I have driven past this pub – on and off – for 45 years and never been inside it, so seeing it in a recent Village People magazine prompted me to go and check it out as a Ladies Who Lunch venue: my companion this time was a dear friend, 88 years of age; a pillar of the community, and a staunch Methodist (this matters – later)
It is a warm and welcoming place; a log fire and a cheery lady welcomed us, showed us to a table and provided menus. And what extensive menus they were: we had a choice of Light Lunches, Specials, or the Classic Menu; we decided to use the latter as we were both ready for a good sized meal. I chose the Chicken Forestiére which is a pan fried chicken breast in a Forestiére sauce accompanied with new potatoes & seasonal vegetables; my companion chose the Traditional Homemade Fish Pie which promised chunks of cod, prawns & leeks in a creamy white sauce topped with cheesy mash potato and vegetables.
I like to arrive early for lunch and this often makes the place appear to be sparsely occupied, but if filled up in no time at all. The classic menu offered not only our two meals but also Sausage & Mash, Homemade Steak & Ale Pie, Slow Cooked Belly of Pork, Beer Battered Fish Fillet, Scampi , Lamb Shank, Curry of the Day, and two vegetarian options, Bombay Aromatic Garden Burger, and vegetarian Lasagne! And an OAP selection. And a specials board which I hadn’t noticed! See what I mean?
I ordered a small glass of white wine and my companion had orange juice, and we got stuck into those while we waited. I noticed that a gentleman nearby received his chips served in a (clean!) plant pot, and I worried that the fish pie might come likewise; I asked if it could be decanted onto the plate for my friend, which they kindly did. The service was just a tiny bit slow, but our having arrived on the dot of 12 noon probably accounted for that; when the plates of food arrived I was stunned to see so many vegetables – peas, carrots, mange tout and new potatoes, and lots of them. I can’t abide meals that are all protein and sauce, so five stars for that!
My chicken was deliciously enhanced by a sauce composed of bacon, shallots, mushrooms and all sorts of delicious subtle flavours. The fish pie was stuffed to the gunnels with big chunks of fish, and all the other promised ingredients; my friend had to admit defeat by leaving a little of it: being 88 allows all sorts of license! Even so we both found space for pud. Mine was a vanilla and toffee cheesecake with ice cream (or cream) and what a fabulous treat it was; I had almost chosen the raspberry roulade but my friend beat me to it, and she finished it off despite being a good sized portion.
Suitably replete (after coffee and mints, of course) we wished them farewell and drove off – WITHOUT PAYING!
Halfway home the cold realization dawned on me and we returned post haste; the reputation of my staunch Methodist friend and my reputation as Village People magazine’s restaurant writer intact.
Yes I would go again! In the summer to sit in the extensive outside area, maybe on Curry night (Wednesday) or Steak night (Thursday) or even take-out fish and chip night (all week).
Wine, and Orange Juice £ 5.95
Fish Pie £11.50
Chicken Forestiere £11.75
Two puds £10.50
2 coffees £ 4.40
The Worlds End Mulbarton
Address: Norwich Road, Norfolk, Norwich NR14 8JT
Phone: 01508 570205
Ladies who lunch (39)