After spending over a year trying to avoid economy bangers and ridiculous egg situations on my search for the ultimate fry up I am still hungry for more. Having eaten breakfast it is now time for lunch, Sunday roast to be precise. Join me as I try out different roast dinners, I will be trying everything from civilised restaurant's to rowdy pubs and supermarket cafe's to stack it high carverys. It's a difficult job but someone has to do it so join me on my search for roast dinner perfection!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Temple Bar - Norwich

2 Unthank Road

Sunday roast served from midday till 5pm

Temple Bar is said by many to serve Norwich's best Sunday Roast, my wife and I decided to go and check it out for ourselves.

The main room was pretty packed but we managed to find a table in the smaller room, it had been decorated since our last visit and was looking much better.

Both rooms have a bar where you can place your order.

The Sunday roast menu looked impressive and offered a good vegetarian option too. 

My wife ordered a cup of tea, I decided a nice pint of Guinness was needed though.

After an unexpected and incredibly frustrating wait of 70 minutes the food finally arrived at the table. 

Presentation was superb but enjoying a meal when you're feeling annoyed isn't much fun.

A good selection of seasonal veg and a disappointing cauliflower cheese.

Extra gravy arrives in a small jug and a selection of sauces are offered. The gravy here was excellent!

The turkey was really juicy and delicious, the roast potatoes tasted great but were undercooked.

A roast dinner with some great flavours going on but some elements of it were quite disappointing.

For so long now my wife and I have wanted to try the Sunday roast at Temple Bar. On the occasions we'd attempted it in the past though there has been no empty tables so we've ended up going somewhere else, clearly a very popular place! We'd been here for breakfast back in 2015, you can read that review here. Anyway, we'd walked into the city to do some shopping and my wife suggested going somewhere for lunch, I didn't need much persuading! We almost went into The Sir Garnet but resisted the urge as I'd already reviewed their Sunday roast last year. Instead we decided to once more attempt to get a table at Temple Bar and as luck would have it there was an empty table in the small room where the pool table is located...

Upon entering - I generally avoid pubs playing sports on big screens but was prepared to make an exception here as so many people had told me they serve the best Sunday Roast in Norwich. Three things pleasantly surprised me as we walked in, there was an empty table for us to sit at, the TV was muted and the place had been decorated since my last visit and looked so much better. There was a menu on the bar offering an impressive selection of Sunday roast options as well as desserts. We placed our order, paid and collected our drinks at the bar and sat down. The food, cutlery and sauces were all brought to the table much later. There's also the main room which I can't really comment on as I've never spent any time in it, the smaller room we were sat in seemed like a fairly nice place to eat in though. 5/10

Service - We placed our order at the bar at 1.36pm, I wouldn't usually remember such a detail but the photos for the review keep a record of the time. The lady behind the bar seemed really friendly, she took our order, we paid and then sat down with our drinks. We enjoyed our drinks and chatted but after 50 minutes thought it a bit strange that no cutlery had arrived at the table. After 55 minutes my wife went to find out why the food hadn't arrived yet, by this point we were starting to feel quite annoyed. We were told the food was on its way and should be with us in 5 to 10 minutes. After 15 minutes we decided to cut our losses and enquire about a refund, at this point the food was finally arriving. Everything was on the table at 2.46, 70 minutes after we'd ordered it. Ok, so sometimes places do get really busy but surely it's better to warn customers of any potential delays when taking their order or at least apologise for the delay. Keeping customers informed and offering an apology does go a long way, sadly it wasn't the case here though. 2/10

Type of roast - Ready served with shared vegetables.

Meats available - Beef, pork, turkey, lamb and gammon.

Contents - Turkey, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, leeks, red cabbage jam, parsnip, beans and gravy. 9/10

Vegetable portions - The seasonal vegetables were served in a separate bowl, a fairly reasonable amount between two people. The cauliflower cheese was a pair of florets cut in half, I couldn't help thinking that a person ordering on their own may well get the same portion though. On the plate were a few roast potatoes, some red cabbage and a couple of strips of parsnip. 5/10

Presentation - The presentation of this roast was quite impressive, on the main plate the meat lay across the roast potatoes and a large Yorkshire pudding sat proudly to the side. The seasonal vegetable selection looked really fresh and the gravy presentation on the plate looked great with a carrot and butternut smear. 8/10

The food - The turkey was really moist and delicious, perfect with the cranberry sauce. I'd specifically chosen turkey today to make up for not getting it on Christmas Day and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The Yorkshire pudding was excellent with a nice crispy edge and softer towards the centre. All of the vegetables looked really nice but the broccoli and cauliflower were very undercooked. My wife's favourite ever dish is cauliflower cheese and here it disappointed, we couldn't taste the cheese and the florets were crunchy. The main disappointment though was the roast potatoes, they tasted really good but were way too firm and not crispy enough on the outside. A few aspects of this roast were excellent but sadly it was a bit let down by undercooked roast potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. 6/10

Gravy and sauces - The gravy was spot on, really rich with a slightly thick consistency. There was gravy already on the plate and extra arrived in a small jug. A selection of sauces were offered, we chose cranberry sauce and ketchup (nice on roast potatoes) 8/10

Vegetarian option - Vegetables, pulses and occasional nuts and fruits baked in a loaf with a carrot fondant and vegetable gravy.

