Eating Out: The Ostrich, South Creake, North Norfolk

Sarah Hardy tries out the new Ostrich in South Creake in North Norfolk

Where did you go?
I went to a special preview evening at The Ostrich, a newly reopened and revamped pub in South Creake, near Burnham Market.

What’s the vibe?
Locals are delighted to have this pub back open again after about four years. It is smart, cool, contemporary, with a great menu, eight bedrooms, outdoor space and more. Plenty of cash has been spent making this look like a North Norfolk establishment – you know what we mean! There seems to be a lot of staff, and they are all super friendly.

Who’s in the team?
Teresa Haughey is the MD and looks like a woman who knows what she wants – I liked her a lot! She and chatterbox executive head chef Jes Paskins worked together on a top cruise line for many years and offer that level of service and attention to detail. They have recruited several members of staff from the cruise line and they are a cheerful bunch.

What do we need to know about the menu?
Jes is quite a seafood lover which is great for our area – and I think he likes cooking with spices! The menu blends accessible favourites – burgers, fish and chips, sausage and mash – with more ambitious choices like pan fried crisp confit duck leg, black truffle risotto and a mushroom and walnut forage. Expect plenty of local suppliers such as Catherine Temple cheese, Lakenham ice cream, Tim Allen pork, meat from Papworth butchers and more. There are dishes for easy midweek suppers and more elaborate choices for special occasions.

What are the prices like?
Starters are from £5.50, main courses are from £13.50 and desserts are £7-£7.50.

Starters?
I went for Cromer crab; I just have to when it is on the menu! At £9, it was simply dressed, with a hunk of lemon, the same of bread and some leaves. Others went for the soup of the day, wild mushroom with croutons, Scotch eggs, and fresh marinated salmon tartare. We were all pleased – the Scotch eggs were particularly enjoyed, with the pork from local farmer, Tim Allen.

Mains?
I fancied the grilled mackerel which came with a zingy glaze, jasmine rice and more lemon at £16.50. The fish was good and tender (the supplier is Cole’s from King’s Lynn) and I enjoyed the stir fried veggies which came with a bit of spicy punch. Fellow diners enjoyed the enormous grilled prawns, all shell on and juicy, and the house burger was praised, too.

Desserts?
We fought over what to choose. The cheese trolley and homemade crackers were a must for a couple in our party, while the gooey sundae almost defeated the guest next to me. I opted for a chocolate chip laver cookie cake at £7.50 which was good and crunchy, with a healthy dollop of vanilla ice cream and a forest fruit compete – which probably wasn’t needed as cookies and cream is always a winning combo.

What about dietary requirements?
Vegan and vegetarian dishes are clearly marked on the menu, and staff are happy to help, adapting dishes to suit.

Tell us about the drinks?
There is a comprehensive wine list, including ones from Burn Valley Vineyard which is practically across the road! I had a lovely glass of Sicilian dry white which went extremely well with my seafood.

Anything else we need to know?
There are three areas where you can eat – the bar (and its snug), a Chef’s Table area near the pass where you can watch the team at work, and a 30-seater restaurant which is a bit more posh. Look out for a monthly tasting evening which sounds fab; the first is an Asian one on July 28.

Overview
What an exciting opening! The team is new to Norfolk and brings a bit of cruise panache which is no bad thing. There are eight bedrooms, including a swanky two-storey suite. Three bedrooms are dog friendly, and the bar area is open to four-legged friends, too.

The Ostrich opens from noon to 11pm daily.

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