Elm Hill Brasserie, Norwich restuarant review

This month our food detective visits the Elm Hill Brasserie in Norwich which won one of the top honours in our recent EDP Food Awards. So, does it deserve the plaudits?

Reviewed: Elm Hill Brasserie, Elm Hill, Norwich, 01603 624847

 

This month our food detective visits the Elm Hill Brasserie in Norwich which won one of the top honours in our recent EDP Food Awards. So, does it deserve the plaudits?

The rather intimate Elm Hill Brasserie, which was opened back in 2004 by chef patron Simon Turner in one of the oldest parts of the city, stole the honours at this year’s Food Awards.So what’s your foodie detective to do but nip along sharpish. She is no stranger to this rather exclusive little bistro – where about 20 people at most can squeeze in – and knows that it offers classic French cuisine.

The interior isn’t going to win any prizes for comfort – it’s all little tables, stark walls, wooden floorboards and a very annoying icy blast if you’re near the door, like I was! I felt a bit over dressed in my posh frock, it’s more trendy than smart and prices do reflect this – the most expensive main course is �15, which is good going these days!The waiting staff reflects the rather fashionable vibe. Our chap was one of those confident young things who isn’t remotely submissive but was fairly rushed off his feet as the place was full, with tables coming and going during our two-hour stay.

Much emphasis is placed on local suppliers, which include a couple from Norwich market, and Simon often gives them a call to see what’s available before deciding his menu!The menu has some classic French dishes on offer such as bouillabaisse, fat frites, cr�me brulee, rustic p�t�s, tarte tatin and the house special – steak frites.

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There’s nowhere for a pre-dinner drink, so you sit straight down at your table – don’t be early as you might be turned away if the previous party hasn’t finished! The wine list is very pleasing – mainly French, of course.

I attacked a large glass of ros�, although could have easily had a glass of house champagne if I’d spotted it sooner! There is about six choices per course which is just about enough. I started with petatou which is basically a posh potato cake – a little mixture of black olives, potato and thyme with goats’ cheese on top. It disappeared embarrassingly quickly. Himself has developed a real passion for mussels since relocating to Nelson’s county so his decision was an easy one – and he asked for a spoon to mop up the lovely juices.For my main, I went for one of Simon’s signature steak dishes – rump steak in pepper sauce which was served with chips and a garlic dip – plus a bit of greenery. The steak was sublime, with a fair bit of fat kept on, just as the French love. I went for a side order of green beans, roasted almonds and shallot to up the veggie count, as it is always lacking in French cuisine.Himself appeared to be on some sort of health kick, sipping only fizzy mineral water all evening and going for a mushroom, onion and pecorino risotto which slipped down easily but was declared a bit bland.

He perked up, as always, at pudding time, and tucked into a chocolate brownie with gusto but didn’t care for the accompanying blueberry compote, while my cr�me brulee nearly finished me off. It was rich, rich, rich.

It’s seriously good cooking here, with great attention to detail. Dishes, which are all cooked to order so be ready for a wait, are beautifully presented and you can tell that a lot of love has been lavished on them. You can’t help but agree with their slogan – enjoy food, enjoy life!

What we ate

Petatou – moulded black olive, potato and thyme topped with grilled goats’ cheese – �6.Moules mariniere – �5.50.Mushroom, caramelised onion and pecorino risotto – �11.Rump steak with pepper sauce with salad and house confit garlic mayonnaise – �14.Chocolate brownie with blueberry compote and blueberry ice cream – �6.Classic cr�me brulee – �5.DrinksGlass of Marselan ros� – �4.75 for 250ml.Peppermint tea – �3.VerdictFood and drink – 8/10.Service – 8/10.Value for money – 9/10.

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