With a menu that includes 30 flavoured vodkas in flavours like cola cube, Bakewell tart, vanilla ice-cream and Jelly Babies, it seemed almost rude to be visiting Revolution Vodka Bar for a lunch that wasn't liquid. But the food is definitely worth a shot says STACIA BRIGGS.
Vodka is, ironically, the only spirit I'll touch, although it was food and not shots I was after on my recent trip to Revolution Vodka Bar on Queen Street.
A stone's throw from the Cathedral, Revolution might be the kind of bar that, unless you're under 30 and keen on vodka, you might walk past if you were looking for somewhere to have lunch. And that would be a shame.
The bar itself is large and spacious, housed in what used to be Orgasmic (and which I haven't been to since those days and a regrettable night out that involved a three-day hangover) and decorated in what I can only describe as a 'warehouse-chic' style. If that sounds pretentious, I don't mean it to be.
I fell in love with the lighting, being a bit of a lighting anorak, which consists of row upon row of lightbulbs strung from a wire cage like giant fairy lights. Against the dark paintwork, it looked beautiful.
There are plenty of tables, lots of space and on warmer days you can eat outside and watch the world go by – on the day we visited, it was bitingly cold, so we headed indoors to a table towards the back of the bar.
With our drinks, we ordered from the starters and sharing menu, which includes lots of tempting dishes such as the winter mezze board packed with roasted chorizo with garlic, sunblush tomatoes, Moroccan chicken skewers, houmous, olives, balsamic vinegar, warm crusty bread and flour tortillas, nachos, platters, soups, stuffed jalapenos, king prawns, bread and olives and garlic breads.
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Our garlic and mozzarella pizza bread, �4.25, whetted the appetite, thin and crispy but with just enough garlic to make the mouth-water and a sprinkling of cheese.
There are plenty of main meals on offer, from pizzas to burgers, salads and flatbreads to wraps and sandwiches and there are vegetarian options throughout.
Some of the dishes are quite inventive: Chicken Katsu is a Japanese dish served with jasmine sticky rice with Katsy curry sauce and a salad of peashoots and edamame beans in chilli, lime and herb dressing (�8.95) while the parsnip, apricot and goat's cheese wellington, �9.95, is a superior vegetarian option.
We chose staple dishes: Margherita pizza, �7.25, and BBQ Ranch Burger, �8.95, a 6oz burger smothered in smoky barbecue sauce, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and bacon and served with chips and coleslaw.
Had we been more adventurous (and if I ate meat…) we could have had the Vodka Revolution Pizza, starring chilli vodka glazed chicken, chorizo, goat's cheese, mozzarella, sweet chilli peppers, fresh rocket and balsamic glaze, �8.95, or the Vodka Revolution Burger, �8.95, with vodka chilli salsa, cheese, jalapeno peppers and onion rings. Proof that you can mix vodka with anything.
Our food arrived quickly, was tasty and very plentiful – especially in the case of the burger, which was housed in a roll so huge that my partner wished his jaw was hinged.
For dessert, we shared a New York cheesecake, �3.50, a baked vanilla cheesecake served with a handful of mixed berries and strawberry coulis, although I'd have been equally happy with the other two options on offer: apple and sultana crumble or chocolate brownies with ice-cream.
Our waitress helped us to choose, after an unseemly debate which saw the cheesecake pitched against the brownies (I lost, but the cheesecake was great, so it was an acceptable defeat).
I was impressed by Revolution – there are lots of deals throughout the week where you can take advantage of two-for-one meals – and I'm angling to replicate the lightbulbs at home. I think that's another battle I might lose, which means next time I'm definitely ordering the brownies.
Open: Daily 11am-2am
Prices: From �7.25 for mains (sandwiches �5.95).
Vegetarian options: Good.
Wheelchair access: Access available