Open 7 days for lunch & dinner
We were on our way to Fratelli Fresh, but with rumbling bellies we decided to stop in at the newly refurbished Norfolk on Cleveland for a spot of lunch.
The Norfolk is the new venture for Thomas Lim (ex Tetsuya's), following Duke Bistro at The Flinders Hotel.
We were looking forward to sampling the 'Mexican' inspired menu.
The refurb has given the pub a cool, dark feel...very inviting.
Heading out back to the large garden courtyard we grabbed a table.
Impressed with the bar snacks menu we decided to share a few of the dishes.
While waiting for our food to arrive I indulged in a Spiced Rum Spider (that's right an alcoholic spider!), which was very rummy & divine.
After a short period of time the food arrived....
The Barbequed Sweet Corn with Chipotle Mayo, Queso & Lime consisted of two pieces of corn smothered in mayo & topped with the grated queso (mexican cheese). The corn was very sweet & the mayo added the slightest amount of heat & smokiness, the cheese seemed of a similar consistency to feta & had a very mild flavour indeed, in fact it didn't really seem to add much other than texture.
Next up the Deep Fried Pickles with Ranch Dipping Sauce... well the two magic words 'DEEP FRIED' clinched this deal. I'm not normally a fan of pickles, but these were amazing. Lightly battered & deep fried they retain their crunch & sweet acidity, the batter adds a wonderful dimension; the ranch dressing is a little on the bland side but does add a nice creaminess overall. These pickles are a must have.
Fried Chicken Wings with Hot Sauce, were satisfying & delicious. The 'hot' sauce not really hot at all (more like a smoky bbq sauce really), was sticky & finger lickin' good! The chicken wings were well cooked with the meat very moist & tender.
One of my particular favourites was the Hot Dog Slider with bacon relish, pickled cucumber & crispy onions. Basically a baby hot dog topped with some very moreish crispy onion, mildly bacon flavoured relish & cool pickled cucumber, along with the requisite tomato sauce, American mustard & more of the queso.... the perfect bar snack!
Next up the two most disappointing aspects of the meal...the soft shell tacos.
The Beef Short Rib Taco with Queso Fresco, Scallions and Lime with Salsa Mojo, while sounding fabulous was very bland indeed. It lacked much desired heat & spiciness. The short rib also lacked any real flavour & could have been cooked longer to achieve that wonderful pull apart deliciousness. It promised much & delivered little.
The Braised Pork Neck with onions, cabbage, apple, mojo verde and coriander, was cooked a little better, the pork was moist & tender but lacked any deep rich pork flavour. This dish also looked like it would pack a punch flavourwise, but as with the beef it just didn't deliver. On the whole though we really did enjoy our lunch at the Norfolk, and being able to sample a variety of small dishes from the menu allows for much variety.
Service wise - the chap taking orders at the bistro was knowledgeable & friendly with a great sense of humour; he is a real asset to the pub. One of the bar staff members was quite surly and rude, while another was relatively friendly, but couldn't adequately explain why the various punches and sangrias on offer on the menu were actually unavailable.
Our meal was also somewhat hampered by a rather overly friendly local who chatted at us the entire length of our meal.
Still we look forward to returning to sample more bar snacks & some of the larger meals on offer.