Ladies Who Lunch

The Angel Inn, Larling - 19th April 2011

On an absolutely fabulous spring day, I agreed to meet the sister-in-law with the dodgy reversing technique somewhere halfway between Cambridge and Norwich. I erred on the side of petrol economy choosing the Angel at Larling. It is bang on the A11 – although not as bang on as it used to be: Highways moved the road, and built a bypass round the now much quieter Pub.

I neglected to book until quite late and was offered a 1.30 pm slot. Having arranged to meet at 12.30, I worried slightly about this, but as Sis-in-law could be relied on to be reasonably late, I waited outside and attempted to make my nails presentable (I am a gardener; I bring my hobby with me) whilst nibbling on a dry croissant I found in the car – to stave off the hunger induced by the delicious smell of food coming from the pub.

Our table was ready early so we bought our drinks. I ordered a small wine, then realised I would want a second one, so had mine topped up to large size instead. I spotted a notice at the bar saying there were five real ales on tap, and many (actually 100) bottles of whisky.

The menu was extensive and varied (lots of steaks): I saw (to my delight) a Whole Trout; I do love fish! My companion chose seafood pasta bake, and we chose salad rather than vegetables.

Oh what a glorious sight, a lovely big trout, cooked to perfection. It could only have been fresher if I had pointed at it in the lake and said ‘that one, please’. The jolly waitress volunteered the information that it was from the Narborough lakes, only a dozen miles away. In fact the food is locally sourced as far as possible, and even their butcher is named on the website. My companion’s pasta bake was full of seafood – prawns, salmon etc, and was delicious. The salad was plentiful and fresh.

Between courses I studied the surroundings; there was a larger than usual number of men, in Saville row shirts, polished brogues, and county cord trousers; but the place wasn’t at all elitist, I also saw half a dozen sweaty cyclists, and a couple of workmen in tee-shirts, all just as welcome. Interestingly the man behind the bar was wearing a tie, looking very smart. I spotted some beautifully presented puddings drifting past in various bowls and glasses. One of the workmen-in-tee-shirts was presented with the largest, crustiest bacon buttie / doorstep I ever saw (perhaps it would be prudent to ask about the sandwiches; you would need a full complement of strong teeth to tackle that!)

By the time puddings came I almost had to admit defeat, (regretting the croissant) and I asked for a child’s portion of chocolate fudge cake: my friend chose the ginger sponge. We tasted one another’s: mine (which was quite big enough) was the deepest sweetest chocolate, and hers was zingy with ginger and moist with syrup. Both came with ice cream and cream.

We watched the coffee being freshly made, so none of that end-of-lunch tired flavour, and it came with cream, sugar and those lovely caramel biscuits.

The loos were tidy with fresh flowers, although there was one shallow step en route. The outside area had spacious parking and a wonderfully comprehensive child play area.

Bottom line, £38, but well worth every penny. (mains, puds, drinks and coffee). Excellent service, friendly atmosphere. I shall definitely go again.

The Angel Inn, Larling, Norfolk, NR16 2QU. Phone 01953 718561.

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