Value for money - The Sunday Roast costs £10.95. A 70 minute wait with no apology or explanation for a slightly disappointing meal didn't feel like money spent wisely at all. 2/10

Overall - Certainly the most frustrating eating out experience of 2016, if we'd have been informed of an hour+ wait on food we'd have simply gone somewhere else. The lack of apology or any updates on when the food might arrive I found really shocking, a well informed customer is always a much happier one. Eating when frustrated and angry isn't a great experience at all but I still managed to appreciate some real strong points with this roast dinner, sadly the undercooked items were a disappointment. 5.5/10


Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Murderers Cafe/Bar - Norwich

2 - 8 Timberhill

Sunday roast available from midday till 3.45pm

I've spent many hours drinking in The Murderers over the years.

This side of the pub is the cafe bar, we headed inside in search of a Sunday roast.

Our luck was in!

It's a very traditional pub that has remained the same for decades.

The cafe bar area is quite peaceful and relaxing with plenty of natural light flooding in.

I usually go for a Guinness with a roast dinner but still suffering from a hangover I opted for a glass of coke instead.

The ketchup bottle looked like it had seen some topping up action.

The roast beef dinner took me right back to the 1970's.

The beef was quite chewy but reasonably tasty.

 The roast potatoes tasted nice enough.

A fairly basic veg selection.

The Yorkshire pudding tasted very cakey, it was incredibly filling.

There wasn't a veggie roast on offer here but they were happy to swap the meat for a veggie burger, it wasn't ideal but it was the best offer we'd had all day so we took it!

It was a wet and grey Sunday afternoon, we decided to head into the city to for a Sunday roast. We had planned to go to The Reindeer on Dereham Road but they were fully booked, instead we headed to Temple Bar but it was the same story there too. We were cold, wet and determined so we tried The Coach and horses on Bethel Street but they were closed. The Walnut Tree Shades didn't serve a Sunday roast and The Woolpack had only nut roast left. It was just at the point of giving up that my wife suggested we tried The Murderers on Timber Hill... 

Upon entering - Having spent many afternoons drinking in The Murderers in the past I still remembered it well so it was quite nice to see as we entered that nothing at all had changed in over 10 years! The interior is very traditional with thick wooden tables, exposed brickwork and heaps of character. There are menus on each of the numbered tables, place your order and pay at the bar giving them your table number. The food is brought over when its ready along with cutlery and sauces. It's a nice relaxing environment with background music being played at just the right level which means you can easily chat over your lunch without having to shout. 8/10

Service - We were welcomed with a smile and the lady serving us did all she could to accomodate us. There wasn't a veggie roast on the menu but she told us that a veggie burger could be added instead of the meat. Not the most exciting of veggie options but having trekked around Norwich looking for somewhere to eat we were glad to have finally found somewhere so we decided to stay. The chap who brought the food over was really friendly too, he offered us sauces and later returned to check everything was ok. 9/10

Type of roast - Ready served 

Meats available - Beef 

Contents - Roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. 5/10

Vegetable portions - 3 roast potatoes and a reasonable serving of vegetables are already served on the plate. 6/10

Presentation - Just like the pub it was served in this roast dinner looked traditional, no stacked meats and served on a plate rather than a plank. 7/10

The food - The roast beef was well done and slightly chewy, it tasted ok though. The roast potatoes looked a bit like the frozen variety (I'm not sure if they were or not) but they tasted nice so I was happy enough. The Yorkshire pudding was dense in texture, it tasted very cakey and was incredibly filling, I quite enjoyed it though. The vegetables were fairly standard with a reasonable texture and quite nice taste. 5/10

Gravy and sauces - A nice rich gravy which was served over the food. There may have been horseradish sauce too, I forgot to ask. 7/10

Veggie option - No, they were happy to serve the roast without meat or with a veggie burger though. 

Value for money - £8.95 seemed like a fair enough price. 5/10

Overall - On a day when we thought it was impossible to ever find somewhere in Norwich to go for a Sunday roast The Murderers made it happen for us. It was a lovely place to sit and eat and the staff were really friendly and helpful. The food was quite tasty but with so many great roasts being served across the city this one didn't really stand out from the crowd. 6.5/10


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Earlham Arms - Norwich

41 Earlham Road

Sunday roast served from 12pm till 8pm

Free wifi and dog friendly

In November 2014 I visited The Earlham Arms in Norwich for the first time and enjoyed a great breakfast, you can read about that here.

This was the reason for our visit, I'd heard good things about their Sunday roast.

