Dining at Greenbanks Hotel, DerehamWednesday, December 23, 2015
I've always wanted to know what it's like to dine at Greenbanks Hotel so when I finally got my act together and booked a table to surprise C I was already winning. Dining out anywhere in December is a joy as you get all the extra special feel with the decorations and twinkly fairy lights.
Considering it was a Friday evening I was surprised it wasn't full, or busy. The Hotel is just off the A47 west of Dereham in mid Norfolk so it's a doddle to find.
The menu was full of choices we would willingly pick; in fact it took quite a while to whittle down to final decisions as there were so many tempting dishes. Being the hungry but absented minded diner that I am, I neglected to photographed the menu but from recollection the online version was very similar and an excellent representation of what you are likely to be presented with. It's worth pointing out that I'd browsed the website before booking so I knew what the prices were like - it's all a set menu based on how many courses you have.
We were given a lovely basket of bread and water for the table before our starters. The chilli and garlic prawns were C's choice and he enjoyed both the taste and quantity, saying they were some of the best he's eaten out which is high praise from him. My choice was the pork cheek croquettes which had a delightful salad and relish. They did look filling but weren't too much so. Just right if you ask me.
As I volunteered to drive, I chose to drink elderflower cordial which was very refreshing. C enjoyed a delightful glass of red wine and I'm pleased he enjoyed it as the one glass cost more than we would usually spend on a bottle... ouch!
My main course was game pie, which was served with the most amazing scrumptious potatoes. The pie itself was full of meat; venison, rabbit, pheasant and hare all in lovely succulent big chunks. Very much my kind of food. I'll be honest, I can't differentiate one game from another. But it's all good game.
C ate braised ox cheek with mash (I think it was parsley mash) and we were given a large bowl of vegetables to share between us. Aside from all the wonderful meaty goodness we both considered or respective gravies to be excellent in both taste and quantity. I'm very much a fan of vegetables which are hot but still crunchy whereas C is perfectly happy with them cooked for a fair bit longer, so while he enjoyed our veg they were not quite how I prefer them. It's not a criticism, just an observation really.
We polished off all but a little pastry (mine) which means it is entirely acceptable to look at the dessert menu. As I've got a sweet tooth this is always a treat. Eating dessert at home is a rarity these days so the opportunity to eat one in a restaurant is not to be missed.
My choice was Amoretti coated vanilla ice cream served with a salted caramel sauce, a chocolate stick and cream. I made one significant oversight; as I virtually never eat ice cream it never crossed my mind that my teeth would have developed a hearty dose of sensitivity. My first bite was alarming! A more measured approach was employed to finish the plate and I have to say I really enjoyed this dessert as opposed to a hot pudding. C was too full for dessert so drank coffee. Good and strong.
During our post-meal discussions C revealed that he couldn't fault the food at all (he is the pickier of us two) and I very much enjoyed everything myself. We are in agreement that Greenbanks is somewhere we will certainly be returning to for some first class food; the high quality locally sourced ingredients are thoughtfully cooked and presented. A friendly and attentive service but without feeling too smothered, the right balance. There was plenty on the menu that we'd love to try and in my opinion the meal was appropriately priced at two courses for £24 and three courses for £28.