Review: Sugarbeat Eating House
PUBLISHED: 09:19 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:19 19 April 2016
SugarBeat Eating House at Swainsthorpe offers traditional British food favourites served with a stylish twist and a sense of fun, writes Rachel Buller
IT IS hard to describe SugarBeat Eating House - part American diner, part homage to Norfolk farming, part trendy alternative eaterie? But whatever category you decide to put it in, it’s certainly something a little different.
From the cosy booths, chequered floors and cheeky vegetable-inspired art work at one end to the rich décor and more intimate atmosphere at the other, it is warm, welcoming and a lot of fun.
Most previous reports I had heard from friends about SugarBeat involved the breakfasts, served from 7am every day. That, and its win in Channel Four’s Four in a Bed competition thanks to its inviting B&B rooms. But we were here to test out the dinner menu, so on a blustery Friday evening at 6pm, with the children in tow, we nestled into an inviting red booth ready to be warmed up.
The menu has plenty of choice and offers simple dishes, sometimes with a foodie twist, sometimes served as is traditional. The owners aim to provide freshly cooked food throughout the day, so you will find something for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a good array of coffees, wine, beer and cocktails.
The staff are friendly and happy to advise on anything on the menu – even triple-checking back and forth with the kitchen the long list of sorbet flavours available for my son with a patience I am not sure I would have afforded.
After a long walk on the beach in the afternoon, we were all ravenous, so for starters the children shared cheese nachos with the works (£8.95) and my husband and I went for the ham hock terrine, with apple and chorizo chutney and toasted sourdough (£5.95) and the wild mushroom bruschetta, with garlic and parsley butter and aged balsamic and truffle oil (£7.25).
First thing to note is the generous portion sizing – we all had a little bit of everything. The chorizo chutney was particularly good and delicious with the ham hock, while the bruschetta was piled high with mushrooms and there was no skimping on the rich garlic sauce and tasty truffle oil.
Main course was a tricky choice. We watched several burgers go by – towering, and packed with delicious looking ingredients, but we opted for something a little more traditional. The beer battered fish and chips with crushed minted peas and tartar sauce (£10.95) for my husband and the venison pie, sautéed savoy cabbage, creamy mash potato and roasted carrots for me (£10.95), and for my oldest son Zach, who decided he was too hungry for the children’s menu.
The fish and chips were excellent, the tartar sauce tasted and looked homemade and the tasty batter had a real bite. The pie was mouth-wateringly good on a cold day. The puff pastry lid was light, crispy and flakey, and underneath the venison served in a rich, meaty gravy was tender and plentiful. The mash was creamy and the cabbage – to me an underused vegetable – was buttery and still had a crunch, no watery, soggy vegetables here.
The children’s menu offers a good selection of dishes and at £4.95 is really good value, particularly as the portions are such a good size, unlike at some restaurants. My youngest son George chose the chicken goujons – which were homemade and large strips of chicken breast - with chips and peas.
There was little room for dessert for us adults, but George had his eye on the chocolate trio as soon as he saw the menu, so he and I opted to share one, and the others opted for bowls of sorbet and ice-cream (and there were plenty of flavours to choose from). The trio of chocolate (£6.95) comprised Belgian chocolate ice-cream, a substantial dark chocolate and white chocolate brownie, and a scoop of white chocolate mousse. To say it was rich would be an understatement, but chocoholics will be in heaven, and ours was soon polished off.
I also loved the sound of the baked Oreo cookie cheesecake and the sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The food at SugarBeat, while excellent, isn’t especially different to the offerings at a lot of other restaurants, yet it has an atmosphere and buzz which somehow sets it apart – no doubt helped by its fun and welcoming style and the delicious, unpretentious food.
Expect to pay
Starters: £5.50 - £8.95
Mains: £7.95 -£18.95
Desserts: £3.95 - £6.95
Children’Kids mains: £4.95
SugarBeat Eating House
Norwich Road, Swainsthorpe, NR14 8PU; 01508 471611; www.sugarbeateatinghouse.co.uk