I love the North Norfolk coast and I’m a regular visit to Wiveton Hall ,café and fruit farm . Usually I go along for tea and gluten free cake and buy seasonal fruit and vegetables . I find it a great place to take friends and family.
The location is just perfect with views stretching down towards the marshes and sea. After watching the BBC 2 series Normal for Norfolk the documentary about Wiveton Hall and the undeniably slightly eccentric character that is Norfolk gentleman farmer Desmond MacCarthy . His mother the lovely Chloe at 100 is still very much part of the farm and cafe and who I spotted enjoying a gluten free brownie , which I have to say looked delicious.
On Sunday inspired by the tv series I made the drive along the coast road to Wiveton hall fruit farm with my husband. The sun was shining brightly and although the car thermometer was only reading 12c it felt much warmer. The scenery along the coast road was gorgeous. winding through pretty villages, passing a windmill , fields of rapeseed and hedgerows of cow parsley.
I had pre booked a lunch for two at 1. 30pm We arrived and parked up, as always it was packed . Do book in advance online if you want to eat at Wiveton Hall. Its always been very busy but I’m sure due to Normal for Norfolk’s popularity this summer will be its best!
We were shown to a large clean table with views down to the sea in the distance. Bright coloured chairs and fun patterned table cloths make this light bright airy cafe the perfect place for a sunny Sunday lunch. I was delighted that Desmond himself was in the cafe chatting to families. He kindly agreed to a photo for my blog post and was interested to hear where we had come from.
Chloe, Desmonds mother has her own designated table. Where she was sitting waiting for her Sunday lunch and possibly waiting for Desmond to finish chatting with one and all and come and sit down!
The big table next to us was a family celebrating the grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. Wiveton cafe is very family friendly and if you prefer there is a seating area outside for families and dogs. The chairs and tables outside are painted in zingy bright colours and have an outstanding view of the Norfolk countryside and distant views of the sea.
Before I booked online I contacted the cafe by email to explain my dietary requirements. Charlotte emailed me back straight away assuring we I would be well looked after and also giving me a menu idea for my visit that would fit in with my many intolerances. This was very reassuring .
At the cafe you take your order to the till where you can pay in advance or at the end. The kitchen is open and right next door and if you had any questions, which I did about choice of gluten free puddings they were quickly answered.
I chose Hot smoked salmon and Wiveton asparagus salad with a horseradish, tomato and lime creme fraise dressing, this was the menu idea from Charlotte. Followed by homemade Wiveton strawberry sorbet. My husband went for the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with roasties and asparagus. His dessert choice was cappuccino panna cotta with nut praline and raisins soaked in rum. Tea for one and a ginger beer.
The drinks and food arrived promptly and were well presented. My salmon and asparagus salad was a good size and delicious the flavours delicate and a flavour combination I hadn’t tried before. Baby salad leaves, fresh asparagus picked from Wiveton farm and a good size piece of salmon with tomatoes. I would definitely chose it again.
I eat out so rarely that when I do, and feel confident in the chefs , I always get a little emotional. The sheer joy of not having to cook and to be able to eat out like everyone else. That might seem quite crazy and difficult to understand but when you are intolerant to gluten , yeast thats vinegar, wine etc. Onions, garlic and paprika. Eating out becomes so difficult especially with the worry of cross contamination from gluten. These days any of these foods can cause me to be extremely ill for days and weeks to come.
My husband enjoyed his large roast dinner with perfectly cooked pink slices of beef with crispy Yorkshire with plenty of hot meaty gravy.
Our desserts were both gluten free so I was able to sample to cappuccino panna cotta. My husband wasn’t convinced on the flavour combination with the nut brittle and the rum soaked raisins but I thought it was a clever idea that I’m sure worked well. My Wiveton strawberry homemade sorbet was a real treat. Bursting with early english strawberry flavour and more than a little sugar! ( well it was a treat pud ! )
I thought the prices were ok my salad was £13.50 and the roast was £16.50 the desserts were £6 each. I found the waiting staff were friendly and very helpful.
After my delicious meal I suggested we took a walk around the gardens this costs £2.50 each from the shop. Which by the way is amazing and I got carried away buying a Wiveton mug, postcards and Wiveton jam. Some lovely things, much of which is locally made.
The gardens was something after seeing the tv show I really wanted to explore.
Unfortunately the hall itself isn’t open to the public this is very much Desmond and his families home. But the walled garden , the outside of the hall and wild woodland gardens are truly worth an afternoon stroll. I properly fell in love with the place and could of quite easily spent hours there.
If you are up in Norfolk it is well worth a visit. Just don’t forget to book in advance if you want to eat at the cafe. You can click through here to find availability. There are also holiday cottages to stay in.
Wiveton cafe is open for lunch and afternoon tea. Friday evenings for Beef and Reef. Saturdays are Tapas night, also pizza evenings . Special events are on the website too.
Before you leave its well worth checking out the plants, fruit and vegetables available to buy.
Wiveton Hall website
follow on Twitter @wivetonhall
check out @Iizzirainey handmade lovely things available in the Wiveton shop
Missed the series Normal for Norfolk? click here to view
These views and this stunning scenery is really Normal for Norfolk! come and see for yourself