Creake Abbey Cafe & Foodhall | Eating out in North NorfolkWednesday, June 24, 2015
A couple of weeks ago we dined out somewhere new to us: Creake Abbey café. It was a lovely sunny, warm evening for a drive out towards the coast so that made for a great start to the evening. I wasn't sure what to expect really as C had arranged the booking so it was lovely to arrive somewhere I'd not seen before and take it all in. The building itself was intriguing and worth a nice look around. The entrance is through the foodhall which has a fabulous array of produce, like a deli, butchers, farm shop all rolled into one. It wasn't open in the evening so I breezed through but will definitely be returning to explore thoroughly.
Firstly, I was slightly confused by the name. 'Café' conjured up thoughts of a nice mug of coffee and a pastry but my mind was put at ease upon seeing the menu. I really liked the format of the menu which was clear, straightforward and concise. There are dishes which are always available plus a choice of specials so it's not always the same choice on offer and this pleases me greatly, a chef making the best use of seasonal produce is rewarding as a diner. There were three starters and desserts and four mains to choose from of the specials. As I'm open minded when it comes to culinary experiences I'm more than happy, nay keen, to try new dishes especially when in the capable hands of a talented chef.
For starters I chose Bresola (I had to ask what it was). Delightful. It looked light and fresh, just what I needed to start the meal. C chose Gravlax and enjoyed it very much. We did eat some absolutely beautiful bread but in my butter-aided over excitement I appear to have neglected taking a picture, but know this: it was so good!
Unadventurously, C ordered steak, which was ordered as medium and arrived perfectly so. On the other hand I decided to try the lamb tagine with sweet potato mash. Let me tell you it was amazing, the best lamb dish in living memory.
The portion sizes were spot on; generous but not too much which meant that we felt that we could manage pudding sensibly (this turned out to be slightly wishful thinking as I then felt too full for coffee). My choice was an unusual one; vanilla and cinnamon rice pudding with local strawberries and it was, of course, the very best rice pudding. C ate the sticky toffee pudding (which would usually be my thing, if I had enough room), it looked good and I have to say I felt a tinge of envy as his arrived.
Creake Abbey Café is open daily from 8:30am for breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas but only for dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings until October. (if in doubt, double check with them). If you are looking for somewhere to eat near Burnham on the North Norfolk coast then this is a must! The standard of food was high; great quality local produce prepared with care and skill, representing good value. I would sorely love to make it along for a cooked breakfast at some point, they sound great. Plus if we are heading out to the coast I'd happily drop by for lunch, I'm sure I read about a soup and sandwich deal. It' a really lovely place, an unusually light dining area with an impressive display of local artwork. The music was a subtle mix which made for a lovely atmosphere plus attentive and sincere service. I'd love to return sometime soon.