Ladies Who Lunch

Sweet Briar Bistro @ Peter Beales, London Rd, Attleborough

On my birthday in 2010 I went to (and wrote about) Breckland Lodge on the A11 near Attleborough; at the end of the report I mentioned that just up the road was Peter Beales roses – barely a couple of hundred yards. We called in for coffee and I thought at the time that I might go back there one day and have a lunch; how glad I am that I did!

On a rainy Monday in late October I assumed that there wouldn’t be many people buying roses, and maybe the little Bistro attached might be empty apart from me and my companion. Not a bit of it! At least half of the tables were in use with couples and families enjoying a variety of tasty looking treats. It’s a bright cheerful place with bright cheerful staff and we were soon shown to our reserved table by a helpful young waitress. I thought that the menu might be a bit restricted; perhaps offering soup-and-roll type food, so when I spotted roast beef and Yorkshire pud on the specials board I was quite surprised. Not only roast beef, but a lamb and veg pudding, loin of pork, and a salmon dish. Having had a big heavy roast dinner on the Sunday, and knowing that I would be finishing it that evening, I opted for one of the lighter bites from the table menu; crisp chicken and croutons with salad and chilli sauce. I am not keen on hot chilli sauces so I asked if it could be put in a separate container, and sure enough it arrived in a sweet little jug. My companion chose loin of pork with Dijon cream dressing and mixed vegetables. When our food arrived, I can honestly say I have never seen so much salad on one plate! Wonderful; a mixture of leaves, all the usual salad items and grapes, peppers, cress and slices of lemon and orange to squeeze over. The chicken pieces were tucked away in the midst of the greenery. It was brilliant; really tasty, and satisfying without being heavy. My companion’s pork was a generous tender serving, and her Dijon mustard dressing was lovely, as were her vegetables which included Romanesco a type of cauliflower – we swapped ‘tasters’ of course. Unusually, I ordered a bottle of beer to go with mine, and that was super too.

As you probably know by now, I do love a big helping of dessert, and half a dozen fabulous alternatives were listed on the blackboard. Better still, they were on show at the counter, so we hurried down to inspect them and choose. There were two different meringue roulades; the lemon one was marked ‘Gluten Free’ which is very considerate. There was a satisfyingly deep treacle tart, something with a crumble topping, and an Irish Cream cheesecake. My friend chose the Black Forest Meringue Roulade and I had the most amazing Caramel and Amaretto topped confection which was referred to as a Charlotte, but was nothing like the charlottes my granny used to make – she would have been scandalised at the richness of this one. It was delicious. To follow, we had about a dozen different coffees to choose from, including latte, Americano, espresso and something new that my friend chose – Toffeecino. I had a mocha which came in a tall glass, and we mmmmmmm’ed our way through them. This was altogether a wonderful lunch, I was impressed.

There is also a gift shop attached to the Bistro with a wide range of decently priced items for sale – soaps, pictures, slippers, all sorts of lovely things.

Bottom line:
Pork £9.95
Chicken £8.95
2 Puds £9.90
Drinks and coffees £12.80
TOTAL £41.60

Sweet Briar Bistro @ Peter Beales, London Rd, Attleborough, Norfolk NR17 1AY
About half a mile from the Breckland Lodge roundabout
01953 451655

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