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It’s got the views - but is this pub worth travelling to for the food as well?

The Smokey Joe pizza from The Lion at Thurne Picture: James Randle

The Smokey Joe pizza from The Lion at Thurne Picture: James Randle

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The Lion at Thurne is the perfect summer spot, boasting views of the Broads and a huge beer garden - but is the food as good as the setting? Louisa Baldwin headed along to find out.

I visited the Lion at Thurne during Eat Out to Help Out Picture: James RandleI visited the Lion at Thurne during Eat Out to Help Out Picture: James Randle

Food

I decided to review The Lion at Thurne after a recommendation from a friend who visited a few weeks ago and raved about the pizzas and how pretty the location is.

So I headed there on a Tuesday evening with my boyfriend and two of our mates, including the one who suggested it, having booked in advance as it is part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

We were seated at a corner table in the open-plan dining room at the far end, with sunlight flooding in from the garden and wooden beams, and were brought over a selection of laminated menus.

Halloumi fries and garlic pizza bread with vegan cheese Picture: James RandleHalloumi fries and garlic pizza bread with vegan cheese Picture: James Randle

Both the restaurant and garden were packed out, which was brilliant to see, and as it was only day two of the discount scheme we didn’t mind that they had run out of a few of the items on the menu.

We opted for the halloumi fries with sweet chilli mayo (£6.50) and a garlic pizza bread with vegan cheese (£5.95) to share as starters and dived straight in when they arrived.

The halloumi fries, which were closer in size to Jenga bricks, were the best I have ever had and this type of cheese can easily become rubbery, but it was incredibly moist and was encased in crunchy batter and slathered in a tangy sauce.

Pork and apple burger topped with Brie, green apple and onion chutney from The Lion at Thurne Picture:  James RandlePork and apple burger topped with Brie, green apple and onion chutney from The Lion at Thurne Picture: James Randle

READ MORE: Review: Village pub enjoyed by celebrity chef has oodles of charm

The garlic bread was also delicious and you wouldn’t notice it was vegan cheese, which we opted for as my boyfriend has a dairy allergy.

For my main course I ordered the pork and apple burger (£11.50) and it was topped with Brie, green apple, onion chutney and served with fries.

Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream Picture: James RandleSticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream Picture: James Randle

The patty, served in a toasted brioche bun, was well seasoned and packed with flavour - it was just the right thickness so I could still hold the burger and didn’t have to mess around with a knife and fork.

The sliced, cooked apple on top gave it a burst of sweetness and the Brie oozed out the sides, then it was finished off with a heap of iceberg lettuce and a tomato.

The chips were thin and crispy and it was a giant portion, though I would have happily had a few less and had some coleslaw too.

My boyfriend opted for The Smokey Joe 12-inch pizza (£11.50), again with vegan cheese, which was topped with chicken, ham, pepperoni and mixed peppers on a Louisiana barbecue base and I took a slice to sample.

The dining room at The Lion at Thurne Picture: James RandleThe dining room at The Lion at Thurne Picture: James Randle

They certainly didn’t scrimp on toppings and it was a kaleidoscope of colours and textures and the base was perfectly light.

We also had some beer battered onion rings (£3.75) which were a crispy web of batter and all joined together, which made it a bit tricky to share though they were tasty.

I then ordered my all-time favourite dessert sticky toffee pudding (£5.95) and the sponge was light and airy and had a shiny glaze on top.

It would have been even better with a little more toffee sauce and custard as an option.

There is a range of beers and a huge selection of gins on offer Picture: James RandleThere is a range of beers and a huge selection of gins on offer Picture: James Randle

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Setting

This is the real selling point of the pub. It is next to Thurne Dyke, with mooring tickets available behind the bar, and just a stone’s throw from Thurne Mill if you fancy a walk after dinner.

Price

As we went when Eat Out to Help Out was running it was a bargain, but even without it the prices are reasonable and the portions are big.

Drinks

There is a good choice of beers and a huge range of gins - I opted for their own Pell & Co Hopton Gin which came with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic (£4.75) and it was very refreshing.

Toilets

The toilets were clean and there was hand sanitiser by the door back into the restaurant too.

Accessibility

Everything is on ground level, including the toilets, so there should be no issues with access.

Service

The staff were all friendly and polite and seemed to cope well with the large number of customers. Due to the scheme, the wait for food was probably a little longer than normal, but it didn’t matter for us as we all wanted to catch up anyway.

Highlight

The halloumi fries were worth going for alone.

In summary

The Lion at Thurne offers crowd-pleasing dishes and is in stunning surroundings - what is not to like?

READ MORE: Renowned food critic Giles Coren heaps praise on Norfolk restaurant

If you like that try these...

1. Brick Pizza, Norwich

Nestled next to Norwich Market, with a takeaway service too, Brick offers delicious wood-fired pizza with options such as ham and mushroom and Napoli, along with a range of vegan options.

2. The Ferry Inn, Stokesby

Offering stunning views of the River Bure, The Ferry Inn has reopened its garden only with the order point outside the front door. It is an Adnams pub, so you can expect their full range of beers, and the menu is packed with pub classics.

3. The Kings Head, Letheringsett

Located just outside Holt, The Kings Head boasts a beautiful garden surrounded by parkland and there are always plenty of real ales on tap and seasonal dishes to choose from.

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.


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