B’nou, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘An evening with a feeling of showmanship and intimacy’

Cod fillet with new potatoes, salsa verde, and bacon at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Cod fillet with new potatoes, salsa verde, and bacon at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

It is one of the most difficult restaurants in Norwich to bag a reservation at, but Geraldine Scott managed to book a table at B'nou to find out exactly what the fuss is all about.

Chorizo with black treacle beans at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Chorizo with black treacle beans at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

Food

It is one of the most difficult restaurants in Norwich to bag a reservation at, but Geraldine Scott managed to book a table at B'nou to find out exactly what the fuss is all about.

Food

I'm the first to admit it takes me an age to choose where I want to go out to eat, so I usually resort to looking online to find out what other people have enjoyed. And so for more than a year I've been trying to get a table at the restaurant found at the top of Tripadvisor for Norwich - B'nou.

Halloumi baked in harissa with a pine nut cous cous at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Halloumi baked in harissa with a pine nut cous cous at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott


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It is unsurprisingly difficult to get a spot at the top-rated eatery where there is no menu, and the tapas dishes are presented to you at the table where you decide whether you will have a taste or not.

My colleague Jess and I - naturally - took on every plate, purely in the name of journalism of course.

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First up, we were served bruschetta with Mediterranean roasted vegetables topped with Parmesan. Although not your normal bruschetta this was a little disappointing as a first dish, when we had expected great things. It was perfectly tasty and the vegetables did give it a difference, but we were hopeful the food would get a little more creative as the evening went on.

Our second dish, smoked mackerel with pickled beetroot, watercress and horseradish delivered just that - as did the next, halloumi baked in harissa with a pine nut cous cous. Both although containing familiar ingredients brought them together in a way which had a different taste.

Lamb with aubergine, olives, and chickpeas topped with almonds at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Lamb with aubergine, olives, and chickpeas topped with almonds at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

The cod fillet, chorizo and black treacle beans and beef meatballs which followed were tasty - but again almost expected from a tapas restaurant, we were hoping the dishes would set themselves apart.

Originality came in the final three dishes - filo parcels filled with chicken and apricot, prawns in a spicy chilli garlic butter, and lamb with aubergine, olives, and chickpeas topped with almonds.

The filo parcels were rich and creamy with the apricot giving a welcome sweet tang. Whilst the prawns were plump and juicy. The lamb was delicious and tender, although possibly a little heavy for the final savoury course.

A choice was given for dessert, I had the raspberry and mascarpone tart and Jess had the lemon panna cotta. Both were light - which was needed after nine courses beforehand.

Smoked mackeral with pickled beetroot, watercress, and horseradish at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Smoked mackeral with pickled beetroot, watercress, and horseradish at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

Overall, the food was delicious but some of it didn't live up to the expectation of being something a little different. I enjoyed the concept of having each dish presented to you, to decide whether you liked it or not. Jess, however, would have preferred a traditional menu.

Drinks

The drinks menu was pretty standard, but because we did not know what food was coming it was a little difficult to choose which wine we would have.

Ambience

Lemon panna cotta at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Lemon panna cotta at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

It was the atmosphere of B'nou which I think was the takeaway star. Because there is only one sitting an evening there was a feeling of showmanship, and an intimacy which came with all being in for the same ride together. The quirky decor of the restaurant - combined with it only having a handful of tables - made it a different dining experience which I'd be pleased to enjoy again.

Service

Friendly, welcoming, chatty - what you would expect from a Norwich independent.

Loos

Lemon panna cotta at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Lemon panna cotta at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

Just the one, but basic and clean.

Parking

Located on St Benedicts, you'd be lucky to grab a spot outside but there are a number of car parks in the city centre to make use of.

Location

Raspberry and mascarpone tart at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Raspberry and mascarpone tart at B'nou. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

B'nou is surrounded by a number of highly acclaimed restaurants, as St Benedicts cements its reputation as a foodie paradise.

Price

For nine dishes, plus a dessert each and a mid-range bottle of wine, £80.

Highlight

The out of the ordinary dishes were where it came alive, the filo parcels and the prawns especially. They fit with the Bohemian and intimate feel of a different type of night out.

In summary

We went wanting something different - and that on the whole is what we got. Imaginative food brought the alternative approach to serving into its own. I'd recommend giving it a try - if you can get a table.

This is an independent review.

For more food reviews, click here.

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