The Grove in Cromer, a 4-star guest house that has been owned by the same family since 1935, opened the doors of its restaurant to non-residents for the first time this year. With a creative and talented Chef (Gray Parrett), and the emphasis on regularly changing, local, seasonal offerings, it is well worth checking out.
On Friday, I experienced the hospitality at The Grove restaurant first-hand, with entertainment in the form of Jazz quintet Cyan Traces, and tastes from the new Autumn 2012 Menu.
On approach, The Grove is a lovely place to dine – set back and tranquil, it looks inviting – imagine turning up at a (very lucky) friends house for a dinner party.
We were taken first to a lovely part-wood-paneled end room with a wood burner. Jazz band Cyan Traces, formed by accomplished trombonist Dave Amis, played a fantastic set of classic and contemporary songs, including She’s Leaving Home by the Beatles.
While enjoying the music, we were issued a table number and gave our choices for the main course (we were to sample all the starters and desserts). A short while later we were taken through to the restaurant. Beautifully set out, it had the clever combination of intimacy with ample space and privacy for each dining table. This made the atmosphere extremely relaxed.
Wooden boards bearing an example of each of the 5 Starter dishes was brought out.
The Roasted Sweet Potato & Flageolet Bean Soup was gorgeous. Very thick and creamy. A perfect seasonal warmer.
The Gunton Venison Carpaccio was cooked to perfection and, while not my favourites, the Cheese starters were very interesting and flavoursome. The standout choice for me was probably the Butternut Squash & Smoked Bacon Pancakes (made with squash from The Grove’s own gardens – can’t get much more local than that!), which were really tasty. The soup would be a close second.
For my Main course I chose the Wok seared breast of Gressingham Duck, which was very nice indeed. I particularly enjoyed the pairing of the Duck with more Mediterranean flavours of Gnocchi, Basil, Honey and Balsamic.
My colleague had the Pan seared loin of Venison, which she said was “totally delicious”.
I liked the portion sizes for the main course. Even though we’d also tried several starters, we were left feeling comfortable despite the fact that we ate every morsel.
As we dined, Martin Warren of the Cromer-based Poppyland Brewery, offered tasters of his new brews. There was also a very comprehensive wine list (although, being the driver, I sadly had to pass).
To finish, a sample of each of the Desserts came out on a board.
All scrumptious, a clear winner for me was the Lemon and Stem Ginger Cheesecake, which was amazing beyond words.
In all, it was a lovely evening – a great backdrop, great live music and marvellous food. We were both extremely impressed by the high quality of the venue and the food.
Do not be fooled into thinking The Grove is just a Guest House that has opened it’s restaurant to the public. This is a fine dining restaurant in its own right, with a Chef that clearly displays skill and flair. It is worth the journey to Cromer to experience. I imagine you’ll here more and more buzz about it as time goes on. All good things, of course.
See the full Autumn Menu.
95 Overstrand Road, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 0DJ.
Tel: 01263 512412.
All images taken on an iPhone, on the evening.