Five restaurant dishes I'll be ordering when lockdown ends

Mussels at the Belgian Monk in Norwich Photo:Sonya Duncan

Mussels at the Belgian Monk. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

In the darkest depths of lockdown a special takeaway was something to look forward to. The chance to enjoy a slice of summer in a beer garden was a privilege we had previously taken for granted.

As we now face the gloomy winter days in a fresh lockdown, I've been dreaming of things to come.

Takeaways are still on the menu and there are plenty of ways to support our independent eateries.

And soon, we'll be able to visit our favourite spots again. Given the remarkable selection of restaurants and pubs we have in Norfolk, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but here are five dishes I'll be ordering when the region reopens.

1. Mussels at the Belgian Monk

I squeezed in a visit to the Belgian Monk, in Pottergate in Norwich, in summer, when we were briefly encouraged to eat out and about.

But when the rules allow, I'm looking forward to tucking into a pile of steaming mussels, mopping up the sauce with bread and chips and washing it down with a Petrus Blond.

My choice is one with garlic, chives, herbs and butter - and if I can manage a tartiflette on the side I'll do that too.

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2. Tonkotsu ramen at Soyokaze

There are plenty of meals which travel well - and I've no doubt ramen chefs around the country have made their dishes portable.

But there are others which are best enjoyed when eating out, and for me the tonkotsu ramen at Soyokaze, on St Giles Street in Norwich, falls under that banner.

Silky, rich pork bone broth, cooked for hours, with tender pork and soft ramen eggs - delicious. One of my top restaurant dishes.

Pub of the Week - The Gunton ArmsPicture: MARK BULLIMORE

The Gunton Arms.

3. Steak at the Gunton Arms

I visited the Gunton Arms, near North Walsham, for the first time last Christmas and fell in love. It's the epitome of the welcoming country pub, with a cosy fire and tired dogs sleeping under owners' chairs.

But its setting and outstanding food elevate it, making it a real treat.

Its menu changes regularly, but its sirloin steak, from the Elk Room fire, is delicious. 

Beer battered king prawns with chips served in take away boxes at Eric's Fish and Chips shop in Thor

Fish and chips at Eric's. - Credit: Emily Revell.

4. Fish and chips (and hot sauce) at Eric's

I'm not fussy about whether it's at their Holt or Thornham restaurant, but I am looking forward to stopping off at Eric's on the way back from a day out at the beach.

I can't resist the arancini, or their hot sauce - if you haven't tried it, I'd recommend.

5. The buffalo chicken burrito at Jive

When it comes to packing flavour - and heat - into its dishes, you won't be disappointed by Jive, on Exchange Street in Norwich.

Its creative dishes are always excellent, and I'll be having the buttermilk fried chicken burrito, massive in quantity, flavour and spice, again when we're allowed.

Which dish - and which restaurant - are you most looking forward to having when restaurants fully reopen? Let us know in the suggestions box here.


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