Shake Paws

— the home of dogs —

Dog-friendly Norfolk: The Lodge, Old Hunstanton

by Shake Paws

The Lodge, or The Lodge Inn, according to Trip Advisor, is a dog-friendly hotel and eaterie in Old Hunstanton, Norfolk

View of the bar at The Lodge, Old Hunstanton, Norfolk View of the bar at The Lodge, Old Hunstanton, Norfolk

Our last-minute planning for a short break in Old Hunstanton, Norfolk, included a quick Google search to find somewhere dog-friendly to eat on the Friday evening after our arrival. The closest we could find to our accommodation, a five-minute walk away, was The Lodge. But there was some confusion over the name of the venue. Was it The Lodge or The Lodge Inn? Were they one and the same or two different establishments? The Lodge Inn gets a fine, dog-friendly write up on Explore Norfolk, while The Lodge’s website makes no mention of accepting dogs in the ‘casual’ dining areas. But we’re happy to confirm that The Lodge and The Lodge Inn are one and the same, and dogs are welcome in the casual dining areas.

The staff at The Lodge are friendly, efficient and eager to please. The floor manager even returned £20, realising we had mistakenly handed over a 50% tip. Honesty is all part of the service.

Atmosphere

We didn’t stay at the The Lodge as we had a holiday rental a mere five-minute walk away, but there are said to be some magnificent dog-friendly cottages in the courtyard, away from the hotel proper. The bar-cum-casual dining area has a traditional–modern look, with its stripped wooden floors, stout, 30ft bar, open fire place and comfortable seating at the entrance to the bar. Doors from the bar lead to an outside dining area and beer garden, although not at this time of year, thank you very much.

Drinks delivered, we watched on while the band set up to provide that evening’s entertainment. When booking, we had been advised that the band would be starting at 9pm, so we opted for a 6.30pm sitting. Time enough to eat and get away before the noise unsettled Roma. It’s not that we don’t enjoy music, simply that we would rather watch a band with Roma safely tucked up at home. As it was, she nearly jumped out of her skin at the first strum of the lead guitar as the band set about a sound check.

The Lodge’s clientele span a broad age range, from thirty-somethings to sixty-somethings and beyond. As the restaurant filled, children were noticeably absent, and it became clear that the venue was a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike.

The food

We opted to share a plate of nachos for starters to fill time while we waited for our main course. There’s not a lot can go wrong with nachos – guacamole and sour cream on the side, salsa and melted cheese over, delicious.

Soon after finishing our starter, the mains arrived, vegetarian fajitas (£11) and a 10oz rump steak (£18). The fajitas were served on a chopping board (the plate) with sides of guacamole, sour cream and grated cheese, a steamer full of tortillas and a sizzling dish of fried onions and mixed peppers. So far, so good as far as presentation is concerned, but the real test is in the tasting, and that’s were the fajitas failed, devoid, as they were, of any seasoning. The Mexican spiciness we’ve come to expect was absent, and once the sizzling side plate stopped sizzling, well, that’s where the excitement ended as far as this dish was concerned.

The 10oz rump was cooked pink to perfection, and the hand-cut chips were equally impressive, with a crisp outer coating to the fluffiest of potatoes. The steak was also served with a tower of rocket and pecorino salad and what the menu described as crispy red onions, an attempt to replace the ubiquitous onion rings served everywhere else that failed. The peppercorn sauce, a separate order (£3), was creamy and deep, with just the right amount of kick.

And finally

We left The Lodge before the band got into full swing, satisfied that it had been a worthwhile experience, despite our disappointment at the vegetarian fajita dish. We’ll mark it down as one to avoid when we visit again. Besides, there are two more veggie options, neither of which is the lazy chef’s mushroom risotto – vegetarian cottage pie and rigatoni.

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