Muddy eats: Titchwell Manor, Titchwell
One of my jobs at Muddy is to find things that would go down an absolute storm in London and shout about them. When I stumble across something that doesn’t just have all the London-style ingredients – on brand, trendy and doing something altogether different – but has an absolutely stunning view of the beach as well (something London can never compete with), well, my job is made all the easier (and altogether more fun!).
Muddy Readers: may I introduce you to Titchwell Manor, a pub-cum-bar-cum-restaurant-cum-hotel that is as beautiful as it is trendy as it is tasty.
With a bundle of awards under its belt – Member of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, AA Silver for its hotel, 3 Rosettes for its restaurant and – most importantly – a Muddy Stiletto Awards 2016 Finalist for Best Restaurant (it was piped at the post by Benedicts at the 11th hour) – it has certainly earned its stripes.
And boy are there some stripes to be seen inside. At a time when interior design is embracing muted shades of blues and greys (a bar doesn’t seem to be complete these days without some kind of grey tongue and groove), Titchwell Manor has gone all out with both stripy yellow and geometric blue wallpaper (side-by-side in some cases); a canary yellow Chesterfield couch; hot pink armchairs and bold orange cushions. It shouldn’t work but it so does.
There’s a light and airy conservatory for large groups of diners and Sunday lunch-ers, and a restaurant on the other side of the bar boasting stunning views of Titchwell Beach.
My dining companion and I start in the bar area – with its trendy, brick-style Metro tiling (from London), craft beers and bottles of Champagne chilling in buckets of ice – and sink two cold pints while perusing the menu. Then it’s off to the other side of the bar (cleverly divided by an open fire) to dine with a view of the beach (and later, the most glorious sunset I’ve witnessed all summer).
Head chef Eric Snaith and his team create a choice of menus, from children’s to a la carte and from Sunday lunch to his luxurious five or seven-course taster menus (quaintly called Conversation Menus), complete with wine flights. We opt for the summer a la carte menu and take so much time choosing between the wide choice of fresh and local dishes, our waitress returns three times to take our order (and is extremely pleasant about it).
A warm, sliced granary roll with real butter is served (the butter sat on a pebble, cleverly reminding us of our beautiful setting) while we finally manage to choose two courses.
To start, I opt for the BBQ Sweetcorn – mashed potato cake with sweetcorn husks and popcorn, which is light and sweet without being too filling – while my dining partner chooses the crab meat Blini with fresh salad which – he enthuses – is moist and flavoursome with just the right hint of the sea.
For mains, I am torn but finally pick fish pie for – while it isn’t usually anything to write home about – is always tasty and comforting. On this occasion, I choose wisely: this is no ordinary fish pie but a delectable pot of gooey, creamy, cheesy, crunchy loveliness and really something to write home about (or at least write about). It’s made with Emmental Mash and King’s Lynn Shrimps, and served with warm leeks and a wedge of lemon. Yummy!
A lovely-looking piece of Sea Bass arrives at the other end of the table, served with a crunchy Marcona Almond topping and on a bed of Marsh Vegetables (which I can only assume means local – the Marsh being nearby Titchwell Marsh?) and Broad Beans.
To drink, we both agree on a light Sauvignon Blanc but can’t decide between French and New Zealand, so order a glass of each – when they both arrive, I must confess that I can’t really tell the difference!
On to dessert, and I go for a lemon tart with meringue pieces and Gin sorbet, while my dining companion chooses fresh, local strawberries with strawberry sorbet, white chocolate shavings and white chocolate sauce – two perfect summer puds that would both go down well at Wimbledon.
Two perfect coffees later and it’s out of the front door to hear the evening waves crash onto the sand. As far as this match goes, it’s definitely Norfolk: 1; London: Nil.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Family lunches, casual dining with friends or large groups of fine diners/private function-ers- catered for in the conservatory. Walkers and visitors to the beach can pop in just for a drink and a snack, while guests celebrating a special occasion can enjoy afternoon tea served with fizz. Dogs and children welcome. Sunday roasts also served.
Not for: Anyone on a tight budget – Titchwell Manor’s menus are worthy of their award-winning status.
£££: A la carte menu: entrees £6-13, mains £10-24, desserts mostly £6.50. Taster menus: £55 (five courses); £65 (seven courses) with wine flights £30 and £35 respectively. Sunday roasts: one course: £17, two courses: £23; three courses £27. Children’s menu: two courses: £8; three courses: £10.
Titchell Manor, Titchwell, Near Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8BB, Tel: 01485 210221. titchwellmanor.com