Socius, Burnham Market
New Kids on the block - Socius in Burnham Market opened in March and is certainly making it's mark on the North Norfolk eating circuit.
Owners Natalie (Operations Director) and Dan (Chef Director) have created (literally brick by brick) a unique and sociable dining experience where guests can enjoy the food and drink, while watching the chefs at work.
Hidden behind the Main Street of Burnham Market, you might feel like you’re entering a housing development but don’t let that put you off. The pretty stone cobbled new-build barn is home to some of the best tapas style dining I’ve tasted outside Europe. Plus, there’s plenty of parking which is an added bonus, as this can be terrible in the popular tourist haunt whatever day of the week or time of year you’re visiting.
High ceilings, cool tones and utter simplicity – you walk into the restaurant and feel an immediate sense of calm. At first I was concerned that the open plan, split mezzanine and open kitchen would be a bit of a noise fest but I was wrong. I immediately felt chilled and relaxed.
This is not a pretentious restaurant, some might feel it’s location lends to a certain clientele but far from it. We came on a weekday evening and the place was buzzing with couples and families of all ages.
Socius is a Latin word meaning to share or partake and this is the whole concept behind the restaurant – small plates with big flavour encouraging everyone to try a bit of everything. I can honestly say we did Muddy proud on this one and left with a belly fully of great food and top button undone!
The decor is incredibly simple, drawing your eye to the kitchen and the food preparation. Quite a lot of pressure for the staff, especially on a busy night but I was mesmerised by Dan and his team as they effortlessly moved around each other and plated the food like works of art.
Some lovely details – the amber glow of the rather impressive wine unit made me feel a little like Gollum hypnotised by the golden ring. I loved the menu inspiration wall which charted Dan and Natalie’s travels and became the source of ideas for their eclectic tapas menu.
In the summer there’s a lovely south-facing terrace with seating. I can easily imagine rocking up with the kids fresh from the beach with buckets and spades and enjoying a late afternoon alfresco snack.
The Scoff & Quaff
The menu changes daily and like most Norfolk restaurants they support local and use the best of Norfolk produce.
I absolutely love tapas style eating and the lack of formal structure to the meal. For ease I’m simply going to list all the treats we devoured and let the pictures to the talking!
We started with the home baked Focaccia and olive tapenade (a perfect mix of oil and salty loveliness) and sticky king prawns, chilli and herbs.
Burrata Norfolk tomatoes and almond pesto
Soft shell taco, avocado chimi churri and crispy goats cheese.
Charred aubergine, courgette, caponata, mint and basil
Flat Iron Steak bearnaise with Caesar salad and house rubbed chips
Lemon meringue alaska, strawberries and elderflower mint
Mr O summed it up when he said it’s the best food he’s eaten for years (he actually said ever, but he is prone to over excitement!) My only bit of advice – pace yourself and if you have the time, order as you go along and not all at once!
Out and About
Where to start? You’ve got the whole of North Norfolk to explore. From the delights of Burnham Market with it’s independent boutiques such as Collen & Claire to the beautiful beaches – Brancaster, Holkham and Wells-next-the-sea.
You’re not too far from Pensthorpe Natural Park which is great for kids and burning off a bit of energy. If you fancy a bit of traditional seaside amusement action, pop along to Hunstanton where you’ll find East Coast Gelato for the best ice-cream in Norfolk and winner of our Muddy Awards best cafe – The Old Boathouse cafe!
Dalegate Market at Burnham deepdale is worth a looksie too – lots of lovely independent craft shops, perfect for gifts and picking up a unique piece of local art.
Good for: Families and groups who love sharing food. Food lovers – the food is exquisite.
Not for: Honestly, I don’t think there is anyone who wouldn’t like this place. Even for a romantic meal, you can be tucked away in the corner or upstairs for a little bit of privacy.
The damage: Depends on how many dishes you order! Dishes start from £3 for snacks, plates vary from £6.50 to £19.50 (steak) and desserts £7.50
Socius, 11 Foundry Place, Burnham Market, Kings Lynn, PE31 8LG