Norwich: The Glass House

Is this really the best place to dine at lunchtime in Norwich? It is if the voters in our recent Evening News Going Out Awards are to be believed.

Simon Parkin

Is this really the best place to dine at lunchtime in Norwich?

It is if the voters in our recent Evening News Going Out Awards are to be believed.

The Weatherspoons pub, situated in two-storey listed buildings opposite the foot of Elm Hill, emerged the clear winner in this hard-fought category.

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Keen to kind out what we've been missing, we paid a visit on a Saturday lunchtime.

It should be said that it's not too surprising that people think of it as the place to head for lunch.

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It's always busy, thanks in large part to the pub chain's knack of appealing to a diverse range of clientele. So what's the big attraction on the food front?

It's difficult to say, other than the fact that it's expansive and, on the whole, inexpensive.

There are 14 main meal options - from fish pie to bangers and mash to braised lamb shank - eight steak types, six burgers, four pasta dishes, not to mention numerous deli-style wraps, baguettes, sandwiches and sharing platters.

It's safe to say they've got most of the bases covered.

And at £5.49 for as rump steak, £4.49 for a burger or just over a fiver for pasta and meatballs, you're not going to go overdrawn lunching here.

They also have a surprisingly good kiddies menu, which includes organic dishes like cheesy pasta, cottage pie and even chicken korma.

At £3.49 a meal, they also throw in a drink and bag of fresh fruit.

Healthy eating is something they started taking serious as the menu is littered with nutritional information.

If you are with the tots, the pub also has a good sized family room, which is handy given Weatherspoons' reputation for attracting a daytime clientele after cheaper drinks.

For starter we went for soup of the day (£2.49) - “It's always tomato and basil”, the barman informed us as we ordered. It was piping hot and tasty enough, though lacking in herby flavour or creamy body.

For mains, new dishes caught our eye, including Goan vegetable curry (£5.49) and liver and bacon casserole. Plumping for the latter proved a masterstroke. It avoided the usual stew style in favour of chunks of well cooked liver, whole rashers of smoky bacon, atop mashed potato, with a rich onion gravy.

Way too filling for a lunch, but at £6.49 good value. Only the rather perfunctory vegetables were a letdown.

So, is The Glasshouse the best place to lunch? I don't think so, but you could do much worse.

t The Glasshouse, 11-13 Wensum Street, Norwich; 01603 877650

t Style: Weatherspoons pub chic

t Food: Wide range of pub food

t Wheelchair access: Yes


Food 3/5

Service 2/5

Atmosphere 2/5

Family 3/5

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