Stand­ing proud

Over the cen­turies Nor­wich’s his­toric King Street has been packed with pubs. Now a new bar and restau­rant, in an an­cient build­ing, is the Last Pub Stand­ing. ROWAN MAN­TELL popped in for a bite to eat

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

We visit Nor­wich’s Last Pub Stand­ing

IT WAS icy out­side, but within sec­onds of step­ping into the Last Pub Stand­ing, I was feel­ing the love. The wel­come was warm, the at­mos­phere friendly, the dé­cor par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive blend­ing wooden floor­boards, fires in pretty tiled fire­places, tex­tured gold and sil­ver ceil­ings, stylish yet com­fort­able sofas seat­ing ar­ranged in so­cia­ble group­ings, chairs and ta­bles for more se­ri­ous eat­ing. There was even a line of seats with luggage racks above styled to look like a vin­tage rail­way car­riage, and a win­dow (lit­er­ally) on to the past with a glazed sec­tion of floor ex­pos­ing the cel­lar be­low and a glass cab­i­nets of cu­riosi­ties linked to the re­cent re­fit.

The quirky steam-punk style pic­tures on the walls, and theme of travel, are car­ried through to the menu. The con­cept is based on street food from around the world so main cour­ses range from In­done­sian chicken sa­tay to Ar­gen­tinian steak and from South African Bo­ere­wors (sausages with spicy beans and maize) on to Viet­namese chicken salad.

The Last Pub Stand­ing has three at­mo­spheric restau­rant rooms up­stairs but on a quiet weekday evening we chose a win­dow seat in the friendly bar area, and be­gan our food jour­ney in Le­banon (for me) and Scot­land (for my hus­band.) His Cullen Skink was a hearty had­dock, leek and potato broth, served with bread. My Le­banese meze was an im­pres­sively laden plate of falafel, hum­mus, tab­bouleh (a salad of bul­gar and pars­ley and much more be­sides) and sam­bousek (a cres­cent of pas­try-wrapped cheesey love­li­ness), served with lots of par­tic­u­larly splen­did flat­bread. The dif­fer­ent breads at the Last Pub Stand­ing de­serve a men­tion of their own as they are so good, and are served with sev­eral of the dishes – in­clud­ing our main cour­ses of Hun­gar­ian goulash and the Per­sian jewelled lamb. The meat is also ex­cel­lent, and there are sev­eral fish dishes too, but veg­e­tar­i­ans might feel a lit­tle over­looked. There’s a great-sound­ing mush­room, red lentil, stil­ton and ch­est­nut roast on the Sun­day menu, and the bar snacks in­clude veg­gie dishes, but there is not a mas­sive choice.

How­ever, for meat eaters it is mar­vel­lous. There was so much ten­der beef in warm­ing paprika sauce, served with suetty shred­ded dumplings, for me, and melt-in-the-mouth lamb with orange and cin­na­mon rice and pome­gran­ate seeds for Howard, that we were un­able to fin­ish the bread, or even start a pud­ding. I’m as­sum­ing the car­damom, saf­fron and choco­late bread and but­ter pud­ding, would have been par­tic­u­larly good. There’s also a cheese­cake of the day and a cheese­board which brings the menu back to Nor­folk, with Nor­folk Dap­ple and Tawny and White Lady and more. It will soon lure me back to the Last Pub Stand­ing. With rea­son­able prices and friendly and ea­ger-to-please staff, whether you want a rich, hearty and au­then­tic meal from around the world, or just a beer, glass of wine, cof­fee, or bar-snack pie of the day, the Last Pub Stand­ing de­serves to be a des­ti­na­tion in it­self and pretty much stand­ing room only.Š

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