Norwich barbecue restaurant with cocktails galore is a sizzling success
- Credit: Louisa Baldwin
The Ten Bells reopened under new management in 2020 and it is well worth a trip to St Benedicts Street to try its barbecue tapas and cocktails.
The Ten Bells in Norwich is run by couple Frances Chisholm and Pete Harvey, also behind The Wildman in Bedford Street, and late last year they transformed the former Bullards gin distillery and bar into a barbecue restaurant.
The centrepiece is its Argentinian-style Solus Grill, which is keeping things local as it is manufactured in Norwich.
I went with my friend for a catch-up on a Wednesday evening and perched on the high tables next to the front window.
We soon realised we needed to order at the bar and went for two lots of its deal of three small plates for £15, which are £6.50 if ordered individually.
We went for the barbecue cauliflower wings, Korean chilli chicken wings, salt and pepper prawns, Boston Butt fries, chilli nachos and the chilli dog.
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We regretted not having a bigger table when it all arrived and they were definitely not small plates - you could share three and probably still be full.
The highlight was the chicken wings, which were a sticky pyramid with tender meat and punchy flavour from the gochujang, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
The cauliflower wings were also excellent and the nuggets were drizzled with a moreish barbecue marinade and topped with chives.
While this was vegetarian, along with some beetroot pico de gallo fries or nachos, I felt the menu needed one more meat-free option, especially with the three plates deal.
The chubby salt and pepper prawns gave some welcome freshness to our feast and were topped with crunchy rice noodles, like Chinese Twiglets, and served on a bed of charred pak choi.
The tortilla chips for the chilli nachos were homemade and huge and were slathered in slow-cooked black treacle beef brisket chilli which melted in the mouth.
It also had a sweet relish which was delicious and balanced well with the heat, along with the lashings of sour cream.
While the Boston Butt fries with pulled pork were tasty, I felt the meat didn't quite have as much flavour as the shredded beef and I couldn't taste the bacon that was on the menu.
The chilli dog was packed with generous slices of chorizo, crispy onion, an indulgent cheese sauce and fiery chilli, which was a little too spicy for me but my friend loved it.
We were far too full for desserts, but the offering is s'mores, ice cream or sorbet.
The Ten Bells has a really relaxed and effortlessly cool vibe, with a mix of sofas, benches and high tables and it is decorated with plants and even a Delia Smith mural.
Excellent value as you could easily share three plates between two along with some cocktails and have a really affordable evening out. It cost £40 for two cocktails and six small plates.
A fantastic range of cocktails, which you can mix and match for two for £10 between 4pm and 8pm daily.
I opted for the Elderflower Collins and Rhubumber, which were both very refreshing.
The restaurant is all on ground level so access should not be an issue.
The staff were so lovely and in particular the man who brought the food over, who chatted to us about his favourite dishes and seemed like he really loved his job.
The chicken wings were fantastic, I would order two portions in different flavours next time.
Bargain barbecue tapas that ticks the boxes for both quantity and quality.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.
If you like that, try these:
1) XO Kitchen @ The Artichoke, Norwich
Innovative small plates inspired by cuisines around the world are on the menu at XO Kitchen, which can be enjoyed alongside a huge range of beers.
2) Danomey Kitchen @ The Stanley, Norwich
Danomey Kitchen launched at this popular NR3 pub last summer, with creative tapas dishes and burgers on offer.
3) Coral Bay, Gorleston
Coral Bay, which also has a successful stall at Norwich Market, recently expanded into Gorleston with a new restaurant serving curries and some of the best chicken wings in Norfolk.