s not one to miss.
A three-course dinner from the set menu is £51, and you can enjoy four courses for £59 if you’re feeling particularly hungry (although both options include canapes, amuse bouche and a pre-dessert too!) Bottles of wine range from £25 – £108 and a 175ml glass is around £7. They also have an interesting selection of ‘Odd Bottles’ available, so if you know your stuff and want to venture off-piste, it’s worth checking these out.
Visit on a Saturday night and enjoy live piano music, and keep an eye on our What’s On Guide for special events too.
Words: Hannah Colby