'It was divine' - Why this seafood platter is receiving rave reviews online
- Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP
The view from The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe is perhaps one of the county’s most spectacular from which to enjoy a meal.
Set against the backdrop of north Norfolk’s stunning coastline, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking their table.
From the sun-trap terrace set up outside the main restaurant, or the picturesque walled courtyard, to the stunning marsh side seating area which is just a stone's throw away from the marshes – you won’t go wrong.
Before our arrival, we had booked a table on the terrace where blue skies and sunshine greeted us first, followed by a friendly and efficient server who made sure we were up to speed with all the correct Covid guidelines.
Soon after being seated, we were relaxing happily with our drinks – a white wine for myself and a pint of Amstel for my companion – and drooling over a tantalising menu.
Lured in by the photos of the sharing seafood platter (£65), which have been widely shared over social media lately, we already knew what we would be ordering. However, the superfood salad sounded perfect for a light lunch and there was a particularly tempting steak special with tiger prawns on that day too.
We didn’t have to wait long. The platter was a feast for the eyes, as well as the belly, and it was difficult to know where to start.
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As an oyster virgin myself, we started with Ben and Cyril’s Brancaster oysters. Naturally presented with shallot vinegar, they were absolutely divine, and for £10 more you could add on an extra four. With the quantity of food we had, they were not needed but they were very much desired.
We moved on to the flavoursome smoked mackerel, which was soft and perfect for spreading across the accompanying sourdough bread. I'd asked for a side of their seaweed butter, which went with the dish perfectly. Next, we ate the wonderfully fresh shell-on prawns, before moving on to the dressed Cromer crab – one of the sweetest I have ever had - and then the Saithe Smokehouse salmon. The salmon was so lovely we had to purchase some from the on-site smokehouse before we left.
If truth be told, I’m a bit of a chip-a-holic, so I had to order some of The White Horse’s salty skin-on fries (£3.75). They are some of the nicest I’ve ever had, and dunking them into the lemon mayo worked well too – even if it was meant to be used with the seafood.
Next, we delved into the pot of saffron pickled cockles, and what a showstopper they were. The sweetness combined with a mild tang was perfection. We could have easily had a pot each.
We finished off the platter with the crayfish and prawn cocktail, before tucking into the half chilled North Sea lobster. All of the food was fresh and enjoyable.
With a little bit of room to spare, we opted for some desserts. My companion had the baked cheesecake with white chocolate and poached cherries (£7.50) while I immediately opted for the petits fours (£6), a quirky little dessert made up of a toffee popcorn macaroon, a cherry cone, a brown butter fudge, and a mint chocolate truffle.
What a way to finish a perfect meal.
After paying, we decided to drive along the coast to take a walk along the beautiful Brancaster beach, but we could have easily spent the afternoon at The White Horse soaking up the sun, good views, and pleasant ambiance.
Although a little out of the way situated right on the edge of the north Norfolk coast, it is well worth the drive and is perfect for a ‘getaway’ feel to enjoy a good meal with much-loved company.
For the amount of seafood we received with our platter, it was definitely worth the price tag of £65. Starters range from £7.50 to £12.50 and mains £14.50 to £24.50. There is something on the menu for everyone.
I opted for a small glass of the house wine (£3.90 for 125ml), which was a delicious ‘Curvee Jacqueline’ Marsanne/Vermention 2019 from France, while my companion had a pint of Amstel (£4.50). There is a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and also the offer of champagne and oysters.
Due to the restrictions in place, we were only allowed to use the outside toilets. These have been well set-up and were perfectly clean and functional.
The menu caters to a variety of dietary requirements. The site has a mix of floor levels but there is disabled parking at the front allowing access into the main building.
All of the staff were very polite, friendly, and knowledgeable about the food. The industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, but the staff looked thrilled to be welcoming people back.
Aside from the amazing views, it had to be the cockles. They were a great little find and something we would like to have again on a return visit.
Well worth the drive out there to experience a holiday-vibe right on your doorstep.
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:
Rocky Bottoms, West Runton
1. Rocky Bottoms is a delightfully quirky restaurant, complete with crab hut, situated between Sheringham and Cromer, along the north Norfolk coast.
2. Heydon Tea Rooms, Heydon
Set in the beautiful and historic village of Heydon, the little tearoom has so much to offer. It also serves one of the prettiest – and tastiest – afternoon teas.
3. Wiveton Bell, north Norfolk
The perfect spot for a lazy summer lunch in a pub by the coast.
How you can support your favourite restaurant in the pandemic
Takeaways - If you don't feel comfortable eating out, plenty of places are still offering takeaway meals for delivery or collection.
Vouchers - A valuable way to help businesses, you can buy yourself - or a loved one, as a gift - a voucher now to enjoy when it's safe to do so down the line.
Shop local - Make sure to support restaurant and pub suppliers, including beer, cheese and fruit and vegetables, by shopping local.
Social media - It's not an easy time for many people financially. A simple like on Facebook or Instagram follow shows support for traders, though, and can help them build exposure.
Don't forget them when they reopen - Restrictions won't last forever, and our support should be consistent.