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Food review: The Surrey Bar & Kitchen in Norwich has potential

PUBLISHED: 11:45 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:56 18 April 2018

Caesar salad and ciabatta at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.

Caesar salad and ciabatta at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.

Archant

It’s had several months to establish itself, but how will we rate The Surrey?

Vegan flatbread with goats' cheese at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.Vegan flatbread with goats' cheese at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.

Food

The Surrey Bar & Kitchen popped up in place of The Surrey Tavern in December last year. Since then I’ve visited twice, once for pleasure and once for work, i.e. to do this review. To celebrate the end of the working week, last Friday my colleague Dani and I wandered over.

The Surrey bar & kitchen has opened in the former home of the Surrey Tavern. Photo: Courtney PochinThe Surrey bar & kitchen has opened in the former home of the Surrey Tavern. Photo: Courtney Pochin

One of the best things about this place is the mix of food and alcohol. It’s a cool bar mixed with a rich menu of casual lunchtime bites.

Dani – after much deliberation – went for the Caeser salad with salmon. She asked if she could get some bread or a plain flatbread on the side to accompany it and a toasted ciabatta was offered in return – so far, so good. The salad was made of really crisp lettuce, topped with a decent Caesar dressing and lovely anchovies. The salmon was an extremely generous portion of fresh, succulent fish but lacked seasoning. As the main element it should’ve been lifting the dish overall but instead it was a bit mediocre and bland. The real disappointment came in the large scattering of unbilled crayfish tails within the salad – Dani doesn’t like crayfish and would not have ordered a dish with crayfish.

As a strong supporter of all elements of a dish actually being listed on the menu, I understand the frustration. After disapprovingly scooping them all out of the salad, she was further let down by the ciabatta which was unfortunately a little dry.

I had the vegan flatbread and added goats’ cheese to it (yes, I know that’s not vegan, shh!). The extra crispy flatbreads are huge and can easily be shared between two or taken away for later. Mine had a pesto base, Mediterranean vegetables, spinach, olives and sun-blushed tomatoes. The flavours are fantastic; it’s a solid combination of my favourites. The Med veg wasn’t exactly what I expected with small - possibly pre-bought frozen - chunks of peppers and red onion. While Google doesn’t seem to have a clear-cut answer on what constitutes ‘Mediterranean vegetables’, I was envisaging courgettes and aubergines and a quick office poll confirmed my thoughts. Despite this, it was still enjoyable and a very satisfying midday pick-me-up, there’s just perhaps a few small kinks to iron out.

Vegan flatbread with added goats' cheese at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.Vegan flatbread with added goats' cheese at Surrey kitchen. Photo: Emily Revell.

Similarly, Dani says she wouldn’t order the Caeser salad again but really liked it as a place and would go back for something else. On another note, The Surrey’s banana bread is the best I’ve ever tasted – and I’ve tasted a lot of banana bread!

Drink

There’s lots of alcohol and a really great selection of soft drinks too. We were suitably impressed. I had a lime and soda and Dani a non-alcoholic ginger beer. We did however have a long wait on the drinks. The place wasn’t that busy, and we still didn’t have our drinks when the food arrived. We asked the waitress and she apologised profusely before bringing them straight over.

Ambiance

The decoration is very modern with lots of dark grey and wood. It has a relaxed, almost cosy vibe but is very light inside. The tables are all really well separated and all in all I really liked being in there.

Accessibility

The entrance doorways are quite narrow.

Parking

The closest parking would likely be John Lewis.

Location

Slightly off the beaten track, unless you work on or around Surrey Street or frequent Norwich Bus Station, you’re unlikely to just pass it.

But I think it’s worth the trip.

Loos

Very nice! Modern and fresh in design and clean.

Price

Sarnies, flatbreads and salads were between £6.95 and £10.95, averaging out around £8 or £9. All five flatbreads on the menu are £9 which considering the portion size I felt was decent enough value.

Service

Both times I’ve been, it’s been service with a smile. They are friendly and very accommodating.

In Summary

The Surrey is a great little place, it has so much potential and with a few tweaks it would definitely be a firm favourite. I’d like to try the other dishes on the menu, so I’ll certainly continue to visit. I’d like to pop in to try breakfast.

This is an independent review

Read more EDP food reviews.

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