[Wiveton, Norfolk] Wiveton Bell

It’s fair to say that the Wiveton Bell makes an effort with its food. It’s also fair to say that it needs to make more of an effort.

Soup of the day was tomato and basil. The flavour of the herb was lacking. Indeed, the flavour of the soup was generally lacking. You’d have been disappointed at home if you’d opened a tetrapak of Covent Garden soup from the supermarket and it tasted like this. Asparagus and bantam egg was certainly seasonal and local. But, for just four spears, the egg and a couple of dabs of herb mayo, they really see you coming at nine quid.

A plate of free range pork was pleasant enough – fillet briefly cooked to medium, belly falling apart with a crisp skin. There’s chunks and slices of different beetroots and apple sauce. The trotter sauce had been forgotten and didn’t arrive until the food was all but eaten. But it was no loss, being quite thin and weedy in flavour.

There’s something of an expectation of what you’ll get on your plate when a restaurant offers a classic. In this case, it was a rarebit, made with the very local Binham Blue cheese. What I think most people would expect with rarebit is a version of cheese on toast. But not here. What you get is, effectively, a cheese croquette – a fried breadcrumb sausage encasing melted cheese. Such a disappointment. The accompaniments were the best things on the plate – braised onions, broccoli and mushroom ketchup.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we didn’t bother with dessert.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold