Pamela's Restaurant, food review: Instagram worthy plates with a mix of stand out and leave out dishes
PUBLISHED: 08:37 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:01 18 October 2019
It is rare a restaurant will peak my curiosity enough to leave my hometown of Norwich and travel 40 minutes by train on a cold January evening, but a foody friend assured me that Great Yarmouth favourite Pamela's would be worth the excursion.
The venue is not clearly signposted and on arrival guests have to knock on the unassuming front door on Wellington Road to be allowed access - very exclusive.
Inside we were seated at the bar and served Russian salad canapés and bar snacks involving a bowl of unseasoned popcorn and corn puff crisps similar to the ones you might find at a children's party - a bizarre start.
Once we had polished off the snack we were seated in the main dining room and presented with a pre-starter spread of various fancy breads and two types of butter - mushroom and truffle, and smoked celery salted - and a big bowl of juicy olives.
I'm not a bread fan and these particular loafs were on the stale side, but the butters were exquisitely presented and bursting with smoky, salty, spicy flavour.
My date and I had already decided we would share everything and for our first course picked the Thai fish cakes with sautéed spinach and sweet chilli sauce and the wild mushroom open ravioli with Chablis and cream wine sauce, white truffle oil and pecorino cheese.
The fish cake was startlingly large and the dots of sweet chilli sauce were nowhere near enough to moisten its dry texture but the mushroom ravioli was outstanding - a rich, silky sauce which was mellow and mushroomy, tender sheets of pasta and nutty pecorino.
The sauce was so good we even went back to our bread basket to sop up the leftovers.
For mains we ordered the orange glazed monkfish with curried puy lentils, and the Roasted butternut squash with goat's cheese and caramelised pumpkin seed crunch.
As with the starters, the mains were a mixed bag.
The monkfish was perfectly tender and fleshy, but what it boasted in texture it missed in flavour, with no hint of orange and curried lentils so mild they might as well not have bothered.
The butternut squash was a real show stopper - melt in the mouth, perfectly seasoned squash, smooth, tangy goats cheese and crunchy caramel shards of pumpkin seed provided a complex and perfectly executed texture experience.
Despite the trendily lean portion sizes I was stuffed by the time I'd polished off my main, but in pursuit of writing a full review we gallantly ordered desert.
I picked the date and pecan sticky toffee pudding with banana custard, which although hit the spot in terms of stickiness and date flavour, was on the stodgy side and lacked the nutty pecan flavour I was hoping for.
My date ordered the Ferrero Rocher cheesecake, served encased in a chocolate and hazelnut shell, which once broken revealed a generous portion of whipped, velvety chocolate lusciousness which pitched the balance between sweet, creamy and tangy just right.
When you first arrive you spend some time in the cocktail bar which has a swanky club feel to it with icy blue lights, polished brass and velvet sofas.
Upstairs the main dining room is an exposed brick and wooden beams affair with soft lighting and crisp white table cloths.
Pamela's have perfected the art of making the eating area seem full without feeling like you're sharing a table with your neighbour.
Our waiters were knowledgeable about every dish, friendly without being pushy and my date and I agreed, the highlight of the whole experience.
The cocktail menu made up for a lack of innovation with well executed classics, with an extensive wine menu and various coffees also on offer.
We opted for Daisy Dukes, a champagne based short with Bourbon and Cointreau, which were sharp and neatly presented.
The dining room is up a fairly steep set of carpeted stairs and there was plenty of space to manoeuvre for those with mobility issues.
There is no wallpaper and there are four toilets in total, with 2 for each gender.
The restaurant offers complementary parking for 17 cars.
£45 for three courses plus lots of extras included. Cocktails start at £7 which seemed more than fair for the quality.
The staff - they made us feel like the only guests in the place and when I told them I was celebrating an engagement even brought out a specially decorated congratulations plate.
Pamela's had a few superstar dishes but I felt the hefty price tag should have ensured the same quality across the menu. If you're looking for a novel, instagram-able night out with friends and aren't expecting to be blown away by the food you won't be disappointed and the staff certainly make the night something special.
This is an independent review.