Food review: Brasserie at Barnham Broom
PUBLISHED: 10:29 05 June 2018
It's not all about the golf at Barnham Broom. Its Brasserie is a dining destination offering its own exciting and satisfying courses
The food is really rather marvellous.
The sophisticated a la carte menu features king scallops, game terrine, cod with a puy lentil and chorizo stew. Carrots are glazed with orange and rosemary, pumpkin tagliatelle is topped with parmesan and crushed ameretti, and the cut of the day and catch of the day dishes change daily.
I had wondered whether my lack of golfing knowledge would be a handicap in the Brasserie at Barnham Broom but the restaurant is not just for golfers.
Although it looks out over the golf course, I heard no mention of hole-in-ones or caddies or teeing off, or whatever I had imagined committed golfers might talk about.
I’m assuming a fair few of our fellow diners were golfers, but in fact the food alone is good enough to bring people to Barnham Broom, whether or not they want to hit balls into holes too. We’d come from Norwich, travelling out through the ‘B’ villages of Bowthorpe, Bawburgh and Barford to Barnham Broom. It’s a landscape of narrow lanes, wide watermeadows, working farms, chunky grey church towers and a surprising number of golf courses. The groomed greens and fairways at Barnham Broom looked lovely in the evening sun. There are two courses, plus practice facilities – the valley course with lots of natural water features, and holes played alongside lakes and streams; and the hill course with fine views across surrounding countryside.
There is a hotel and spa too, but it was the brasserie which had brought us to Barnham Broom.
Surprisingly busy, it still felt calm, the décor was relaxing, with generously-sized lamp-lit tables and comfortable seating. The waiters were friendly, explaining special deals (we were won over by three courses for two, with a bottle of wine, for under £60) offering tap water without being asked, and bringing a selection of breads. The fennel and caraway bread roll would be one of my best ever breads, if I was in the habit of ranking rolls, and my husband said he had never had a better pigeon than his starter of pan roasted local pigeon breast with rosti potato, celeriac pureee, wild mushroom, thyme and juniper sauce.
I had whipped goats cheese with pickled beetroot, toasted pine nuts and a fresh basil and apple salad to start and it was as good as I had hoped, the whirls of white cheese both sharp and creamy, the beetroot and basil and apple simultaneously tangy and sweet.
For his main course my husband continued with his feathered theme and had duo of pheasant, the roast breast marinated in honey, lime and thyme, the braised leg served as a hot pot. He ordered a side of spinach and chard, which was a welcome addition as his pickled red cabbage and roasted celeriac, while delicious, wasn’t an enormous portion. I chose caramelised red onion, fig, broccoli and Binham blue tart. In retrospect I would have ordered a side of fries as my (fabulous) tart came with an excellent rocket and hazelnut salad but no potatoes. However, the lack of a side did mean I was able to consider (and consume) a pudding, so perhaps the portions were right for anyone aiming for three courses.
Howard enjoyed marsala baked plums with vanilla macarpone while my bread and butter pudding was a good-sized cube of gloriously sweet and yielding bread, butter and whatever is added to make something so basic into something so delicious, served with suitably refreshing marmalade ice cream.
The Brasserie is not cheap, but I loved the ambitious menu and the clever combination of ingredients and flavours, and it is worth checking for special deals.
Barnham Broom also serves splendid-looking afternoon teas, has a Sunday lunch carvery, a less formal lunch menu in its sports bar, hosts celebrations and conferences, and has a hotel, spa and sports facilities. Oh, and I’m told there are two very fine golf courses too.
Honingham Road, Barnham Broom, NR9 4DD