With a name like Fizzbuzz.com you'd be forgiven for thinking of a business with some kind of computer connotations. Perhaps a funky internet café. Or a trendy on-line banking service targeting the young, upwardly mobile, computer-savvy generation.
With a name like Fizzbuzz.com you'd be forgiven for thinking of a business with some kind of computer connotations. Perhaps a funky internet café. Or a trendy on-line banking service targeting the young, upwardly mobile, computer-savvy generation. But you'd be wrong. Hopelessly wrong.
This particular 'dotcom' doesn't even have its own website. I know because I trawled the wonderful world of cyberspace in vain. Along my virtual journey of discovery, I discovered that fizzbuzz is a mathematical puzzle, involving multiples of three (fizz) and five (buzz) and is variously used as a car game (to keep children occupied on long trips), drinking game and a computer programming exercise.
Feeling perplexed? Well, so was I. Having failed my maths O-level (twice, the second time worse than the first) arithmetical puzzles have always been something of a mystery to me. But no matter. The only counting required in this particular establishment is just before you leave when leaving a tip.
For this Fizzbuzz has as little to do with maths and computers as I would prefer to have. Strange as it might seem, given all of the above, it is a restaurant. And, as I was to discover, a rather fine restaurant at that.
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To be fair, I knew a little about it. I'd passed it a few times as it just so happens to be on one of my favourite routes into the city centre, beginning in ancient Colegate, passing over St George's bridge, skirting St Andrew's Hall, before rising up the narrow medieval St Andrew's Hill.
There's a lot of history about the place, and I'm not just talking Normans and Tudors. In an earlier life, the restaurant now known as Fizzbuzz.com has been Brasteds, the Merchant's House and, confusingly, Fizzbuzz. All of which means that the new Fizzbuzz has got a lot to live up to.
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Yet, if that sounds like a burden, there was certainly no evidence of it when my wife and I visited recently on a chill spring night. From the moment we entered the small bar area we were won over by the seductive charms of its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Fizzbuzz.com isn't a large restaurant. With its large windows and subdued colours, there's a homely, intimate feel about the place which was perfectly enhanced by the personable approach of the young front of house manager. Attentive without being annoying, chatty without being borish, he was evidently enthusiastic about what he was doing and persuasive with it.
But sometimes it pays to listen. And in this case it certainly did. Resisting the urge to select a wine to accompany all our courses, we took his advice to drink, by the glass, a Marlborough with our first course and a Pinot Noir with our main.
His advice was spot on, as the fresh, fruity Marlborough and the smooth, rich Pinot Noit perfectly complimented the dishes. And what dishes!
My wife started with a heavenly salmon gravadlax with dill mustard sauce, in which the salmon was as soft as it was succulent. I went for Brancaster mussels Thai style with chilli, lemon grass and coconut milk, which proved an absolute revelation. Mussels have long been a personal favourite, especially when served plump and juicy in a sea of creamy wine sauce. I couldn't imagine anything beating it, but this did. The delicate but contrasting flavours fused wonderfully to create a mussel dish to surpass anything I'd ever tasted before.
We were off to a great start which, in my experience, usually means a disappointment is just around the corner. But not this time. In the words of The Beatles' song, things just kept getting better all the time.
For my main dish, I chose the Best end of lamb served with dauphinois potato, pureed swede, savoy cabbage and roast carrots. Just reading it on the menu was enough to set the taste-buds going and anticipation was more than matched by mesmerising reality.
The lamb had been cooked to perfection, tender, delicious and as smooth as the sauce was rich. Similar care had clearly been lavished on the vegetables which were every bit as flavoursome as the meat itself.
For her part, my wife chose the Fillet steak served with mashed potato, braised red cabbage and sprouting brocolli. Again, the result was impressive. Seared on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, the steak, amply supported by a generous and tasty serving of jus, was breathtakingly good.
By now, we could hardly believe our luck. We decided to share a pudding - the panna cotta with rhubarb and cardamom recommended by our affable waiter - and, in its sweet harmony of flavours and textures, provided a suitably fitting end to a splendid meal.It had been a dining experience to remember. Great food served in a convivial atmosphere. One of those rare nights when everything clicks and one of those even rarer occasions when all five dishes were of dream-like quality.
So many restaurants these days are all style and very little substance, but Fizzbuzz.com well and truly bucks that particular trend.
At a price of £70 for two (two courses cost £21 and three courses £25 with a cheese platter for £4), it isn't exactly a cheap night out, but given the outstanding cuisine on offer I've no hesitation in saying it represents fantastic value of money.
On this evidence, Fizzbuzz.com's place among the ranks of Norwich's leading restaurants isn't so much a virtual as an actual reality.
t Fizzbuzz.com, 10 St Andrew's Hill, Norwich; 01603 767321
t Where is it? Just off the city centre, between the Natwest Bank on London Street and St Andrew's Hall.
t Do I need to book? Always advisable to avoid disappointment, particularly so far as weekends are concerned.
t Where's the best place to park? St Andrew's car park is just a short walk away.
t Any vegetarian dishes? Yes, there's always a vegetarian option on the menu and special dietary requirements or preferences can also be catered for by contacting the restaurant in advance.
t How about for groups? The restaurant can offer rates for parties of up to 15-20 people to book the restaurant. Just contact the staff for details.