Farmyard, Norwich, restaurant review: “I wasn’t overly convinced this contemporary bistro would be all it’s cracked up to be - I was wrong”

The exterior of Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

The exterior of Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

My new favourite place to eat, on a historic city street.

Menu and wine at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

Menu and wine at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

Interior/Atmosphere

Originally, I planned to send one of my colleagues to try Farmyard out but after walking past one evening, the sleek interior of the place drew me in.

It wouldn't be out of place on the streets of London, it feels swanky and luxurious, something a bit special.

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Goats cheese and olive bonbons at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

Goats cheese and olive bonbons at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

To start we ordered the goat's cheese and olive bonbons – green olives filled with goat's cheese fried in a crumb. I was concerned they'd be too heavy on the goat's cheese but the olive-to-cheese ratio was just right.

It's an ideal and unusual snack to enjoy over a glass of wine while you peruse the menu. For mains, we decided on the spelt and wild leek 'risotto' with chargrilled leek and the dry-aged collar of black pork, medlar jelly and russet apples.

The spelt 'risotto' tasted light, clean and fresh. The spelt was flawlessly cooked, not too chewy or hard. The flavours were not overpowering but subtly measured, in truth, had I not have known 'leek' probably wouldn't have immediately sprung to mind. But the chargrilled leek itself was exceptional.

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I didn't know it was possible a leek could taste that good; it melted in the mouth and the charred undertones were delectable.

Inside Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

Inside Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

The pork was also impeccable. The jam and apple complemented splendidly, creating a posh take on sweet and sour.

This week unenthusiastic boyfriend actually said, and I quote, 'it was perfect' giving it an eight and a half out of 10. Why not a 10, if it was perfect? The answer, you can't expect miracles and coming from a guy that averages a three, this was monumental feedback.

One slight criticism would be our side dish of roast butternut squash, which was pleasant but I didn't enjoy the melted cheese on top. It wasn't quite as wonderful when compared to other the dishes we had.

We couldn't pass on the duck-fat chips which came with a mustard mayonnaise – ideally balanced and refreshingly cutting, although, at the risk of stating the obvious, if you aren't a mustard fan it's definitely not for you.

The spelt & wild leek �risotto�, with chargrilled leek and the dry-aged collar of black pork, medlar

The spelt & wild leek �risotto�, with chargrilled leek and the dry-aged collar of black pork, medlar jelly and russet apples in the background.Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

We passed on dessert as none of them jumped out at us, but that's down to personal taste.

Drink

I had a glass of the Taringi Sauvignon Blanc, which was truly gorgeous. Light fresh and sweet with gooseberry notes, so good I've ordered some bottles. We also tried the Cal y Canto Tempranillo Blend, a smooth red, which was also very palatable.

The view of the kitchen at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

The view of the kitchen at Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell - Credit: Emily Revell

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Service

I can't fault it. Our waitress was chatty and sweet. The speed of service is leisurely but with the lovely atmosphere it only added to the experience making it feel lavish in some way.

Loos

There's only one toilet per gender, which caused significant distress to my boyfriend who had to wait a little longer than men are used too, they had a high sleek finish, all white with copper accessorises.

Parking

St Andrews multi-storey and Duke Street. Realistically castle mall car park isn't too far. We walked from the office at Prospect House and it took less than 10 minutes.

Location

Further down St Benedict's Street, it's quiet, but not out of the way. It attracted a surprisingly large crowd for a Wednesday night.

Price

Based purely on appearance I thought it screamed, 'take out a second mortgage' but learnt on further inspection it's actually very reasonable. Most mains are between £10-14, they aren't massive portions but beautifully presented and if anything underpriced! The wine is very marked up.

Highlight

It's got to be sipping on wine, in a beautiful place, eating goat's cheese and olive bonbons. What had started out as purely a review quickly turned into a romantic date night as the food and ambience meant it couldn't be anything else.

Summary

Never judge a leopard by it's spots - I wasn't overly convinced this contemporary bistro would be all it's cracked up to be but boy was I wrong. I have fallen in love with this place, so much so I think I might return tonight…

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