Our reviewer's take on the new Norwich smokehouse

Meat from Norwich Smokehouse

Meat from Norwich Smokehouse - on the left is the chorizo Linguica, on the right is the brisket and at the top are the St Louis ribs. - Credit: Lauren Fitchett

Over the last seven years, I've reviewed restaurants across the region, from new openings to beloved classics.

As they say, though, all good things must come to an end, and as I head off to a new chapter the time has come to pen my final review.

I debated a poetic ending (revisiting my first review, Norwich's Blue Joanna, was an idea) but those notions were dashed when I heard about Norwich Smokehouse.

Having opened in north Norwich last week, the smokehouse dishes up low and slow-smoked meats, finished either in a wood and charcoal Bertha oven or charcoal Mangal grill.

Channelling flavours of South America - inspired by owner Andy Davis' travels - the menu is packed with smoke and spice. 

We ordered on a quiet Sunday afternoon - they are takeaway only, either collection or delivery - having spent a good 30 minutes finessing our order.

I made a beeline for the burnt ends from the specials menu, cuts of brisket glazed in its house sauce (either served in a pot for £8.50, which we went for, or Cubano bread for £12.50), smoky barbecue nuggets with crisp, charred edges and melting meat.

The burnt ends from Norwich Smokehouse.

The burnt ends from Norwich Smokehouse. - Credit: Lauren Fitchett

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The smokehouse offers plates - which come with bread and two sides - and meat by the bone or kilo which, in the name of variety, we chose.

Our two St Louis pork belly barbecue ribs (£4.50 each) were enormous, meaty and tender. The chorizo Linguica - Latin-style pork sausage - (£2.95 for two, they recommend two per person but if you're trying a few dishes one will do) was spiced, garlicky and charred.

The 36-hour smoked brisket (we had 300g, about 10 slices - it's £4.50 for 100g) was my favourite, though. Norfolk Angus brisket, rubbed in house spices and smoked, it was tender with a flavoursome bark and pink smoke ring - a sign of great low and slow cooking. 

Meat from Norwich Smokehouse

Meat from Norwich Smokehouse - on the left is the chorizo Linguica, on the right is the brisket and at the top are the St Louis ribs. - Credit: Lauren Fitchett

Two pots of rich, smoky and glossy gravy from the meat juices which came with it were perfect for dipping.

On the side (we had plenty of leftovers - this order was probably enough for four) we went for the macaroni and cheese made with Norfolk's Baron Bigod (£7.95), which was lighter and fresher than other varieties - with such a rich meal that was welcome, but it may divide mac and cheese fans.

The Baron Bigod macaroni and cheese from Norwich Smokehouse.

The Baron Bigod macaroni and cheese from Norwich Smokehouse. - Credit: Lauren Fitchett

The smokin' wings, in sweet barbecue sauce - you can also choose honey mustard or Frank's buffalo - were large, crispy (despite delivery) and sticky (£6.95 for four).

There were also thick cut chips - crisp, fluffy inside despite their size and incredibly moreish, particularly with the gravy - and barbecue pinto beans for £3.50 - nice but not my highlight - as well as citrus rice (£3.50), which definitely delivered on the description.

The citrus rice on the left, the chips and the macaroni and cheese from Norwich Smokehouse.

The citrus rice on the left, the chips and the macaroni and cheese from Norwich Smokehouse. - Credit: Lauren Fitchett

A pot of chimichurri sauce (£1.95) was vibrantly fresh with its expected acidic tang. It cut through the fatty pork in particular.

The sauces menu is worth a mention - while there's barbecue and honey mustard, there's also pico de gallo, ranch, the mysteriously named special sauce, pineapple compote and coal-baked apple. All are £1.95 on the website, though our receipt said £2 for the chimichurri.

Beef brisket straight from the oven at Norwich Smokehouse.

Beef brisket straight from the oven at Norwich Smokehouse. - Credit: Steve Adams

These are desserts on the menu, including a baked cheesecake for £4.50, but we'd decided to load up on savoury.

Value

Some of the sides (the rice and beans for example) felt on the pricey side, but the meat was really reasonable for the portion size. For all of the above we paid £64, which given the quantity and quality felt good value.

Dietary requirements

The menu marks up gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options. There are choices for all, though of course it is a smokehouse so those who don't eat meat will be more limited.

Norwich Smokehouse, Aylsham Crescent, Norwich.

Norwich Smokehouse, Aylsham Crescent, Norwich. - Credit: Steve Adams

Drinks

There are a handful of soft drinks on the menu.

Service

Friendly - the woman on the end of the phone was very helpful, our delivery speedy and the driver remembered a request we'd made on the phone. The restaurant delivers within a four-mile radius of its smokehouse kitchen, north of the city centre. 

In summary

Something different for Norwich's restaurant scene - great flavours, an exciting menu and excellent meat. I think it'll become really popular over the coming weeks, so barbecue and meat lovers might be wise to get in early.

Norwich Smokehouse, 6 Aylsham Crescent, NR3 2RZ. 01603 474747

If you like that, try these

Ormebsy Smokehouse, Ormesby - A southern style American diner which has been open since 2018, the Ormesby Smokehouse is massively popular in Norfolk. 

Station Smokehouse, Hoveton - Perched on the rail tracks at Hoveton and Wroxham, the smokehouse has a menu bursting with smoked meat, and the team there have most recently opened the Fizz and Fromage restaurant nearby. 

Liquor and Loaded, King's Lynn - Liquor and Loaded offers loaded fries, nachos, meat trays, hot dogs, burgers and a meat-free menu.

Norwich Smokehouse: Factfile

The smokehouse opened this month - but its route to doing so hadn't been without its issues.

It had originally opened in October, but was forced to shut less than a week later due to building issues.

Owner Andy Davis spent the next few weeks fixing issues such as electrics and extractor fans and was finally able to open - permanently - in December.

Mr Davis has run Take Thai in Dereham Road for the last seven years, with his takeaways inspired by travels in Thailand South America.

The meats are all sourced locally, with Swannington Farm to Fork the main supplier.

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.