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The Last Wine Bar, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘Some of the best food you’ll find in Norwich’

PUBLISHED: 18:30 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 19:20 22 June 2017

The Last Wine Bar, Norwich: Roasted lamb rump with sweetbread, potato gratin, asparagus, peas and rosemary jus. Photo: Emily Revell

The Last Wine Bar, Norwich: Roasted lamb rump with sweetbread, potato gratin, asparagus, peas and rosemary jus. Photo: Emily Revell

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Will one of Norwich’s top restaurants be all it’s cracked up to be?

The Last Wine Bar is celebrating it's 25th Birthday. Picture: Supplied The Last Wine Bar is celebrating it's 25th Birthday. Picture: Supplied

Food

The Last Wine Bar has multiple seating areas, previously I’d eaten in the ground floor restaurant. Adorned with white linen tablecloths it can be enough to send some running but despite appearances it’s a very relaxed and informal setting. Upon arriving this time we were seated in the bar area, which does have a certain je ne sais quoi about it, teetering somewhere between edgy and mature.

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Our starters were wild garlic and goats’ cheese arancini with pea puree and pea shoots. The arancini was well balanced and crisp, everything you’d expect but nothing out of the ordinary. For me, the pea puree was too minty and overpowered the whole dish, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment but I wouldn’t be clawing at the walls to have it again. My other half had a similar experience with salt cod croquettes and squid ink aioli. He was less than impressed with cod that tasted flavourless, perhaps because the squid ink aioli was the distinguishable taste and one he wasn’t keen on. The quality and technically execution of both starters was exceptional, sadly for us they just weren’t tingling our taste buds.

The mains on the other hand were perfection. Roasted lamb rump with sweetbread, potato gratin, asparagus, peas and rosemary jus was unfaultable. The flavours and textures were seamless, merging together to melt in the mouth and pack a punch to the palate. The lamb was the best we’ve ever tasted, with the only slight disappointment being only one small sweetbread, and it would’ve been nice to have had more.

The Last Wine Bar, Norwich: Parmesan gnocchi and spring vegetables with pea veloute. Photo: Emily Revell The Last Wine Bar, Norwich: Parmesan gnocchi and spring vegetables with pea veloute. Photo: Emily Revell

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Our second main course was Parmesan gnocchi and spring vegetables with pea veloute (The Last Wine Bar definitely seems to be a fan of peas at the moment.) The gnocchi was stodgy and sticky. While the texture may be attributed to the cheese, it wasn’t too strong, only teasing a hint of Parmesan. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and I’m happy to report the pea veloute wasn’t minty or overwhelming, if anything it was unidentifiable as ‘pea’, flawlessly fulfilling it’s role as a sauce. The whole dish was delicate. It would be nice to have a vegetarian starter and main on the a la carte menu that showed slightly more innovation as both use peas as a central component.

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Drinks

The wine list is of a high calibre as are the beers and spirits. I enjoyed a 2015 Sauvignon de Touraine “Les Croix des Champs” which was fresh and crisp, ideal for a summer’s evening and at £4.25 for a small glass, it wasn’t extortionate.

Ambience

The Last Wine Bar, Norwich. Salt Cod Croquettes with squid ink aioli. Photo: Emily Revell The Last Wine Bar, Norwich. Salt Cod Croquettes with squid ink aioli. Photo: Emily Revell

As previously mentioned, there are three different seating areas and a new outdoor terrace. Whichever area you choose, The Last Wine Bar is classy and elegant throughout. It’s worth specifying where you want to sit when booking to ensure you won’t be disappointed.

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Loos

Hidden downstairs in the basement, they are attractive and clean.

Parking

The Last Wine Bar, Norwich. wild garlic and goats cheese arancini with pea puree and pea shoots. Photo: Emily Revell The Last Wine Bar, Norwich. wild garlic and goats cheese arancini with pea puree and pea shoots. Photo: Emily Revell

St Andrew’s multi-storey carpark isn’t far, neither is Monastery Court carpark although realistically it’s easy walking distance from any of the city centre car parks.

Location

Situated on St George’s Street, just down from The Playhouse Theatre, The Last Wine Bar is just on the edge of Norwich’s nightlife hub.

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Price

This place is at the high end of affordable and worth it for a special occasion. The lamb rump was £18.95 and the gnocchi £15.95.

Highlight

It does have to be the food, the menu changes regularly but I have always thought The Last Wine Bar serves up some of the best food you’ll find in Norwich. Although we weren’t that enthused by the starters, I have to stand by that conviction as the mains were out of this world.

In Summary

The Last Wine Bar is impeccable at conjuring up an atmosphere and top notch food that’s ideal for celebrating and bringing that little bit of little luxury to dining out.

This is an independent review.

To see all of our food reviews click here.

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