On a suitably dreary day my companion and I drove over to Pulham Market in a most circuitous manner – nothing to do with Christmas excess or the wrong spectacles, more to do with Highways department thinking that we all know our way and don’t need diversion signs to avoid their road works. (Thanks Highways, try harder next time).
Warmth and cheeriness greeted us as we entered the large pub; there was a lovely smell of wood smoke with foodie smells intermingling. Drinks in hand – beer for me and lager for my pal – we were shown to a table, not too close to the roaring wood fire thankfully. There was an assortment of different seating arrangements; low easy-chairs with coffee tables; a beer barrel with two high stools, and many conventional table and dining chairs. If you go there anytime look out for the ‘perch’ which is like a church misericord for elderly choristers, people appear to be standing but are secretly half-sitting.
The specials board and the menu combined did not offer an enormous range of food, but it was quite varied and it is the middle of winter. That said, there were three fish alternatives (and you know how I love fish) so I chose a four-fish pie with mashed potato and cheese on the top, with a salad garnish so large I didn’t imagine there would be any vegetables. My friend chose venison casserole which she said was really tasty and came with French bread and salad. The unexpected vegetable dish arrived after we had started, so we shared out the Kale, carrots, red cabbage, and swede – all good English country veg! I think I have said before that I don’t like pies being served in the dish they have been cooked in, and I ruined two napkins trying to get the food out of the dish onto my plate – it was jolly hot! My friend had an easier time of it; hers came in a gravy jug, so at least had a handle. Next time I shall send it back to the kitchen to be dealt with.
Puds were a delight! I had decided on the Crème Brule but my friend ordered first so I hastily changed to the jam bread-and-butter pudding with custard – privately hoping that it didn’t contain too many sultanas and raisins. Not a dried current in sight; just luscious raspberry jam, and dreamy custard with vanilla pod seeds in it. I scraped my plate clean. Friend had her Crème Brule with shortbread biscuit and was so pleased to find it warm rather than the usual fridge-cold.
Hot strong fresh black coffee followed and we reluctantly left this welcoming place. It’s been transformed recently and I think it will become the heart of the village. Wonderful place. I shall go again, and take friends.
Only one niggle: a hook on the back of the toilet door please; otherwise handbags have to go on the floor.
Fish pie £10.95
Venison Casserole £13.95
Beer ½ pint £01.65
Half pint lager & lime £01.80
Two puds £11.00
Two coffees £04.00
Crown Inn, Harleston Road,(On the Green) Pulham Market, Diss IP21 4TA
Phone: 01379 676184
The Crown is open Monday to Saturday 11:30am-11:30pm and Sundays 12pm-10pm serving food Monday to Saturday 12pm-2:30pm and 6pm-9pm, Sunday’s 12pm-7pm.