Wednesday 24 August 2011

Restaurant Review - Browston Hall, Norfolk The Swan Inn Barnby, Suffolk

Last week I went away for a few days with the family to the Lowestoft Air Show.

Hubby's parents are from Lowestoft in Suffolk, and so we go quite often and stay at the family holiday home. Whenever we go, we tend to eat out at least a couple of times during our stay. I have yet to find a place with great veggie food in Suffolk (if anyone knows of a place please let me know!) So as I am eating with the family, the consideration is often not so much what vegetarian food they serve, but whether they serve what the majority of the group will eat and whether we can get in early to feed the kids. This time we visited Browston Hall, Browston, Norfolk and The Swan Inn at Barnby, Suffolk. So how do both restaurants fare for vegetarian food?

Browston Hall, Browston, Norfolk

Browston Hall is a 17th Century former family home. Facilities include a Golfing range, Indoor Bowls, Holiday Lets and a Carvery restaurant. We had been here before and eldest remembered that you can choose your own sweets to go with ice cream for dessert, so this is why she wanted to go here.

We booked in advance and were able to get a table. Once we arrived and were seated, it took a while for the waitress to come, but she eventually took drinks orders and invited us to go up to the carvery. The vegetarian option was Leek, Broccoli and Cheese pie. They also do other vegetarian options such as vegetarian lasagne, Leek, Brie and Mushroom wrap and Stilton and Vegetable Crumble on the a la carte menu.  As we were eating on a carvery promotion, I stuck to the Leek, Broccoli and Cheese pie and then could help myself to the potatoes and vegetables on the carvery which I did. The range of vegetables included carrots, cabbage, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, new and roast potatoes.

The waitress bought me vegetarian gravy also which I was quite impressed with. When the pie arrived, I discovered that the cheese was processed melted cheese on the top. As detailed in my vegetarian pet hates post, serving cheese with gravy is one of my big No No's, and so this is a shame as it completely ruins the whole meal.  

I used to work for a well known carvery chain - ironic as I am a vegetarian, so I have had lots of experience in carvery restaurants. The carvery at Browston Hall was ok. It was only £5 with the offer, so you get what you pay for and that good value for money for a carvery. We did have to wait a while for the plates to be cleared, and the vegetarian gravy was not cleared from the table at all during our visit. 

Unfortunately, dessert also let us down a bit. The ice cream machine had broken and the staff were all struggling to fix it. Once they did, they only served children's portions, so we were served small portions but charged adult prices which were taken off the bill when we mentioned it.  

This restaurant is good value for money if you go in the week. The vegetarian carvery is not great, but its good for a family meal and to get the kids fed easily at a reasonable price. 

The Swan Inn, Barnby, Suffolk

The Swan Inn is an award winning seafood pub and is well known for being one of the best restaurant in the area. So why would a vegetarian go to a fish restaurant?.  Again, for a family visit with parents in law and a local relative. The family enjoy eating here for the fresh fish which you don't get at home. When we arrived the vegetarian options really didn't appeal to me. Mushroom Stroganoff  - yuk!, and a cannellini bean dish - again not my cuof tea. They do however to an amazing Egg Mayonnaise starter which resembles my recent Egg Salad creation, and so I requested this as a main course portion. My Egg Mayonnaise was served with chips and I also requested some bread to go with it.   

I really enjoyed the Egg Mayonnaise although I couldn't finish it. 4 whole eggs is a lot to eat!.  It tasted really fresh and light and I also liked the presentation on the plate. This restaurant is a nice little restaurant, tucked away in the midst of the suffolk country side. There are cats roaming around which my daughters loved, although they didn't seem to be massively friendly and ran away frequently. My meal was very reasonably priced, but we declined dessert at £6.00, opting instead for ice cream later on the sea front. The service was satisfactory, and they also have some nice gifts in the form of chocolate and china. A nice place for a family evening out but obviously not a specific place I would choose to visit as a vegetarian.

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