An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
The Crown Inn
Tel: 01485 528530
A traditional country inn with modern day comfort offering luxury accommodation and an award winning restaurant for an enjoyable night away.
Where to find it
The Crown Inn sits on the corner of the green in East Rudham which is reached on the main A148 road from King’s Lynn to Fakenham. You’ll see its pale green frontage and parasols reaching out over the topiary trees as you approach. It’s also next door to The Pretty Shop, a nice little gift emporium selling accessories for the home and vintage clothing. It’s easily recognisable with its bright pink shop front and straw parasols. On entering The Crown Inn you’ll find yourself in the hub – a reception cum country pub cum fine dining restaurant.
What to expect
Immediately the place feels warm and welcoming with beamed ceilings, low level lighting and a relaxed homely vibe. There’s a central bar with stools and restaurant seating all around; plenty of little nooks for private dining. The tables are individual with natural wood curves that add to the authentic feel and create a classy environment for fine dining. At check in you’re given fresh milk - no UHT here - and personally escorted to your room.
Six rooms in hotel, all above the pub, make up one of five such small hotels under the Flying Kiwi Inns group owned by New Zealand Master Chef Chris Coubrough. I’ve yet to stay in the other establishments but I have a feeling they will all meet the exceptionally high standard Chris adheres to. Our room was up in the eves and made for a delightful stay with a long vaulted ceiling and sky lights. There was a large sofa, spacious sleeping quarters and an immaculate en suite bathroom. The bed was heavenly and made an afternoon’s siesta very inviting. With luxurious furnishings mixed with period features, it ticked all the boxes bar one – no mirror above the dressing table for drying one’s hair – but this was easily remedied and didn’t hinder the experience at all.
Having won such awards as the Great British Pub Award, Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year, and Cask Marque Certificate of Excellence, I had high hopes for our evening meal which were met with ease. Chris comes from a family background of growing all your own food from scratch, meat as well as vegetables, and he says “I still have the same enthusiasm to create wholesome food using only the best local ingredients”. He combines this with inspiration from his many travels around the world to produce cuisine that’s not just special but unique. Thought goes into the dishes, the environment and the full experience of eating out to ensure the making of a gastro pub to be remembered.
I particularly enjoyed the varied selection of starters which can be ordered as tapas. The tiger prawn skewers and crayfish tails were fresh and presented exquisitely. The main meals were large and cooked to perfection. Our Sunday night offer included a bottle of house wine which we drank in the upstairs library. I should imagine many lovers have snuggled up in the privacy of this comfy low lit snug. Breakfast was equally as good; my smoked salmon and scrambled eggs were one of the best I’ve ever had which is a big compliment given I have it almost everywhere I stay.
I left feeling happy, rested and content which is testament to the fine company I shared, the accommodation, the food and the friendly efficient service I received. I would certainly stay again in any of the Flying Kiwi Inns around Norfolk and I recommend them to all.
The restaurant is open daily for lunch 12pm to 2.30pm and for dinner 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Overnight B&B stays start from £80 and dinner included from £105.