Muddy stays: The Hoste
As promised, here’s part two of my wonderful weekend away courtesy of The Hoste in Burnham Market. With the spa treatment published, it’s time to tell you about the best part: the hotel (oh and the dinner, yum, yum).
Firstly, about Burnham Market: if you could design a village that has everything (beauty, charm, intelligence), this would be it (even the maps are stylish – see below). So few hamlets have a village green these days so it’s wonderful to see a lush ‘middle’ where people sit and have a glass of cider on a summer’s day (so I’m told), happily discarding their shoes to rest their feet on the cool grass. The only thing missing is the Maypole.
Then there are the buildings sitting around the village green – constructed of Norfolk flint and home to an amazing fishmongers – Cromer Crab anyone? – a cutesy deli called Humble Pie (this is the intelligent bit), a Joules and a Gun Hill for your stylish country clobber, an art gallery, a butchers selling local meat, an independent wine merchants, a hat shop (didn’t expect that one did you?) and a fruit and veg shop with traditional navy and white striped hood.
What’s that I hear you say? No pub… Well, that’s where our lovely hosts at The Hoste come in, for not only is it a hotel and restaurant, but a pub with a roaring open fire and a surprising number of dogs (wouldn’t you just love the pedal round on the bike below by the way – my, my!).
Order a large red wine of decent origin, a pint of local ale or a pub lunch (think dressed Cromer Crab and local wood pigeon) for a cosy – yet classy – afternoon.
In the main building next door, everywhere I look guests are disappearing into squashy sofas, sipping glasses of wine or tucking into beautifully-presented afternoon teas, while the reception area is buzzing with guests checking in and out.
There’s a garden room around the back with an immaculate patch of lawn that’s accessible in the summer via bio-fold doors; in the meantime, this is both the breakfast room and part of the fine dining restaurant (more on which later).
The bedrooms – of which there are 36 ranging from ‘small’ to ‘divine’ via ‘classic’, ‘superior’, ‘four-poster’ and ‘junior suite’ – are accessed via a set of rickety spiral stairs and through a lounge area with sofas, a large flatscreen and a number of bookshelves. Each room has an individual design, with anything from freestanding baths and chandeliers to four poster beds and azure glass bricks. But the common theme is undoubtedly classic elegance.
Choose room 18 for direct access to the garden (see below).
Or room 38 for a separate lounge area (see below).
When it comes to dining, The Hoste really excels itself (quite a feat considering the quality of food hailing from North Norfolk these days). Making good use of its nearby coastline and agricultural heritage, the hotel dishes up culinary masterpieces of local, organic fare that couldn’t be tastier or fresher – even the menu is divided in sections of ‘from the land’ and ‘from the sea’.
Wishing to be more adventurous on the fish front, I start with the seared scallops with black pudding, apple sauce and crispy bacon and accompany it with a light Sauvignon Blanc of the Sommelier’s recommendation. I’ve been told that black pudding and scallops are a dream combination but have never understood how fish and pig’s blood can sit well together on a plate. I was wrong – it’s a triumph.
For mains, I move completely away from my refined starter from the sea and opt for a burger complete with bacon, cheese and fat chips – don’t judge, it was *delish*. The Sommelier suggests a deep red and I’m in meat and wine heaven.
So full I can hardly move, I push myself up the spiral staircase – which somehow seems narrower than before – sprawl inelegantly onto the elegant bed and fall deep into a foodie slumber.
The next morning, I’m greeted by pouring rain despite plans to hit the beach, so drown my sorrows in a plate of local eggs and farmhouse toast along with a pot of hot coffee. The beach may be off the agenda for now, but the great food and service just keep on rocking up – as will I.
The Hoste, The Green, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 8HD. Tel: 01328 738777. thehoste.com