The smell of woodsmoke has started to perinate the air as we approach autumn. My planning for the Norwich CAMRA beer festival, World Beer Bar, this October are in the advance stages of confirming some delicious USA beers which will be joining our selection of European and UK beers, from lagers to rich thick stouts I am hoping there will be something for everyone.
As part of the beer festival there will be some tutored tastings. Having just qualified as an Associate Member of the Academy of Cheese I will be co hosting with Robin Parker a fellow Sommelier and Cheese expert 2 tastings pairing beer with cheese on Thursday 24th October.
This month I am mainly focusing on nibbles though. I have been to 3 different restaurants in Norfolk and had a different experience in all. Lets start with the best, The Old Bank in Snettisham, is a small family run business, using seasonal products and local ingredients, some coming from their own allotment. As well as English wines there were local beers and soft drinks that were a perfect match to the food. The restaurant is small with only 24 covers, the staff were friendly and attentive. The Old Bank is in the Michelin guide which gives a hint into the quality of the food, but it misleads on the great value for money. We opted for the £22 lunch menu with 3 courses. My Duck starter was delicately flavoured paired with crunchie parsnip crisps, chard onions and pickled mushrooms. The Salmon main had a crisp skin with sweet juicy soft meat, matched perfectly with the wine sauce, local potatoes, squash and fennel. Dessert was white chocolate panecota with raspberries, shortbread and sorbet which had a silky creamy texture cut by the fresh fruit. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone, for quality in service, food and drink.
Secondly I finally managed to visit the Japanese restaurant on Tombland. With 2 different areas to eat we selected the upstairs with a view of the cathedral and street. The staff were helpful and attentive, each dish was delicately flavoured, and fresh. The star of the show was pickled ginger with the pork pattie. It’s the first time I have left a restaurant feeling pleasantly full yet also healthy.
Tombland is also the home to the chain restaurant Giggling Squid. I visited here with family all fans of Thai food so were looking forward to this. Things did not start well, we waited for 15 mins before our drinks order was taken. Then waited 15mins for the drinks to arrive, at the same time someone finally arrived to take our food order. The food arrived quickly and although well presented it lacked the freshness of Thai food I expect. Mains arrived and we asked for some more water, a long wait later and reminding the waiting staff it arrived when they came to take our plates away. Then there was more waiting to order a dessert. We requested the bill and had been over charged for rice, so a new bill was asked for, more waiting. Mean while the restaurant was getting full of rowdy customers making the most of the fact that only the drinks seemed to be served. My thoughts on this experience? an ok meal, that over the 3 hours was more waiting than eating.
I think in this case, shop local as we have much better family run Thai food in Norfolk.