Stanhoe pub is Restaurant of the Year in the East

Ben Handley, chef patron at the Duck Inn, Stanhoe ANL-160727-121923001
Ben Handley, chef patron at the Duck Inn, Stanhoe ANL-160727-121923001

A family-friendly pub in Stanhoe has been named Good Food Guide Local Restaurant of the Year for the Eastern region.

The Duck Inn is run by husband-and-wife team Ben and Sarah Handley.

The pub is described by the Good Food Guide (GFG), which is published by Waitrose, as having “a something-for-everyone appeal” which includes a special children’s or ‘Duckling’s’ menu.

Mr Handley, the chef, makes the most of the local produce and his menu includes Brancaster cockles and locally-sourced chicken and beef.

His specials board can change over the course of the day depending on the fresh ingredients available.

The pub also has its own herb garden, tended by the pubs staff, growing over 60 varieties. It is these credentials that led one happy customer to nominate the pub, commenting, “this restaurant is amazing.

The level of food created using local produce is phenomenal - from the flavour combinations to the originality and inventiveness of the dishes”.

The annual reader-nominated awards recognise the best neighbourhood eateries up and down the country. And to mark their tenth year, they have been renamed ‘Local’ Restaurant of the Year*’ to encourage diners to look much closer to home and champion the unsung restaurants right on their doorstep.

The GFG also only looked for new winners this year, with the hope that smaller, lesser known establishments would be discovered.

After sifting through 30,000 nominations, the editors of the GFG have announced the top dining establishments in each of 10 different UK regions. The awards are based on public nominations with a panel of GFG judges choosing the most outstanding for their overall winner, which this year is Wine & Brine, in Moira, Northern Ireland.

Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose GFG editor, said: “We have always maintained that the best restaurants offer creative, memorable food based on quality, seasonal and local produce.

“In other words no pretensions or gimmicks, just first-class food cooked from ingredients deeply rooted in the region. A commitment to their community and a strong relationship with local suppliers is what makes a restaurant truly local.”

Speaking about the Duck Inn, Ms Carter said: “Ben Handley has really stamped his mark on this delightful pub-with-rooms not far from the north Norfolk coast. Informal, passionate, with a something-for-everyone appeal, the Duck champions high-quality seasonal produce at reasonable prices. Don’t neglect the locally famous Sunday lunches and the fantastic bar snacks.”

Mr Handley said: “This award means so much to all of us at The Duck Inn.

“We aim to give great service, good food, a warm welcome to everyone who walks through our doors.

“We are fully aware that people do not come to us ‘just to eat’, they are coming for a complete experience and that starts the moment they walk through the door and are met with a friendly smile.

“The food is only as good as the service they receive and we work closely together to make every customer’s visit as special as possible.”

“I am very proud of our whole team at The Duck. We are also blessed with a wonderfully loyal customer base, who share in our pride and passion.

“We have been open for just over three years, and this award is the icing on the cake for all our hard work during that time. I know that our staff, and all our customers and local suppliers, will be just as proud as I am.”