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Pub of the Week: The Steam Packet in Norwich city centre

PUBLISHED: 11:02 24 August 2012 | UPDATED: 13:57 24 August 2012

Evening News pub of the week, The Steam Packet in Norwich city centre. Landlord Hakim Skalli with staff member Indre Tumenaite. Photo: Steve Adams

Evening News pub of the week, The Steam Packet in Norwich city centre. Landlord Hakim Skalli with staff member Indre Tumenaite. Photo: Steve Adams

Ask the landlord at the Steam Packet in Crown Road, off Rose Lane, his opinion on anything and you are sure to get a straight answer.

That’s probably why Hakim ‘Kim’ Skalli is such a popular figure at the pub.

Regulars certainly appreciate his candour and friendliness, and many cited it as one of the main reasons why they enjoyed visiting.

Many of Mr Skalli’s outspoken comments will not be to everyone’s taste but he certainly serves a good pint of beer. In fact, he’s so proud of his pub’s spotlessly clean cellars that he took me on a tour of them.

“People come in here for a pint of Amstel or Guinness and say afterwards that they won’t now get it anywhere else in Norwich, because it tasted so good,” he said.

Die-hard real ale drinkers are a boon to many Norwich pubs, but he has no time for them: he thinks they are too obsessed with their tipple.

However, customers all agreed that he was a friendly bloke, who served a good selection of drinks. “It’s a proper local, and not a wannabe pub,” one regular said.

Mr Skalli took over the pub owned by Terry Shalu about one and a half years ago.

Diners in Norwich will remember him from the Medina restaurant he used to run in Prince of Wales Road.

He does buffet food at the pub and hosts private functions at the restaurant upstairs, but added: “No-one is making money on food at pubs like ours now. It’s finished because people cannot afford the prices any more.

“Our pub is very popular on Norwich City match days and we do live music once a month, but I cannot afford the prices Sky charges to show live matches.

“We try to keep the prices low on drinks. I want to cater to everyone. My job here is to get people to eat, drink and enjoy themselves.

“It’s such a small pub that it only takes a handful of people to make it look busy.”

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourolocal

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