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Muddy eats: The Lodge, Old Hunstanton

Eat, drink and be merry

Just take a look at this pub? Isn’t she handsome? Built in 1542, The Lodge has an incredible history, with tales of smugglers during the 18th century; it even doubled as a home for British solders during WWII.

The Lodge raced to the finish line with the Best Bar trophy in its hands during last year’s Muddy Stiletto Awards and, having finally managed to visit, I can see why.

Located in Old Hunstanton village, and headed up by a dynamic duo of chefs, The Lodge is cosy, welcoming and family-friendly with good food, open fires and local ales… what’s not to love?

I can imagine this pub being a massive hit in the summer with its pretty garden; we loved our winter visit, too, with its beautiful Christmas tree and roaring fire.

The Lodge is a large pub, restaurant and hotel, with several sections meaning you can find a nook to suit. There’s a large bar with plenty of high stools for sipping a local brew whilst waiting for your party to arrive, a cosy lounge area – with sofa seating, humungous armchairs that made the children look like tiny and a fire place –  and a conservatory with large windows looking out onto the garden, which comes into its own in the summer months.

The cosy lounge area

The dining area

We began our evening with a drink in the conservatory, staring out in pride at the rather large sign telling guests that it won Best Bar last year (and why not?).

Moving into the lounge area (despite being evenly matched three adults to three children, staying away from formal diners is always a wise!), we got comfortably in sight of the fire and began to read the comprehensive menu with its mix of sharer plates, classic pub grub and stone baked pizzas. From Norfolk Crab to Norfolk Pork, there’s plenty of fresh, local produce on the list, too, as well as a separate menu for children.

Food envy arrived at the same time as my friend’s Norfolk muscles, which were served in a creamy garlic sauce with crusty bread.

My sizzling chicken fajitas were just the job, served in a skillet with separate pots of sour cream, homemade guacamole and a tangy tomato relish.

Adult number three’s Grilled Norfolk Dapple Polenta with aubergine and potato gratin was, she exclaimed, light, hearty and surprisingly tasty.

All three kids went for pizza (predictably), with clean plates all round.

The Lodge has a great wine list, too, with some great reds to warm up on a cold winter’s day and some lovely whites to try in the sunshine (or vice-versa).

And if that wasn’t enough, the staff are super friendly and accommodating – our waiter easily tolerated our noisy tribe with smiles and colouring books/crayons.

In short, we arrived cold and hungry and left full of Christmas cheer. Bravo!

THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for:
Families, groups of friends, dog-lovers,

Not for:
Those looking for a fine dining experience.

The damage:
Starters: between £6.25 and £7.95; mains: between £12.50 and £17.50; desserts: between £2 and £8.

Old Hunstanton Road, Old Hunstanton, Norfolk, PE36 6HX. Tel: 01485 532896. thelodgehunstanton.co.uk

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Norfolk