Over the past seven years, I’ve reviewed restaurants in the area, from new openings to beloved classics.
As they say, however, all good things come to an end, and as I move into a new chapter, it’s time to write my final review.
I debated a poetic ending (revisiting my first review, Norwich’s Blue Joanna, was an idea) but those notions were dashed when I heard of Norwich Smokehouse.
Having opened in North Norwich last week, the Smokehouse prepares low, slowly smoked meats, finished either in a Bertha wood and charcoal oven or on a charcoal Mangal grill.
Channeling the flavors of South America – inspired by the travels of owner Andy Davis – the menu is bursting with smoke and spice.
We ordered on a quiet Sunday afternoon – they’re only take out, either pickup or delivery – after spending a good 30 minutes fine-tuning our order.
I headed for the brulee on the specialty menu, chunks of beef brisket glazed in his house sauce (either served in a pan for Â£ 8.50, which we chose, or Cuban bread for 12.50 Â£), smoky barbecue nuggets with crunch, charred edges and tender meat.
The smokehouse offers plates – which come with bread and two sides – and meat on the bone or by the kilo that, in the name of variety, we have chosen.
Our two St Louis BBQ pork belly ribs (Â£ 4.50 each) were huge, plump and tender. The chorizo ââLinguica – Latin style pork sausage – (Â£ 2.95 for two, they recommend two per person, but if you try a few dishes one will do) was spicy, garlic and charred.
The 36 Hour Smoked Breast (we had 300g, about 10 slices – that’s Â£ 4.50 per 100g) was my favorite, however. Norfolk Angus brisket, rubbed in house spices and smoky, it was tender with a flavorful rind and a ring of pink smoke – a sign of excellent low, slow cooking.
Two jars of the accompanying rich, smoky and shiny gravy were perfect for dipping.
On the side (we had plenty of leftovers – this order was probably enough for four) we opted for Norfolk’s Baron Bigod based macaroni and cheese (Â£ 7.95), which were lighter and fresher than the rest. varieties – with such a rich meal that was welcome, but it may divide mac and cheese fans.
The steaming wings, in a sweet barbecue sauce – you can also choose honey mustard or Frank’s buffalo – were large, crisp (despite delivery) and sticky (Â£ 6.95 for four).
There were also chunky chopped crisps – crispy, chewy on the inside despite their size and incredibly tasty, especially with the sauce – and barbeque pinto beans for Â£ 3.50 – nice but not my highlight – as well as the citrus rice (Â£ 3.50), which definitely delivered on the description.
A jar of chimichurri sauce (Â£ 1.95) was dazzlingly fresh with its expected sour flavor. He cut through the fatty pork in particular.
The sauce menu deserves a mention – while there is the barbecue and honey mustard, there is also the pico de gallo, the ranch, the special sauce with the mysterious name, the pineapple compote and the apple au coal. All are Â£ 1.95 on the website, although our receipt says Â£ 2 for the chimichurri.
These are desserts on the menu, including a baked cheesecake for Â£ 4.50, but we had decided to stock up on savory.
Some sides (eg rice and beans) were pricey, but the meat was really reasonable for the portion size. For all of the above we paid Â£ 64 which, considering the quantity and quality, was good value for money.
The menu offers gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options. There are choices for everyone, although of course it’s a smokehouse so those who don’t eat meat will be more limited.
There are a handful of soft drinks on the menu.
Friendly – the woman on the phone was very helpful, our delivery was quick and the driver remembered a request we made over the phone. The restaurant delivers within four miles of its smokehouse kitchen, north of downtown.
Something different for the Norwich restaurant scene – great flavors, an exciting menu and great meat. I think it will become very popular over the next few weeks, so barbecue and meat lovers might be wise to get started early.
Norwich Smokehouse, 6 Aylsham Crescent, NR3 2RZ. 01603 474747
If you like it, try these
Ormebsy Smokehouse, Ormesby – A Southern-style American restaurant open since 2018, the Ormesby Smokehouse is very popular in Norfolk.
Smokehouse Station, Hoveton – Perched on the train tracks in Hoveton and Wroxham, the Smokehouse offers a menu bursting with smoked meat, and the team recently opened the nearby Fizz and Fromage restaurant.
Liquor and Loaded, King’s Lynn – Liquor and Loaded offers loaded fries, nachos, meat platters, hot dogs, burgers, and a meatless menu.
Norwich Smokehouse: Fact Sheet
The Smokehouse opened this month – but its route to do so had not been without problems.
It originally opened in October, but was forced to close less than a week later due to construction issues.
Owner Andy Davis spent the next few weeks fixing issues like electricity and exhaust fans and was finally able to open – permanently – in December.
Mr. Davis has been running Take Thai at Dereham Road for the past seven years, with his take-out dishes inspired by trips to Thailand in South America.
The meats are all locally sourced, with Swannington Farm to Fork being the main supplier.
Our food critics are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on his experience of the place during his visit. The property is not aware of our visit, is not informed of our intention to write a review, and invoices are paid by the reviewer. The choice of locations reviewed is also independent and is not based on locations that do or do not advertise in our publications.