Monday, 15 September 2014

Nibbles and Nosh in North Norfolk

We went to North Norfolk earlier in the year and were surprised how many gluten free eating options we found.  Having intended to blog our finds, we didn't get round to it but we were back in Norfolk last week and found even more places to buy food and eat out.  One other requirement we have is that anywhere we eat is also dog friendly and that, too, is something North Norfolk businesses embrace which is great for our family.

Remnants of J's Bakewell Tart

Tasty Coffee and Walnut cake
To start with we are always keen to find places to visit for a cuppa and cake.  The Art Cafe in Glandford is a favourite find.  It's a lovely blend of arty bits and bobs and a cafe, set in a rural location with a few other small businesses around.  When we visited in May, it was a rainy day so we sat inside and were pleased to discover that 'well behaved dogs are welcome'... Sous Chef J chose to try the Bakewall Tart and Coffee and Walnut Cake.

Gluten Free cakes on sale
Stables Cafe
We also visited Holkham Hall which was a lovely, new-to-us, find.  In the Stables cafe there was a display of packaged gluten free cakes from Honeybuns and Sponge (a local company) as well as home made (wrapped in cling film)  fruit cake slices.  We tried the Apple Crumble cake and also the Carrot cake, both individually packed slices from Sponge.

Also part of the Holkham Estate is the Beach Cafe at Wells-next-the-sea where they are extremely dog friendly.  They have a K9 club, tether points and waterbowls aplenty.  There's even a DIY dog wash which we could not even persuade Peppie to look at!  The cafe had a range of Honeybuns snacks but, on the day we visited, there were no gluten free slices of the Sponge cakes on sale.

The lovely sunny evening on Sunday tempted us to try our first evening eating out (that wasn't Nando's!)  We found that the Wayford Bridge near Stalham not only had a lovely sunfilled terrace but was dog friendly AND the staff knew about what dishes were or could be made gluten free.  J chose a bowl of chips (!), I had Norfolk Ham and eggs and B ate a (huge) rack of ribs with BBQ sauce.  As there was also Appletiser and draught Aspall's cider on sale, plus a bowl of water for Peppie, all members of the family had their beverage of choice which was fab.
Don't mistake the Broad for grass, Peppie!
We finally got to Fairhaven Woodland Water Garden in South Walsham and what a lovely, quiet setting it is.  Having worked hard to convince J to have a go on the Broad in a 20 minute boat trip, he had a lovely time and spotted a grey heron and a kingfisher as well as other water birds and loads of trees.  As a reward after walking along meandering paths and taking in as much of the gardens as J's energy level allowed, we were delighted to find the cafe offered a range of cakes for diabetics and also slices of Almondy cake for those eating gluten free.

Peppie enjoying the beach

The Dunes beach cafe at Winterton on Sea had been selling gluten free cakes when we'd popped in to
'check it out' at the weekend but, alas, by the time we returned for serious beach time on Monday it was all gone.  So, we can't comment more than that they are aware of gluten free but supply would appear to be variable.  Luckily, we had Justin (our bag of goodies) with us so weren't required to do without food.  The cafe is massively dog friendly with water bowls all over, loads of tables outside and is frequented by a huge number of dog loving humans.

Gluten Free is mentioned
As there was a lovely sunset, we decided to set out to Coltishall to see if the pub which is alongside the river was a good place for us to eat out.   We arrived a little before 5pm and the car park was busy.  There was a lovely patio area with picnic tables aplenty.  Having chosen a table, with water bowl for Peppie, we enquired about food.  The standard menu has a Gluten Free heading which lists pizza and pasta options.  However, we were also provided with a 'marked up' menu by the Chef to indicate which dishes are or can be made gluten free.  Despite all this, we didn't actually eat at the Rising Sun as they didn't begin serving meals until 6pm (although the menu said food was served all day).  But, given the setting, it is a lovely place to spend some time watching life on the water and, hopefully, the food is good too.
Shelves of loveliness...
... more tempting treats.
At the start of our week, we ventured into Norwich to stock up on gluten free groceries and visited the Gluten Free Shop at Hellesdon Barns.  What a delightful find this was!  Full of gluten free food - J was somewhat overwhelmed at the choice he had.  We selected a box of Perk!er cereal, a loaf of bread from Wheat Free Bakery Direct, a Voakes Free From pork pie and a Baked to Taste Cheese and Onion pasty.  The Tiger loaf bread was fantastic and something we will be sourcing locally asap.

Fish and chips (this is a small portion)
Flaky haddock
On our last night away, it was time for fish and chips.  North Walsham has The Three Cottages Fish Restaurant which, as well as being a restaurant, is a take away.  We rang to place the order and arrived at the allotted time when J was amused to be told by "Mr Chips" that the order would be ready in 45 seconds. The food was served in biodegradable cartons which kept if in good condition for the short trip back to the cottage... when it didn't last long at all.  The haddock was flaky and moist and the batter was thin.  YUM.

One further find that, sadly, thwarted us by its late (for us) evening food time was the Walpole Arms at Itteringham.  We understand they are dog friendly (and certainly have a lovely looking setting) and offer gluten free food.  They're top of our 'To Visit' list for our next foray East into Norfolk.


  1. your bags have names? (our bags have names eg Graham, Staggers)

    1. Of course!! Do *some* people NOT name their bags? How very odd ;-)

      We blogged about the Justin Case bag here