Newton Flotman: Relish
Local produce and great cooking have made Relish one of south Norfolk's most popular restaurants. Now it's just got better as RICHARD WATTS found out.
One of south Norfolk's most popular restaurants has recently undergone an extensive re-design with a re-modelled bar and an extended dining area.
Change any local hostelry and there is always a risk of upsetting the regulars, but not on this case.
Relish Restaurant is presided over by Rachel and Jeremy Parke, with Rachel supervising out front and Jeremy the chef.
The two have been at the restaurant/bar for five years and have introduced several refinements since they arrived and later bought the freehold.
During that time Jeremy has continued developing menus so that now the vast majority of fresh ingredients are bought locally.
Indeed, most of the suppliers are now regulars and personal friends and the restaurant won the award for the best use of local ingredients at the Aylsham Show.
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So how does the food measure up? Here are the results the findings of a recent mid-week meal.
To start, mussels from Morston, are a great annual favourite, poached with shallots, garlic, wine and cream and served with bread baked in the kitchen to mop up the juices.
Breast of pigeon comes from a local estate, is rich, dark and pan fried and served with a locally made wild boar sausage, bacon and mushrooms. Juicy and rich.
The seared calves liver is very tender and has braised red cabbage and crispy bacon with it. Starters are from �5.50 to �6.50.
The main courses always have a vegetarian option and usually two fish dishes.
The chicken comes from a farm just along the road and is tender and above all tasty. Jeremy serves it in several ways but the night we were there it had buttered savoy saut� cabbage and was cooked with bacon and black pudding. Delicious.
You will often find venison on the menu, all from local estates, and should you see game pie on the menu, have it.
The pie, made from red deer, was rich and dark and filling with a crusty topping delicious when soaked in the pie's gravy. Roast leeks and potatoes sauteed with garlic and spring onions made for a filling dish.
The pork steak, again from a local farm, is cooked with cider cream, black pudding and smoked ham hock is a regular on the menu.
Deserts include a brioche and bread and butter pudding with a vanilla cream sauce and a pineapple tarte tatin.
There is also a proper cheese trolley, unusual in restaurants these days.
A large wine list changes with the seasons and is devised by a local wine merchant with three white and three red wines by the glass and bottles from �12 to �40.
The menu changes each day depending on what local foods are available and in the summer Jeremy uses eggs and vegetables from his garden.
There is always a risk when a bar-restaurant redecorates and extends. Relish has pulled this off with great panache.
RELISH RESTAURANT & BAR
Booking available online at: www.dinewithrelish.com
Open: Daily except Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes and Sunday evenings.
Prices: Lunch starters from �5, mains from �7. Evening starters from �5.75, mains from �16
Vegetarian options: Decent selection
Wheelchair access: Yes