We absolutely love eating out, before kids we used to eat out loads. We don't often get to go out on an evening for food these days so sometimes lunch is our only option. With a three year old you only have a small window of opportunity as to when they will sit and behave so when we do get the chance to eat out we look for a place that is family friendly with a decent menu and quick service.
We were recently invited along to try out the new menu over at The Warrener in Thetford which is not far from us. We haven't been to Thetford in absolutely ages so it seemed the perfect opportunity to head out for lunch and burn off some energy afterwards at High Lodge, Thetford Forest. It took us about half an hour to get there, it was very easy to find and had ample parking and great access for the pushchair which is always a bonus.
We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who showed us to our table. We were seated in a nice little corner of the restaurant which was perfect for chatting and chilling out. There was no play area but because it was one of the hottest Saturdays of August we were all quite happy sitting in the air conditioning to be honest!
The menu has a great choice but yet it's not too big that you're left bewildered with what to select. There is a good choice of meat, fish and classic dishes, there was also a specials board which added to the variety. I really liked the way the menus were set out, they were easy to read and appealing to the eye, we found the amount of detail provided just right ensuring we knew exactly what we were ordering and what the dishes came with.
The children's menu was great, Alfie, as you can see Alfie felt that it was best worn on his head, pffft toddlers! When he finally stopped messing around he decided that he wanted a burger and with that he could then choose 2 sides as the accompaniment. The children's menu is fun and cheery with a horrible history theme. I loved the choices available, there was something that we knew Alfie would eat which is a relief as a parent! We did however forget to ask for our free activity pack (oops, bad Mummy) so I can't comment on what that consisted of.
The surroundings were lovely, it had a really relaxed feel and was very family friendly. There was seating outside if required or near the bar, the restaurant was deceptively big! Considering it was attached to the Premier Inn it wasn't overly packed but as we were leaving it was starting to become busier. The staff were friendly throughout and service was efficient. We opted to have Alfie's main come out with our starter so that he was occupied while we ate. I would say we were waiting no more than around 15 minutes before our starter came out, fantastic service for a hungry toddler!
So Alfie opted for the burger, chips and crudities. He is obsessed with cucumber (or cumbumber as he calls it hehe) so he was quite happy to munch his way through them. My husband had a little taste of the burger and said it tasted great, good quality and home made, always in a plus in our book as we do try to cook from fresh as much as we can when at home.
To start myself and my husband chose the sharing platter and added the sticky wings as an extra. It was delicious, the calamari was tasty and the sticky chicken wings were a good added extra, it was nicely presented aswell.
For our mains, my husband opted for the steak and merlot pie, when it arrived it looked delicious! The presentation of the dish was great and it really did look like some proper yummy pub grub. He said it tasted great and the gravy was apparently delicious.
I opted for one of the specials, which was the steak and prawns, I also added a side of pepper sauce as I can't eat steak and chips without a sauce! It arrived and looked very inviting. It tasted great and my steak was cooked to medium perfectly. The only thing I was truly disappointed with was the huge amount of chips it was served with and the very teeny, tiny amount of salad, I would have preferred a much nicer salad and less chips, there were so many chips that I couldn't eat them all.
After finishing our mains we decided that we did have a little room left to squeeze in a pud! Alfie and Daddy perused the the children's menu and Alfie was going to choose the graveyard horror but unfortunately this wasn't available so he opted for the chocolate challenge instead! It consisted of brownie chunks, marshmallows, dipping sauce and ice cream (nom, nom!). Needless to say we did have to help him out a little with this........
Myself and my husband both opted for the chocolate brownie with caramel sauce, oh it was so naughty but oh so good! We definitely needed a good walk after this!
We then finished our meal with a cappuccino. We were stuffed. We got the bill and the total for all that we had (including a pint and glass of wine) came to just over £66, I think for the amount we had that is a perfectly acceptable price, very reasonable indeed.
Would we eat here again? Absolutely, it's just down the road from Thetford Forest, the service was friendly and quick and the food really decent pub grub.
After lunch we headed straight to High Lodge in the forest. After living in Suffolk for over 5 years we had never visited here before so as it was a beautiful, hot day this was the perfect excuse and I'm so glad we did. We were hoping to follow the gruffalo trail but when we arrived unfortunately that trail wasn't running anymore but the superworm trail was so we opted to follow that one instead. In actual fact Alfie was far more interested in all of the amazing play equipment throughout the forest rather than the worm trail!
Walking around under the expanse of forest and watching people do 'go ape' was great, we were out the heat of the sun and were there for over 3 hours. It is worth mentioning that although the forest is 'free' to enter the price of parking is pretty extortionate, it's £2.20 an hour or £11.00 for a whole day (eek!). You could quite easily stay the whole day, I'm fairly sure that we only saw a tiny amount of the forest and what it has to offer, the facilities for children as well as cyclists, walkers and explorers are fantastic! If you are ever in this area I highly recommend paying a visit. I'm just sorry that I didn't take more pictures.
We had a great day from start to finish and will be heading back over to Thetford soon for more fun and frolics!
What do you think of the restaurant and our trip to High Lodge?
* Please note I was kindly given £60 towards the cost of the meal in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own.