The Marsham Arms
The creative menu makes this family run pub a 'Muddy Must' visit.
Head Chef James Mortimer is the Marsham Arms’ secret weapon!
You’ll find all the timeless classics on the menu but it’s the experimental Specials Menu that make this place worthy of a visit.
The Marsham Arms is set only 7 miles outside Norwich en route to Holt and the North Norfolk coast. I’ve driven past it hundreds of times and thought “we really must go there!”
Luckily it came to my attention as a Finalist in the Muddy Awards ‘Destination Pub’ category and there’s a good reason this pub has such a strong following, the food is seriously good!
In fact, and I don’t say this lightly – it’s possibly the best pub meal I’ve had this year.
Recently refurbished the décor is simple and warm with lots of lovely nods to the history of the pub and surrounding area. Too many pubs lose their soul by modernising to death but the owners have absolutely remembered not to alienate their bread and butter customers.
This is very much a family pub and on a Saturday night it was buzzing with people covering the full spectrum of ages. A nice little alfresco area out the back makes it great for families in the summer.
Dining is split between three main rooms – the cosy lounge with booths, the larger function room and the light and airy Garden room. It was a popular place to be on a Saturday night, so if you’re on a rare ‘date night’ you might want to request a booth.
The dynamic of husband and wife team (Head Chef and Restaurant Manager) clearly works as the service was warm, friendly and effortless.
SCOFF & QUOFF
This is where The Marsham Arms really shines and the culinary delights on the Specials Menu elevate this pub to gastro status without some of the less appealing clichés and prices.
I had the Asparagus with crispy hen’s egg, parma ham shard, parmesan shavings. The egg was lightly deep fried to create a very subtle crust but still runny inside – magic! Now I’m no Gregg Wallace but I was very impressed and think this is a Master Chef effort worthy of recognition.
The salt & pepper squid rings were perfectly cooked and served with chilli, coriander, spring onion and aioli. Nothing worse than a chewy squid ring!
For the mains I kept to the specials menu and wasn’t disappointed. My pan -fried fillet of sea bass, sautéed prawns and chorizo, crushed new potatoes, samphire and lemon was a beautiful mix of flavours.
Mr O opted for a nice bit of steak and was equally impressed. I had to stifle a giggle at his new found ‘Muddy’ review skills when he delighted at praising the Chef on the subtle flavour of the rocket mustard dressing!
By this stage, we were pretty stuffed but it is the Muddy way to persevere in the interest of our readers so on to the puds!
Baileys Cheesecake and Lemon and Blackberry Eton Mess, I think the pictures say it all – absolutely delicious!
It is clear the food is produced with great care and energy by Head Chef James. We are told that they have a 30 mile food footprint (very Muddy, thank you very much) and almost everything you will eat here is made fresh in-house.
OUT & ABOUT
If you fancy a piece of National Trust action after all that food, you’re just down the road from Blickling Hall and an excellent opportunity to explore the park and gardens while working off a few indulgences.
You’re also en route to the lovely market towns of Holt and Aylsham, both great for some local independent shops, galleries and the Bure Valley Railway.
If you have the kids in tow, you’re only 15 minutes from our Muddy Award Winning Family Attraction 2018 – Bewilderwood. Where you can visit the Twiggles, Boggles and Mildred the Crocklebog!
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good For: Families/couples and those who want traditional pub grub done incredibly well but also the option of a Specials Menu which wouldn’t look out of place in a fine dine restaurant (but at a fraction of the cost).
Not For: Anyone wanting spacious, Farrow & Ball refurbed dining.
The Damage: Excellent value – Starters from £5.95, Mains from £12.95, Desserts from £6.50
The Marsham Arms, Hevingham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR10 5NP