Step into Christmas with a massive festive burger at this surprisingly good Riverside restaurant in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 14:10 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 10 December 2019
Get into the festive spirit in Norwich with a Christmas burger at Fatso's which, as Nick Richards discovered, makes for a great family dining experience
Iwan Roberts and Craig Bellamy were banging in the goals for Norwich City the last time I went to Fatso's. It was on Prince Of Wales Road then and would have been in 1999 when a juicy burger was a nice distraction from the impending potential disaster of the Millennium Bug.
Then, as now, I love a good burger and Norwich has always been well served in this department - from my childhood trips to Captain America's on Exchange Street, the now closed Steers on the corner of Dove Street/Lobster Lane to perennial favourite Zaks where I can happily report I have been a regular visitor over the last decade.
So what about Fatso's? If you can get past the unhealthy name and the weird Al Capone cartoon logo sporting a machine gun, it's actually a really good place for a meal in Norwich's Riverside. Inside it's a big open-planned space with plenty of booths and tables, an open kitchen to one side and a huge bar. Stevie Wonder's Superstition was playing as we took our seats on a Saturday lunchtime. The place was empty but within an hour was packed.
The booths are great - loads of space, a huge table and, compared to similar burger-based restaurants, it has very comfortable seats which was perhaps one of the reasons that we managed to spend one hour and 30 minutes here.
Like the tables, the menus are truly vast. With a big catchment of football fans, cinema goers, day trippers, families and canoodling couples taking selfies as they dine, there needs to be a wide menu and Fatso's certainly doesn't disappoint.
There are around 20 appetisers from chicken wings to popcorn shrimp and main courses ranging from sandwiches to steaks to fajitas, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, and burgers.
The current stars of the show at Fatso's, however, are their range of festive burgers. Seven imaginative creations in all from the Stuffed Stocking Burger (£11.95) to the Christmas Chicken Burger (£12.45) to Blitzen's Brie Burger (£11.35) and my choice, the Merry Porkmas Burger (£12.45).
I really enjoyed it - a big bap with a hearty, meaty patty topped with cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce and a large dollop of barbecued pulled pork with two pigs in blankets stuck in the top on a cocktail stick and some coleslaw on the side.
It was extremely satisfying to eat and felt great to pick up and demolish. I can't be done with a knife and fork when there's a burger to chow down on so I gave it the full messy-fingered face munch and ended up with that lovely barbecue sauce smile across my chops. Burgers come with a choice of wedges (my selection), regular fries, curly fries or a jacket potato. Both the burger and wedges were really good and I was pleased with my potato choice as I get a bit bored eating endless spindly fries laden with salt. I also ordered a side of onion rings (£3.95) which were big and tasty.
My wife went for something a little different - a pulled pork burrito (£12.65) which came with sour cream, salsa, spicy rice and small salad. The burrito had the same pulled pork as my burger but was smaller than expected, but well received.
The rice, which was laced with peppers and jalapenos, was extremely hot to the extent it was overpowering.
Despite the meat-heavy menu, vegans and veggies aren't forgotten - there's a vegetarian chilli, vegetable fajitas, nut burger and even a Festive Vegan Burger which is topped with fried mushrooms and salad.
Children are well catered for too, with a £6.95 main course and dessert option for under-11s. My boys had a jumbo hot dog and fries and a cheeseburger and fries respectively, other options are barbecue ribs, pizza, fish fingers, a fajita wrap, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese bites.
Their food was good value especially with the dessert - a DIY sundae with ice cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallows and chocolate buttons. Children's drinks aren't included in the meal deal but you can get a milkshake for £1.99 or my youngest son's beverage of choice while out on tour - a glass of milk for £1.60.
The regular dessert menu is a vast and unhealthy selection of the usual suspects with waffles, cheesecake, brownies and sundaes galore. I can't say this is my area of expertise but I did order a Fairground Popping Candy Sundae (£4.95) which was laden with cream, ice cream, strawberry sauce, marshmallows, popcorn and popping candy. As expected it was extremely sweet but for an ice cream fan, Fatso's certainly wouldn't disappoint.
HOW DOES IT MEASURE UP?
Riverside in Norwich, just a short walk from the train station, Riverside shops or the cinema. There is a second restaurant on Salhouse Road in Sprowston.
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Open, airy restaurant with a loose 1920s/30s American mobster theme.
Quick and attentive
Drinks wise, there are two draught beers on tap (Maltsmiths IPA and Amstel) a big range of bottled beers and ciders (some non-alcoholic), soft drinks, floats, milkshakes, alcoholic milkshakes, hardshakes, freakshakes, plus red and white wines, cocktails, frozen cocktails, mocktails and even champagne. I had a pint of Amstel (£4.60) and my wife ordered a glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (£5.95)
A long walk along a picture-heavy corridor. Nice and clean.
Plenty of options at Riverside or Rose Lane
£62.04 for two adult meals, one dessert, two children's menu combos and four drinks. About right for this kind of place.
Burger was really enjoyable and that festive burger menu needs further exploration.
It's Riverside and it's the restaurant world's version of fast food but Fatso's is genuinely a nice place to eat. It's not cramped, the booths are comfortable and although it's not fine dining or a hip and happening artisan eaterie, for what it is, it's fine. If you are in the area this Christmas, especially with a family, I doubt you'll leave disappointed.
Our reviews are conducted without a restaurant's prior knowledge and are an independent account of our visit