Food review: Roast dinner at the Duck Inn lives up to the hype
- Credit: Archant
Locals have fallen in love with the food at the Duck Inn at Stanhoe, and critics' praise has followed.
The restaurant has made its name with its menu, with its Sunday roasts in particular garnering attention in the national press.
Our reviewer put that reputation to the test on a sunny afternoon.
The Duck Inn’s Sunday roasts boast some fairly impressive reviews.
It ranked fourth in The Times’ top roast spots in Britain, came eighth in Big 7 Travel’s best 50 in the UK and have, most recently, earned a nomination for Best Sunday Lunch in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2022.
And the praise doesn’t end there. Food writer and columnist Giles Coren described its wider menu as “properly good” and the pub is a regular in the Top 50 Gastropubs list.
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Its menu is a checklist of things I would like to eat – SFC (Stanhoe Fried Chicken) and Brancaster oysters to whet the appetite, Norfolk lamb chop with beef dripping pommes Anna and cod fillet with seaweed butter sauce for the main event, and even a dry-aged beef kofta flatbread for a lighter lunch.
While it’s hard to top a Sunday roast when it’s done right, visiting a pub on a Sunday often means you don’t get a true reflection of its food, with the rest of the menu put to one side.
At The Duck, though, there’s a decent cross-over between its main and Sunday menus, offering what we hoped was a more thorough overview.
To start, we had the Cromer crab beignet (£11), a delicate fried parcel of crab sat in a velvety bisque and dotted with fennel.
The bold, bright tomato tang of the bisque didn’t overwhelm the sweet crab, making a beautifully indulgent pairing.
Across the table was the Mr H scotch egg, with a mustard and tarragon mayonnaise (£8). Crispy, piping hot and with vibrant orange, jellied yolks, they were proper posh pub grub.
It was time for the main event. We had a plate of the roast sirloin of Arthur Howell beef, served with duck fat potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and red wine gravy (£19), as well as the roast shoulder of Swannington pork, with all the trimmings and cider gravy.
They came with a bowl of caramelised cauliflower cheese and another of greens, including local asparagus, broccoli and cabbage.
The beef was blushing pink and tender, and the light, crisp Yorkshire passed the ‘could I have cooked this at home’ test with flying colours.
The cauliflower cheese still had bite, with its rich sauce browned and baked. The potatoes had crunch and a hearty gravy pulled the plate together.
The pork, though, stole the show – it was intensely deep in flavour and boasted that unrivalled pairing of fall-apart meat and crispy, salty fat. Smothered in two domes of apple sauce (one regular and another smokier, burnt version), it was our winner.
For dessert, I had the triple chocolate brownie, with toasted marshmallow creme, digestive crumb and salted caramel ice cream (I opted for the smaller £5 size, as opposed to the £8.50 large), while my other half had the affogato for £5. A hit of sugar and warmth was the perfect ending to a pretty perfect meal.
The stunning village of Stanhoe and the neighbouring Burnhams make for a beautiful location, and well worth the trip if you aren't lucky enough to live on the pub's doorstep.
We sat in the garden room, an annexe off the main pub. Think modern conservatory style, with views out onto the pub’s beer garden.
There’s car parking spaces aplenty at the pub.
There are a few steps in and around the pub, but it’s largely on one level. The pub caters for dietary needs and allergens.
There are vegetarian and vegan options available.
Clean, modern and nicely decorated.
As designated driver, my other half had a pint of orange juice and lemonade (£3.70), while I had two glasses of a Portuguese red, £6.70 each.
It’s certainly heading towards the upper end of the pub roast dinner bracket, at £19 for the beef.
There are miniature portions for youngsters, ranging from £7 up to £10. The price is matched by the quality.
Both the setting and the food make for a memorable meal. I’ll be back.
The Duck Inn, Burnham Road, Stanhoe, King's Lynn, PE31 8QD. 01485 518330
If you like that, you’ll love this
Hunworth Bell, King’s Lynn - As the Duck’s sister pub, the Hunworth Bell has an equally enticing menu, as well as bar, barn, garden and conservatory eating areas.
Black Horse, Norwich - A beloved spot in Norwich’s Earlham Road, the Black Horse has a reputation for not only its enormous beer garden, but its excellent food, including its Sunday roasts.
Bucks Arms, Blickling - If The Duck has competition for Norfolk’s best Sunday roast, it may well come from the Bucks Arms, a stone’s throw from the stunning Blickling Hall.