We woke up late on a lazy, sunny Saturday and decided to try out a local restaurant in Norwich that we had been meaning to get to for some time. Ideally located on the trendy St Benedict’s Street, the restaurant is comfortably nestled amongst other restaurants, cocktail bars, art centres and vinyl shops. The pink neon sign brings some of the civilised, industrial decor out onto this old street, and is a fitting logo, as this restaurant is full of contradictions.
The decor, atmosphere and service.
The decor is decidedly youthful in its appeal, bringing together a semi-finished industrial shell with quite tasteful furniture and furnishings. The result is certainly relaxed, but the mixture of suede effect chair cushions, exposed concrete ceiling and sparkling, varnished chip board floor is rather self-conscious. This professional, yet relaxed theme extends to the tableware. The glasses were clean and functional, as were the cutlery, but the crockery displayed deliberate imperfections, which presumably were meant to be taken as virtues. This is of course a matter of taste, but this was a slightly unnerving aspect of the experience, as it was not at all clear whether the chip on the bread plate was added before or after glaze was applied. For some this will be something they never even notice, but we find it is the care for the details which often elevate the experience. The tableware was not careless. Still, being given seemingly deliberately chipped plates almost felt like an excuse offered in advance.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was pleasant. If there was music playing it was not irritating enough for us to recall it being there. The large windows looking onto the street give a bright ambience and the road outside was unobtrusive. There is an open kitchen format, with a large service window through which we could observe the pass and the three busy cooks running around tirelessly to serve the sixty-seater establishment, which was assuringly full for a Saturday lunchtime.
The servers maintained the carefully laid back theme, with black casual clothing and trainers. They were uni-formally polite and attentive, without being overbearing. They had some knowledge of the menu, though not comprehensive, but were happy to take questions to the cooks when they did not know the answer.