Haggle, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘Surpassed expectations’
PUBLISHED: 10:07 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:16 02 November 2017
It’s been causing quite a stir but will the new Turkish eatery live up to expectation?
I know nothing about Turkish food. I’m undecided as to whether that fact makes me the best or worst judge of the newly-opened Haggle on St Benedict’s Street. It does mean that I took the food for what it was with no pre-conceptions, just a customer looking to enjoy some delicious food.
Initially we were baffled by what to order, but after a quick five minutes on Google things started to become clearer. If you are looking for a stereotypical kebab, you won’t find one; instead there’s an array of smaller tapas-style plates, filled flatbreads and larger meat dishes.
It was unclear how much to order, and we ended up with five dishes, which left us full enough, but we definitely could’ve squeezed more in.
Firstly we had the Barbunya Pilaki, borlotti beans in tomato and olive oil stew. I was shocked to take my first bite and find it was cold, stone cold. Intentional but nonetheless not what I expected. Once I adjusted to the temperature the flavours came through and it was stunningly flavoured. Smokey and garlicky the beans were cooked well and overall it had a quite a meaty smack about it. Next up was the Patlican Soslu, aubergine with oncu salca and garlic. Again, cold, it was pleasant, the aubergine mushy, not exceptional. The lighter use of spices favoured in some Turkish cuisine was definitely present here and while it did allow the dish to grow slowly with each bite and develop on the taste buds, it was still a little lacklustre.
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The hellim grilled halloumi cheese was smothered in balsamic vinegar and it worked extremely well with the chewy texture, giving it a nice kick. The halloumi also complemented the bean and aubergine dishes. The Sigara Boregi stole the show, rolled yufka pastrie with feta and parsley. The filo pastry was thin and crumbly, the feta cheese inside was luscious, creamy and smooth yet remained light and delicate with the parsley gently worked in. I was blown away by the little rolls! Finally we tried the Kiymali Pide, an oval flatbread stuffed with spicy lamb mince, I’m told it’s a Turkish take on pizza. The casing was like a calzone. It was warm, rich in onion and the meat was, surprise, surprise simply flavoured, although if you closed your eyes you could confuse it with eating a Cornish pasty.
You can’t get wine by the glass...which was more than a little irritating. We didn’t want a whole bottle between the two of us so I ended up having a cocktail called Trader Vic’s Grog - Dark Jamaican rum, lemon juice, pineapple juice, passion syrup and angostura bitters. It was sweet and heavy on the rum but didn’t stand out over any other rum-based cocktail. My boyfriend Dom had a Redchurch Bethnal Pale Ale, which at first wasn’t exceptional but did get better when mixed with the food! It was however pretty expensive at £4.50 for a teeny bottle.
Designed by Carol Lake from Carol Lake Studio at 91 on Upper St Giles Street in Norwich, the décor is outstanding across all four floors. It’s not surprising it’s garnered so much attention. I really liked the downstairs bar, and it’s a fantastic venue to spend an evening in. In terms of ambience, it was quite quiet on the Wednesday evening we visited and overall I felt it left something to be desired.
The waiter was friendly and knowledgeable about the food.
Smaller plates start from £4 and rise to £17 for the Tavuk Kanat – marinated chicken wings from Mangal.
Overall our bill came to around £45 which wasn’t as bad as we were expecting but definitely not great value either.
The toilets are unisex and opulent with floor to ceiling paintings on the walls.
St Andrew’s multi-storey is a short walk away.
Popping up on St Benedict’s Street, it’s among some of the best restaurants in Norwich.
You might laugh but it has to be the toilets, the grandeur of the whole thing made me feel
like I was on a novelty movie set.
Causing somewhat of a stir, Haggle has surpassed expectation. Dom was really impressed by the food. I think I need a little convincing but I’m excited about returning.
This is an independent review.
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