Another beautiful day, another lunch out, what a stressful life I lead: we had arranged to go to a pub / restaurant some distance away from home, but as I discovered ‘we don’t do lunch’ a last minute rearrangement saw us making a shorter journey thus arriving at the park hotel 45 minutes early. My friend suggested walking into Diss – so we did, and it’s not very far - then 40 minutes later we presented ourselves at reception and were shown to our reserved table decorated with a pretty vase of fresh garden flowers.
My friend was ravenous (she is also slim; unlike me) so she ordered a starter of Chicken Liver Pâté (blended with brandy and herbs): this came with lots of Melba toast, chutney and a fair sized salad garnish. I sat and watched her eat whilst I tasted my glass of chilled white wine – gorgeous! I finally succumbed to a tiny taste of the pâté which I try to avoid on account of calories, and it was utterly lovely.
For our main course we decided against hot roasted food as we were pretty ‘hot roasted’ ourselves. After a few changes back and forth between us, I chose the Honey Glazed Ham Salad, and my companion chose the Salmon and Prawn Fishcakes also with salad. I wish I could have had both! The fishcakes were very tasty and the portions were generous, as was my ham; also excellent. My salad was accompanied by coleslaw and boiled new potatoes which were improved exponentially by the addition of half-a-dozen butter pats brought to me by the efficient waitress – not that I actually used all 6!
My friend’s fishcakes were complemented with a Caesar salad with parmesan cheese (which improves just about anything you put it on) and we both agreed that they were a good size and not overfilled with potato. We both cleared our plates – as usual.
The service was friendly and timely with only one ‘Everything all right?’ (which is quite enough) during the meal. I had thought that the hotel might be a bit old fashioned or dated as it had been there since we first came to Norfolk, but not so; it was elegant, quiet, and spacious with a fresh, clean feel. We had arrived at twelve noon, after which the place filled up slowly but surely with eager diners.
The waitress brought back the menu so that we could discover what delights were in store pudding-wise: evidently the ‘Cheesecake of the day’ was lemon and lime, which we both wanted. My slim friend conceded defeat and chose Apple Crumble with Ice Cream and I had the cheesecake. Both were generous sized portions, and I was granted a free dollop of ice cream with mine, to make up for my hollow-legged friend’s starter.
Thoroughly satisfied we ordered coffee to finish with, and this came with the obligatory chocolate mint. Nice big cups of hot strong coffee! Just how I like it. Just before leaving I like to have a look round the place, and visit the loos: I discovered that the ladies’ loo was down four steps, so I enquired if there were any others and was told that there was a ramp access to the ones we had used. If in doubt about this, it might be best to phone beforehand.
The car park is spacious and well signed – you enter from Park Road (A 1066) just east of a small roundabout.
One two course lunch £10.95
One three-course lunch £13.95
Wine (250ml) £5.30
Half pint lager & lime £1.90
Extra ice cream and butter free
TOTAL £32.10 or adjusted for consistency £29.10
Ah, they forgot to charge for the coffee which should have been £3.80
The Park Hotel, 29 Denmark Street. Diss. Norfolk. IP22 4LE.
Tel: +44 (0) 1379 642244 Fax: +44 (0) 1379 644218