Review: Roast dinners fit for a king plus great burgers at Norwich's Unthank Arms
PUBLISHED: 15:06 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:06 27 March 2019
Epic Sunday roasts and great burgers at a beautiful Golden Triangle pub impressed Nick Richards at Norwich's Unthank Arms
I moved to Unthank Road when I was three months old – number 203, on the corner of Glebe Road. The gate that still stands there now was built by my dad 40 years ago. My family and friends have lived in a dozen streets off Unthank Road yet, to my shame, I’d never set foot inside The Unthank Arms until last week.
It’s a real Tardis of a pub, with its dominant position on the corner of Newmarket Street and Bury Street. I love a corner pub. Always feels like stepping off Albert Square and walking into the Queen Vic for a swift half.
It’s the sort of pub that if I lived nearby I would delight in proclaiming as my local. I would spend a lot of time there.
Walking through the bar with my wife and children we were guided upstairs to a pleasant, light and airy room with wooden floors and a small bar in the corner. It was a nice vibe on a Sunday lunch with Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car pumping through the speakers.
As I embarrassed my son by reciting all the lyrics, a waitress delivered a jug of cold water and then her colleague placed a plate of brown bread laced with fennel and poppy seeds on our table along with a dish of olive oil.
All very welcoming.
The menu is extensive – starters including mackerel, mussels, duck and pigeon dishes and a 12-dish main course menu with everything from pork medallions (£12.75), leg of lamb (£13.95), fish pie (£13.50) and some good veggie options from teriyaki jack fruit (£11.95) to a delicious-sounding chickpea burger with a mango mayonnaise (£11.25).
I think a good test of any new place is to try their burger. I figure if they can get that right, the rest of the menu is probably pretty good and I can happily report that the ‘Classic Homemade Unthank Burger’ (£12.95) was a real cracker.
A nice juicy burger which was perfectly cooked in a toasted sesame brioche bun accompanied by a big slice of gherkin, tomato, punchy onion and a lively creamy mayonnaise made it a real treat. It came with fries which, for me, were a real let down as they were pale and uninteresting – the sort of thing a burger chain would serve up. I’d love to have had a bowl of nice big chunky wedges, maybe an onion ring thrown in too for a bit of variety. By all means order the burgers here –they’re great – but maybe try and switch to wedges instead.
I didn’t care for the chips but opposite me, my oldest son, six, devoured his and most of mine. He’d ordered the fish and chips (£5.50) from a nice little children’s menu that also includes sausage, beans and chips (£5) and a quarter-pound cheeseburger (£5.95). I thought the prices here were excellent and, having traded most of my chips for a bit of his fish, I can confirm the fish was lovely.
Being Sunday lunchtime there were a lot of families here and that was good to see. It’s clearly the sort of place you would bring your family for a roast and while myself and my son were embroiled in a lengthy discussion about whether the chips were good or not, my wife and youngest son, three, both ordered the roast.
Yes, despite serving up a big menu (plus you can get breakfast served between 10am-5pm on a Sunday), there is also a roast menu. The children’s roast (£5.95) was too much for a three year old but he made a good effort – it’s probably perfect for an 8-12 year old.
The adult’s roast was vast – they’re priced slightly differently – pork, chicken and the nut roast are £10.95, while Swannington Farm to Fork Beef is £12.50.
My wife ordered this and it was colossal in size, served with carrots, braised red cabbage, smashes swede, roast potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding and smothered in gravy. The verdict? Generally good, certainly enough food and definitely good value. She said the beef was a tad dry and our son’s chicken from the children’s roast was much tastier. The potatoes were her highlight.
For those who like a huge roast, there is another option on the menu called ‘All The Meats’.
For £17.95 you’ll get beef, pork and chicken plus extra potatoes and another Yorkshire pudding. We saw one being delivered to the table next to us and it was truly gargantuan.
If you have room for dessert, there is a small pudding menu, everything is priced between £5.50 and £6 apart from ice cream (£4.50) and a cheese selection (£6.95). While the kids played with the salt and pepper pots and tried to spill as much water on the table as they could, I had a very enjoyable triple chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (£5.50) which was wonderfully indulgent and gooey and topped with small bits of freeze-dried raspberry.
My wife opted for the Caribbean spiced pineapple (£5.75) which looked, good, had a welcoming aroma of cinnamon but seemed to be lacking in the toasted coconut it was billed to have.
The desserts were fine, but nothing out of this world.
On the corner of Newmarket Street and Bury Street in Norwich. Handy if you live in the Golden Triangle but also a minute off Newmarket Road if you’re travelling in or out of the city.
This is where the Unthank Arms wins for me. Upstairs is a lovely bright room with wooden floors and plenty of space. It doesn’t really feel like eating in a pub, more like a hip restaurant.
Quick and attentive on a busy Sunday. Having a small bar upstairs really helps as the drinks are served quickly and the there wasn’t a very long wait for the food.
It’s a pub so anything goes! The upstairs bar has beers such as Guinness, Birra Moretti and Amstel on tap.
There’s a ramp up to the front door so it’s easy for wheelchairs and pushchairs to get in – but the restaurant upstairs is up a steep and fairly small set of stairs. There is plenty of dining space downstairs too.
Upstairs they are clean and tidy – they’re right at the top of the building which makes for great views over the city on your way up – the kids loved looking out of the skylight!
We parked on Newmarket Street as it was a Sunday but there is a large off road car park with plenty of parking.
Our bill came to £60.05 for two adult meals, two children’s meals, two soft drinks (£1.30), a beer (£4.90), a glass of wine (£4.40) and two desserts.
The burger was a pleasure on the palate.
Relaxed dining in the heart of the Golden Triangle. Perfect spot for a family lunch.