Bourgee Arrives In Norwich!
A brand new restaurant opened in Norwich last week serving steak, lobster and cocktails (among other things) and I was invited to the launch party – Oh yes please! Only… Oh no… Jimmy got a sickness bug, passed it around a bit and my invitation had to sadly be declined. I watched on social media as my fellow Norwich bloggers tucked into the divine looking canapes and supped on Champagne thinking darn it… And Man, that looks GOOD!
A week on, and even though some more germs have arrived in the house, I was offered another invitation to try this new affordable luxury that is Bourgee and I simply HAD to accept! So, in stepped my mum on sick bay duty and Jonny and I hit the town. It was remarkable timing as this month, on Christmas Eve in fact, we have been together for 18 years and THAT is something to celebrate somewhere special and ‘somewhere special’ certainly is Bourgee. So… ‘To me and Jonny’ – we celebrated our life’s ups and downs, tricky bits, sticky bits, gorgeous bits and the rest and I think we can agree, as a whole adult person who can vote and drink alcohol could have been grown in this time, we’ve done rather well to still be together, still be talking (mostly) and still be in love. Bourgee was the perfect place to cheers all that and though slightly early (what parent can afford a date night on ACTUAL CHRISTMAS EVE?), we knocked our glasses and lived like we were 18 years younger!
I know that Jonny and I are often guilty of barking at each other rather than spending quality dialogue time (is this something that only happens in American movies or are we the odd ones?) and one or another of us forgetting to bring milk or bread or nappies home with them can cause catastrophic meltdowns but somehow when we DO go out, which isn’t often, we remember who we are, remember that we like each other rather a lot really, and we have a great time in each other’s company – OBVIOUSLY this great time is helped rather along a little when the food is delicious!
Ok… So you might think steak? Lobster? Bit posh ain’t it? And do we really have the funds to splash out on such luxury when we have three children needing ballet, piano, ukulele lessons… New shoes… New clothes, Christmas presents and the rest… Well… It’s true that we don’t have untold amounts of excess cash lying around but it IS important to make time for us and Bourgee in Norwich is a real vibe in the heart of the city without pretensions yet still with total and utter luxe! It’s absolutely worth a splash out on and I genuinely loved being there, adored the food and found the whole experience welcoming. Jonny worried that he wasn’t wearing a shirt but as soon as we arrived we realised that he’d have been as comfortable in one as he was out. There was absolutely nothing about this gorgeous and relaxed glamour that could make anyone, any age, any style, feel out of place. And what impressed me so much was that the vibe reminded me of the Norwich of old. Remember the 90s when Luminar Leisure hadn’t set foot on our cobbles leaving independent bars, restaurants and clubs in tact? Well I’m getting the feel (welcomingly so) that Norwich is going back to its roots and though Bourgee has its own roots elsewhere she’s fitting in rather splendidly in our little city. I felt like it was a little slice of London but without the ‘trendy’ beards and formica tables – I loved it and speaking to the owners and manager, who were just the epitome of relaxed, showed me this isn’t some fad, some hipster cool of the moment, this is genuine and real and thankfully I felt strongly that it’s here to stay. It felt very grounded which is a strange thing to say about a restaurant but I could see this place being the new Boswels (Norwich folk my age would rejoice if this is to be true!) as upstairs they have a cocktail bar which could absolutely house some bands and dancing. Primarily a wonderful restaurant but oh so much more potential for Norwich… So much more!
So… As this is actually meant to be a review of the food let’s get on with that shall we?
As I mentioned, Bourgee bill themselves as affordable luxury and I have to agree – it IS expensive but it’s not beyond wildest dreams. Birthdays and celebrations are the ticket here but they also have very affordable lunch time menus where you can dine for a tenner (WITH a glass of wine) so mid shopping dates could be made a whole lot better! The food we had was totally divine eaten from the A La Carte menu and we devoured every morsel!
We enjoyed the teasers of bread and olives followed by lobster and prawn bites in a cheesy and garlicky sauce with herbed bread to dip in. It was unctuous and so comforting while at the same time felt decadent and extremely like fine dining – how do they merge those two? No idea but they’ve hit the nail on the head if that was their aim! Jonny had the soft shell crab which was… Oh I want to smack my fingers with a kiss to display my feelings towards it – naturally we tried each other’s food, 18 years teaches you nothing if not how to decide who won best at dining out competitions! We called the starters a draw!
Main courses proved a struggle to make a decision… So much to choose from and I know nothing about what to order when it comes to steak. The menu handily recommends how to have each option cooked for prime flavour so I took a stab in the dark (I would ordinarily choose a burger over steak which they do have on the menu but… This was special) and plumped for the ribeye, cooked medium and served with dauphinois potatoes and grenadine onions (which were sweet and delicious)! The steak was HUGE and perfect. Oh I could have kept eating it so smooth and rich it tasted. I had a side salad which was also very good and the potatoes cooked my favourite way only disappointed in the size of the portion. And here is my only criticism of the whole meal actually… I LOVED the potatoes but I wanted more. I’m a greedy big eye for sure but these were so good that a double portion could have made it even better! And Jonny opted for a burger as per but not their beef, he chose instead for lobster and langoustine which was SUPERB! Oh and the fries… How do they get them so crispy and tasty… Like slivers of golden roast potatoes with extra oomph! YUM!
Then desert… Oh yes! with options of Mars bar cheesecakes and bags of mini cinnamon donuts it was the hardest decision of the night but I went chocolate (standard) in the truffle delice and Jonny chose very to my predictions (you do know someone’s pudding style after 18 years it seems) and went for the sticky toffee pudding. I will concede that he probably won this course (though marginally) while I definitely took the crown for mains making the whole meal an overall tie. We drank house white throughout, longed for a cocktail to finish but couldn’t fit one in and vowed at the last bite that we would be back! I can see myself popping in for a cocktail on an evening out so Bourgee, even if I’m not eating on my next visit you very definitely haven’t seen the last of me that’s for sure!
And I think they should see you too because… Why not?! They have a few menus and the luxury doesn’t sit only on the top price bill, remember that very reasonable lunch with wine for a tenner? Well there’s also tapas on a very purse friendly note and they even have gluten free and vegan menus specifically alongside afternoon tea and a young gourmet menu for IF you want to take the kids. Which I do actually… Not for the evening perhaps but I think they’d enjoy the food here and why shouldn’t kids be given good food as an option. I’ll bring the trio soon and let you know what they think…
Bourgee is situated in the Castle Mall terrace in Norwich (a positive hive of activity these days – oh and did you know that the Vue cinema, also there, is only £4.99 for any show, any time, any day – except on a Monday when it’s £3.99 – WOWSERS!) just outside at the top of Timber Hill. I love this location and Timber Hill always looks pretty with its cobbled street. We enjoyed every single second of our meal fro the ambience to the fodder -highly recommend!
Bourgee invited us to dine as their guests.