It was fully booked but we were offered a place at the bar tables.

There didn't appear to be a Sunday roast menu anywhere so we asked what was available. Place your order and pay at the bar, the food is brought over when it's ready.

Salt and pepper is already on the table, cutlery wrapped in a napkin is brought over.

I went for my usual Sunday lunch tipple, a pint of Guinness.

Once the food arrives sauces are offered, we choose ketchup and apple sauce.

I chose roast pork and my wife went for nut roast.

I was delighted to see such a huge slab of pork!

I love crackling and this sight I will always remember, what a beautiful moment.

The thick slab of pork tasted amazing.

The Yorkshire pudding soaked up the rich tasty gravy nicely.

The large roast potatoes were delicious with a nice crispy edge.

A root veg selection consisting of swede, parsnips and carrots.

I nice big heap of kale.

My wife really enjoyed her nut roast but couldn't finish both wedges. I was more than happy to help her out though and thoroughly enjoyed it, certainly the best nut roast I've ever eaten.

It was Sunday morning and my wife suddenly mentioned going for a roast dinner somewhere, I was well up for it! We were torn between trying The Reindeer on Dereham Road or The Earlham Arms on Earlham Road, we decided to try the Earlham Arms first as we'd had a great breakfast their before...

Upon entering - The Earlham Arms has a large dining room as well as plenty of tables around the bar. There are also some bar tables with stools to sit at when they are fully booked, this is where we sat and it seemed like a good enough spot. There are menus on the table but there didn't appear to be a Sunday roast menu, if you ask at the bar they will tell you what is available. Place your order and pay at the bar, everything is brought over when it's ready. There's salt and pepper already on the table, sauces and cutlery are brought over before the food arrives. Free wifi is available and if you want to bring your dog along then no problem, it's dog friendly. A blackboard saying what's available and how much the Sunday roast costs would have been nice It was certainly  a great place to spend some time enjoying a pint or two and a nice roast dinner. 8/10

Service - There seemed to be plenty of staff about efficiently serving the full pub, everyone we spoke to seemed helpful and friendly too. When we first arrived we didn't think we would have a chance of eating here today as all the tables were booked. We were offered a place at the one of the bar tables though which we were happy to sit at. We were told to order at the bar when we were ready and also told what roasts were available. Once we'd placed our order and paid we sat down, the drinks arrived first shortly followed by cutlery and napkins. Despite it being really busy the food arrived about half an hour after ordering which was quite impressive, we were offered sauces which arrived in small pots. Our plates were cleared at the end and we left happy customers. 8/10

Type of roast - Ready served 

Meats available - Beef and pork 

Contents - Roast pork and crackling, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, kale, parsnips, swede, carrots and gravy. 7/10

Vegetable portions - I was delighted that everything arrives already served on the plate here. Three huge roast potatoes, a big heap of kale and a trio of root veg consisting of carrots, parsnips and swede. 7/10

Presentation - The food arrived on a nice big plate, the veg sat together on one side of the plate, in the centre the potatoes and across the other side the Yorkshire pudding. The thing that really caught my eye though was the giant slab of roast pork coated in crackling that lay across the top. It all looked really impressive and I had a feeling that I was about to eat something really special. 9/10

The food - The thick slab of roast pork was amazing, I felt like I was in hog roast heaven. The juicy meat fell apart with ease as I cut through it and it tasted superb. The thick crackling that coated the meat was equally as stunning. I had difficulty slicing through the crackling so ate it in quite large lumps, the conversation was limited between my wife and I as I chewed away on it but what a delicious moment it was. I've eaten roast pork many times before but eating roast pork at The Earlham Arms takes it to a new level! The make or break item of any roast dinner is a decent roast potato and the chef here had nailed it nicely. Really big and tasty roast potatoes with a soft fluffy centre and golden crispy edge, perfect. The Yorkshire pudding was a nice size with a fairly good texture, softer at the bottom and crunchy at the top. I really like kale so was delighted with the generous serving given here, really fresh and nicely cooked. The mix of root veg was delicious and complimented the rest of the meal nicely, carrots, swede and parsnips. I'm a big fan of parsnips, they're always welcome on my roast dinner anytime. This was a really enjoyable roast and one I will always remember because of that stunning chunk of pork. 9/10

Gravy and sauces - The gravy was dark, rich and delicious, it was already on the plate and it lasted until the last piece of pork swiped across the plate. I asked for some apple sauce which arrived in a pot, good stuff from what I remember. 8/10

Veggie option - Nut roast, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, kale, parsnips, swede, carrots and gravy. £9.95 

Value for money - An incredible roast dinner for just under £10, a price I was very happy to pay! 9/10

Overall - The chunky slabs of delicious pork served here was something I will fondly remember for a long time! The nut roast was the best I've ever tasted and the beef looked amazing too. A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday roast served in a nice environment with friendly and efficient staff.  The free wifi worked well and it was really nice to see dogs in the pub too. 8/10