Our second pub of the day had what I considered to be the most interesting building, the substantial structure of the Kings Arms Hotel. It was constructed in the seventeenth century, although was much modified in the following century, but that’s still plenty of heritage. The pub’s web-site claims that Horatio Nelson might have popped in for a drink which is not entirely fanciful as he was at Paston Grammar School which was located next door, although he left there when he was 12 so who knows….
There are plenty of pubs which were formerly hotels and keep that word in their name, not least the Bell Hotel in Norwich, which seems a little confusing to me. However, the King’s Arms still welcomes overnight visitors and the reviews for their accommodation seem broadly positive with all the guest rooms located on the first floor.
There were three real ales available, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, the Ghostship from Adnams and Abbot from Greene King, with prices feeling around average. I’m somewhat out of date with my knowledge of shots as it’s a long time since I’ve run anything which sells them, but the Dead Man’s Fingers rum looked intriguing in their garish packaging. But Julian and I were sticking to the beers and didn’t want to get distracted with shots, a sign of our professionalism to our day trip.
We didn’t have a food plan for the day, so I asked if they were serving food and these menus were supplied. As they looked suitably interesting we decided to get food here.
The problem a large pub has is ensuring that it feels homely and that there doesn’t seem to be tumbleweed floating across the plains of the carpet. There were no such difficulties here, there were plenty of customers from all age groups with this being one of the more comfortable environments we found during the day. I went for the Landlord from Timothy Taylor’s Brewery and this tasted as expected, at the appropriate temperature and well kept.
Historic photos of the pub.
A little shrine of pub history, I liked it.
This sign was more confusing than it needed to be (or to me at least, I’m easily confused), but the ladies and gents were to the right.
The pie is listed on the menu as traditional British, which frightened me slightly, but I asked and was told that they had beef or chicken. I wasn’t entirely sure that this sounded entirely tempting, but I went with the chicken pie and had suitably low expectations of a sub-optimal experience. I needn’t have though, this was a perfectly good meal with the chicken pie being sizeable, the chips being firm on the exterior and fluffy inside alongside peas which retained some bite. But the star of this little show was the gravy which was served in a large quantity and had an onion taste to it which added positively to the whole arrangement. Although the chicken pie did seem to have been brought in, the meal was filling and tasty so I had no complaints. There was also a check back during the meal and I got the impression that the pub would have promptly fixed any problems. Julian went for the scampi and chips which was also served as a large portion, indeed so substantial that he was defeated towards the end, but he mentioned the quality of the food.
The pool table area of the pub, one of several separately defined areas of the venue.
I very much liked this venue, it had lots of character, the service was polite and the surroundings were comfortable. The food exceeded my expectations and I rather got the feeling that I was carrying on the tradition of generations of enjoying sustenance in this pub. And just perhaps I was sitting in the same place as Horatio Nelson, who knows….