Enjoyable despite its limitations
The Hunny Bell is a local favourite, in the middle of nowhere in rural Norfolk. Rated highly on Tripadvisor, and by locals we know, it was a fun family meal out.
I hadn’t intended to have a second burger in our holiday week, but the description of the HB double cheeseburger, topped with Emmental, served with onion rings, slaw, on a brioche and smoked bacon… well, it just sounded great. So I had to give it a go. We shared a carafe of Sea Change Negroamaro, a red wine whose billing features environmetnal activism, with a proportion of profits going to dealing with ocean plastics. Sold.
The meat of it
Let’s look at the main picture again.
The plating is tidy but a close inspection will show – a burnt brioche, unnecessary onion rings and a burnt edging on the bacon that bodes poorly… but it looks well assembled, and I’m intrigued.
In cross section, the errors compound themselves. These are thick patties, but cooked well done. They are far too big for the burger. The emmental is well melted and there’s an intriguing layer of sauce on the bottom bun… so, on to the taste.
Well, the burger is well seasoned. The crisp bacon adds excellent umami. The vegetables are crisp, fresh and sweet. The patties are a little dry, but the spicy mayo adds the required moisture and a lovely depth of flavour. There’s a wonderful smokiness to the whole thing.
Then… the whole thing kind of slides off the romaine slice and tomatoes at the base… leaving, in short, a mess:
The rest of it had to be eaten with cutlery, in two halves, split top and bottom. Ketchup helped balance the half without the spicy mayo, and yet somehow, the whole thing kept me wanting more. Despite almost everything going wrong with it, I still kind of enjoyed it. Though I think next time, the belly pork Amanda had is more likely to be on my order card.
The sides? The fries were well seasoned, standard french fries, but slightly undercooked. The slaw was soft – lacking all freshness and crispness – the mayo / dressing was just too heavy. But the onion rings were near-paragons of the form – lovely, crisp, well seasoned batter, sweet onion within… if they were a little greasy.
Giving notes on the whole dish:
- Don’t burn the bun
- Shrink the patties – 3oz each is plenty, 4oz each was too much
- Switch to a patty smash. higher fat ratio, melt cheese on each half as part of the build
- Go heavier on the delicious, animal-style sauce, consider adding some chopped pickle into it too for a bright, sweet crunch amidst it all
- Shred lettuce for a more stable base – the single leaf of romaine is pretty in theory, but irritating in practice
- Swap out the emmental for a sharp local cheddar
- Double fry the chips
- Find a new slaw recipe. It was bad.
- More onion rings. Because why not?
And the wine? Delicious. In both form and function. Highly recommend.
Monkey finger rating
Bun – 2.5/5
Burger – 3.5/5
Taste – 3.5/5
Sides – 3/5 – the onion rings and wine redeem the fries and slaw somewhat
Value – 3/5 – £14.50 for burger and fries. Wine and other dishes reasonable.
Burger rating – 3.5/5 – really much more enjoyable than it should have been
The food, service, ambience etc., at the Hunny Bell were all brilliant. The burger isn’t the best but everything else comes highly recommended. Visit if you’re in the region of Holt in Norfolk at any point.