Food review: Why it's about time you visited this North Norfolk pub

The Three Horseshoes, Briston

The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Nestled on the outskirts of the north Norfolk village of Briston, near Holt, lies the Three Horseshoes – and if you’ve never been before then it is about time you did. 

It is one of those places which I have driven by a million times but never thought to stop at. Something I now sorely regret. 

But, it’s never too late to right a wrong, so the saying goes, and I’m so glad my partner and I ventured out on a recent Tuesday evening to give it a try. 

After a bit of faffing about, we eventually made it there an hour after our original booking. Thankfully the staff were accommodating and understanding (it had been one of those days, shall we say). 

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

We were shown to our table in the restaurant's picturesque back room and, on the way there, marvelled at the gorgeous bar and impressive wine rack displaying a vast array of bottles. 


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As we perused the menu, the waitress took our drinks order and quickly returned ready to take our food choices. 

The menu may be succinct but I can guarantee there will be something for everyone, as it boasts a lovely array of local food with vast flavours. We didn’t have to wait long for our food, and it looked stunning on arrival. 

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

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From the starter menu, I opted for the tomato and shallot salad with olive bon bons and herb salad (£7). The different textures worked well with the tomatoes, which ranged in sweetness, and was accompanied perfectly with the well-seasoned olive bon bons covered in golden breadcrumbs. 

My partner dived straight into his wild mushrooms on toasted ciabatta with Binham Blue cheese sauce (£7) and I barely heard a word from him as he scrapped his plate clean. It was not overly saucy, but the taste was delicious and the mushrooms rich, filling, and flavoursome. 

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Next up were the mains and we both picked a dish from the grill section of the menu.  

I had the halloumi slices and Mediterranean aubergine (£13) while my partner had the lamb leg steak, from local butcher’s Graves, with confit garlic and rosemary marinade (£17). Both dishes were served with aioli, fries, and a mixed leaf salad. 

Everything about our meals were marvellous and each item was cooked to perfection. My halloumi retained its lovely soft texture and added a delicious mild saltiness to accompany the aubergine, while the lamb was succulent and the sauce, divine - yes, I was allowed just one tiny bite. 

My partner’s preference would have been to have new potatoes rather than fries with his meal, but to be fair, I’m sure the staff would have accommodated us if we’d have asked.  

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston

Food at The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

We almost didn’t have room for a dessert but the options were too good to pass on. I’m a sucker for local produce and honed in on the Sharrington strawberry pannacotta with coulis and a shortbread crumb biscuit (£6). The only bad thing about this dish was that there wasn’t enough of it. That’s no reflection on the portion size mind you. It was just that scrummy, I wanted more. 

My partner would definitely have argued his was the best dessert though, as he happily tucked into the melted chocolate dome with honeycomb and chocolate soil (£7) which is basically a posh type of crushed chocolate chip but way nicer. 

As well as offering a first-rate dining experience, the Three Horseshoes also has newly refurbished rooms if you wanted to combine your visit with an overnight stay. 

It is certainly a good enough excuse for us to make a return visit sometime soon in the future. 

Setting 

Located out in the sticks, the building itself is stunning both inside and out. The owners have clearly spent a lot of time and money getting it to this point. It’s a great place for a quiet drink, a celebratory diner, or somewhere to relax and catch-up with dear friends.  

It has a beautiful outside seating area, designed by local garden designer Tamara Bridge, which is also the perfect setting for florist Marie Crowley, who has created Myrtle & Thyme, a floristry and gift business located in the pub’s garden. 

Value 

For a three-course meal with two rounds of drinks, plus a coffee for me, our bill came in at a reasonable £77.25.  

Drinks 

My partner’s pint of Estrella was £5.50, while I enjoyed a J20 (£2.60), followed by a medium glass of fresh and fruity Les Boules Rose, Pays d’Oc (£4.95) and a coffee (£2.70) at the end.   

Toilets 

Clean and functional, exactly as you would expect. 

Accessibility 

A gravel car park with ample parking. There are different levels to navigate inside. A good selection of dietary choices including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free. 

Service  

Pleasant and efficient, and the staff were happy to have a chat. 

Highlight 

For me, it had to be my salad starter. Although not a vegetarian, I opted for a completely meat-free meal and I did not feel like I had missed out on anything at all. The food really does speak for itself. 

In summary 

The Three Horseshoes is well worth the drive out there and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a quiet drink in the garden, or a delicious meal with loved ones. It hits the mark on so many levels. 

Disclaimer: Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.  

If you like that, try these: 

The Tipsy Vegan, St Benedicts St, Norwich 

Still perhaps Norwich’s best-known vegan restaurant, it’s famous for its sweet potato tacos, Korean Bao Buns and gin and blueberry cheesecake. 

The Brisley Bell, Brisley 

A lovely country pub which serves posh pub grub. A real treat for the tastebuds located in a beautiful part of Norfolk. 

Erpingham House, Tombland, Norwich 

Having opened in 2018, it has quickly become a star of Norwich’s niche, but growing, vegan dining scene.  

‘Over 450 years of history’ - The Three Horseshoes  

The Three Horseshoes, Briston

The Three Horseshoes, Briston - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

There has been a pub or a smithy on the site of the pub for over 400 years. 

The Norfolk Public Houses website lists the first licensee as William Groom in 1789 and for many years the pub was called The Horseshoes or The Three Horseshoes. 

Then, in the 1970s, its name changed to The John H Stracey, named after the famous boxer, with whom the then landlord had a professional relationship.  

Now the pub has been brought up-to-date and the name returned to The Three Horseshoes. 

The place now boasts a stunning garden too. 

Garden designer Tamara Bridge's well-conceived design was developed by Bure Valley Landscapes. Chris Catt and his team painstakingly laid every path and terrace, built each pergola and helped plant the beds.  

It took over six months to complete the work. 

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