Norwich: Delia's Restaurant

Sarah HardyThe on pitch action is a real success story at the moment at Carrow Road but how is Delia's Carrow Road restaurant shaping up? SARAH HARDY finds out..Sarah Hardy

The on pitch action is a real success story at the moment at Carrow Road but how is Delia's Carrow Road restaurant shaping up? SARAH HARDY finds out.

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Carrow Road is not the first place you'd think of for a top notch restaurant meal - a pie or bacon butty, perhaps - but for the last few years, Delia's self-named restaurant has been offering fine cuisine in very pleasant surroundings.

The restaurant, all white and minimalist, remains contemporary in look and layout - there's a huge picture of Delia smiling down from the back wall, enormous exotic blooms on display, polished floorboards and a jazzy little bar area where you can perch on high stools and sip cocktails like a true wag.

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Although there are, perhaps surprisingly, no stunning views of the pitch, the restaurant has a quiet glamour which is nice and relaxing and allows you to concentrate on the important things in life like what's for dinner?

The food is vintage Delia. She doesn't bother with following trends but relies on good local ingredients and her tried and tested recipes, albeit it somewhat updated where appropriate.

It's a set price three-course dinner on offer at �32 and there's always a fish, meat and vegetarian option as the main event. There isn't masses of choice, about five or six per course, but it is always good accessible stuff so you shouldn't have a problem.

Interestingly, and unlike many places, you always get plenty of vegetables rather than a few hidden away in a sauce or mixed in with the main dish in an almost embarrassed way.

What I like about the place is that you'll often know and love the recipes as you'll have tried them yourself at home - many are featured in her cook books but, strangely, are quite different to my attempts. Yes, better would be the word. Much, much better!

We visited one Saturday evening as a group of five and it was very, very busy. There was no room to sit in the bar so we went straight to the table, right in the heart of things and just where I like to be!

As we celebrating a couple of birthdays, it was a glass of champers for me while others went for local beers and G&Ts. Feeling somewhat revived, it was on to the serious business of selecting what we fancied to eat. I started with char-grilled aubergine and roasted tomato salad with feta cheese and a tangy dressing which took plenty of mopping up with some very nice fresh bread. Others tried the baked salmon fillet with a green herb mayonnaise. The fish was good and firm and declared a strong start to the meal.

Next I tried the baked cod with parsley sauce and plenty of mash and a spot of spinach for good measure. Again, the fish shone out - I don't know who their suppliers are but they're good!

Other mains sampled by the team included chicken with a sherry vinegar and tarragon sauce, again with plenty of vegetables, and a roasted Mediterranean vegetable lasagne which was nice and chunky!

The puddings are a particular treat and the apple and almond crumble with 'proper' custard caught my eye! It was just right, sweet without being too much and the custard was good and thick. We all contemplated the fallen chocolate souffl� but none of us managed it in the end!

The cheese selection was a bit over powering - a mini ploughman's but between the five of us we all nibbled a bit and then it was gone. The main cheese was one from Lancashire, and very nice, too, but I guess I would have liked to see an East Anglian one there instead!

And the coffee and chocolates had us groaning but again we somehow managed to polish it all off! I had peppermint tea which made a nice change and does, I find, help with digestion!

My guests enjoyed the service which is friendly but not over done, and they were certainly kind to my mum who is quite infirm these days and needed to use the lift rather than the stairs.

And I should mention the wine list, supplied by local merchant Peter Graham. He really seeks out some special tipples and at very good prices - there were a couple from Argentina on the list when we visited and had I not overdone the champers, would have been more than tempted.

t Delia's Restaurant and Bar, Carrow Road, Norwich, 01603 218705,

t Open: Fri/Sat from 7pm.

Prices: �32 for three courses which also includes coffee and 'something sweet'.

t Vegetarian options: Taken seriously, for once. How about spinach and ricotta lasagne? And there's a lovely watercress soup on the menu, too.

t Wheelchair access: Yes


Food: ****

Service: ****

Atmosphere: ****

Family: ***