Review: social dining at Socius, Burnham Market
PUBLISHED: 13:04 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 02 July 2018
If you believe eating should be a shared social experience, bringing people together over delicious food - look no further than Socius
While undeniably charming, Burnham Market has never quite made it to the top of my list of favourite Norfolk places.
But after eating at one of its newest restaurants on a warm summer’s evening, I am seeing it in a new light. The crowds had gone home, there was a lovely buzz in the air with people milling about, the historic buildings looked beguiling as the last sun of the day bathed them in light and it felt like a place which deserved its reputation among many.
Socius means sharing in Latin and that is exactly what this ambitious new venture is all about – getting together with friends and family and experiencing the pleasure in eating together.
Tucked just off the main centre in Foundry Place, the building combines traditional flint style with more than a hint of Scandinavian design flair. Light and airy with the kitchen fashionably open for all to see, the restaurant was absolutely buzzing when we arrived with a great mix of people from across the generations.
The menu is simple, modern, seasonal British tapas with a Norfolk twist and more than a hint of fine dining finesse. The small plates meant for sharing look as beautiful and enticing as they taste. There is an excellent, and affordable, choice of wine and beer, including plenty of local suppliers.
Knowing exactly where to start and how much to order is the trick, but the fantastic, friendly staff are happy to offer advice – and refreshingly, there is no pushing extra food on you for the sake of a sale. The team is attentive but not intrusive and the whole place has a great, relaxed vibe.
We chose six dishes from the main menu and a cheeky little dish of juicy, sticky king prawns with just the right amount of sweet chilli from the ‘drinking snacks’ menu. The food comes as it is ready and you can steadily graze your way through the dishes – some come one at a time, some together. This rather unhurried approach to eating only adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
After polishing off the prawns, the Socius cured salmon, beetroot and horseradish arrived – fresh and delicious, the beetroot ketchup added a sharp vinegary tang against the hit of the horseradish and coolness of the chopped cucumber. The tuna tartare with spicy aioli and pickles, served with crispy toast, was packed with refreshing flavour and just the right amount of heat.
For a spot of indulgence, if the burrata, tomatoes and wild garlic pesto is on the menu, order it at once. This heavenly dish came in a hearty bowl with a large ball of rich creamy buratta – the outer shell of mozzarella bursting and the stracciatella and cream inside oozing out.
With the flavour packed, juicy tomatoes and rich garlicky pesto, it was something to savour.
Our final three dishes came together – Socius house rubbed chips, Norfolk quail with charred sweetcorn and calves liver with caramelised onions. The liver was my husband’s choice, but I couldn’t resist trying some. Tender and rich in flavour, the earthiness matched perfectly with the sweetness of the gooey onions, perfect with the chunky chips. The quail was served with a sticky, custardy sweetcorn puree – absolutely delicious – with the bite of charred sweetcorn on top.
Was there room for dessert? It seemed wrong to refuse. I opted for the passion fruit curd, passion fruit ripple, sable biscuit and Italian meringue, served with an abundance of raspberries. Sharp, tangy and sweet all at the same time – the curd was particularly moreish. My husband went for the cheese and biscuits, which, as you might expect, features a choice of some familiar locals – including Mrs Temple’s Binham Blue and Copys Cloud.
We stepped out into the peace and quiet of the warm night air, and an idyllic Burnham Market, feeling suitably full and relaxed and vowing to return.
11 Foundry Place, Burnham Market, PE31 8LG, 01328 738307, sociusnorfolk.co.uk
Plates priced from £4.50 to £22. Desserts from £7.50. Sunday lunch menu and children’s dishes also available