“ Dining at Brummells restaurant is always an event. A delectable variety of local ocean delights is prepared by chef patron, Andrew Brummell, assisted by John O' Sullivan with over 60 years experience between them it is not surprising they have been awarded two Rosettes by the AA good food guide and are acclaimed by locals and visitors alike. Gourmet lunches by candlelight, business lunches and celebrations we are the ideal venue. All food is freshly prepared on the premises. Only the finest and freshest ingredients are used. Excellent award winning wine list, with many of the worlds most exclusive wines listed. Romantic and relaxing atmosphere, combined with personal service and incomparable hospitality. „
Having eaten at many up market seafood restuarants and being advised that Brummels is Norwich's Best Seafood Restaurant my Fiancee and I reserved a table here last night and were looking forward to some great local seafood. Well, it is enough to say we were extremely disappointed. It is overpriced, unimaginative with the food some of which is poorly prepared. Looking at the reviews on this site and after being there I now understand why the last review was posted well over a year ago!
The restuarant itself is very pretty, cosy and romantic. It feels different from the many other restuarants in Norwich with an ecclectic mix of nick nacks scatter around the place, including an assortment of champagne bags and boxes stuck to the ceiling. It fools you into believing you may be on a good thing with its ambience so building you up for an even greater fall!
As we came in we were ushered to a comfortable couch to have an appertif and choose our meals. Upon asking what fish was from the local area we were advised that the Oysters, Skate and Lobster were the only local produce. This did surprise us a little as we had thought that being so close the coast would have allowed the restaurant to serve very fresh locall caught fish, but then again what we know.
For entrée I ordered the six native oysters in the half shell natural over ice
and my fiance the seared king scallops with mixed leaf salad and pomegranate chutney. I must say I have never seen oysters quite so larger, they were almost intimidating, but other than that were very fresh and creamy. The scallops which I also tried were were interesting and not bad although quite boring and were lacking in flavour.
Then the mains arrived the skate and lobster. The skate was once again ridiculously enormous and was done in black butter. Flavour wise it was extremely boring and with a only a side salad to accompany tasted a little like fish and chips without the chips and lots of lemon and for £19 ridiculously expensive. Very disappointing go to the local chippy instead of having this dish is all I can say. The lobster in garlic sauce on the other hand was a small lobster (£29) with the texture reminding me of the sole of my runners. It was absolutely abmismal so was left to be collected with the plates. Upon telling the waitress how bad the lobster was, she nervously looked around and told us she would let the kitchen know. We never heard another thing and to add insult to injury were charged for the lobster which hadnt been eaten.
Along with this with only one waitress available I the restaurant and the wine being kept some distance from the table mid way through the meal I had to resort to getting up, walking over to the wine, removing it from the wine cooler and keeping it on the table, otherwise a I thought I may have died from thirst.
Considering the meal including a small plate of 3 cheeses, 1 coffee, and drinks was £200 the food was awful and if this is Norwichs best seafood restaurant then I must say that Norwich just does not know how to do seafood. I strongly urge people to stay well away from this over price restaurant. Anyway, I think the news is already out, as there were only 8 people (including ourselves) in the place on a Saturday night, which in itself should have warned us!
Norwich has a wealth of many different styles of eateries, from cheap and cheerful to expensive and sumptuous. Along Magdalen Street, a little way past the cathedral and the Maids Head Hotel is Brummells Seafood Restaurant, which is definitely in the expensive and sumptuous range
The frontage is simple and discreet with the entrance tucked along the side and accessed down a small alleyway, with a small but elegant courtyard. On entering the restaurant you are greeted, usually, by the owner himself and settled into a snug lounge area with small tables and in winter an open fire. Over an aperitif enjoy the luxury as you peruse the wonderful menu and wine list. Your biggest problem will be selecting form the delicious range of food on offer. The main emphasis is on seafood, but there is also meat and of course a vegetarians are amply catered for
After choosing you are left to relax as your food is prepared and then any unfinished drinks are taken to your table in the main restaurant. The restaurant is beautiful, with the expected crisp table linen, glistening glasses and polished cutlery. The room is small, intimate and cosy, without feeling overcrowded, as the owner will not book in too many people at once. The walls abound with paintings, knickknacks and objet darts. In fact there is so much to look at from farm implements, to unsurprisingly, fish paintings, that should you be unfortunate enough to have a dull dinner companion there is enough to look at and to spark conversation
On our last visit we indulged ourselves and really pushed the boat out. To start with we had baby octopus in red wine and its own ink and seafood pancakes with cheese and a green aniseed sauce. Both were delicious the pancakes were small, soft and rich and melted in my mouth. The baby octopus was adorably cute (as long as you arent squeamish of course!), again quite a rich starter but as the portions are small this does not ruin your appetite for the main course. After the starters a small complimentary sorbet arrived to cleanse out palate in preparation for the focal event of the evening
For the main meal my partner had the top of the range seafood platter and what sight it was to behold; every type of seafood you could wish for from oysters to lobster and assorted cold fish served on a bed of ice and garnished with salad. At thirty-five pounds it was definitely not cheap, but for a special night out it is just perfect. The seafood is all extremely fresh and prepared and laid out beautifully. Each mouthful is sublime. I opted for skate wing with blackened butter, a luscious large portion of skate drizzled in a nutty black butter. The fish peeled away from the bone just as it should and tasted fresh and clean
To accompany our meals we had one portion of salad and one of fresh vegetables. The salad was abundance of crisp produce and the vegetables were a selection of just cooked baby corn, mange touts, and new potatoes that still had that slight crunch that I like. Nothing lets a good meal down more than overcooked soggy vegetables in my opinion
The portions are good-sized, large enough to satisfy the hungriest of appetites but not so overwhelming or stodgy that we couldnt fit a small desert in. I chose strawberries with black pepper. Now when I first read this I didnt honestly believe anyone would really put pepper on strawberries, but its true! My dish of strawberries arrived with light peppering of black pepper (sorry!) and to my surprise the combination if the two tastes was excellent and melded well with the meringue and sweetness of the Chantilly cream. My partner had the amaretto chocolate mousse, again something I would not normally choose as I dont really like amaretto, but I enjoyed the small taste I was allowed so much that I almost wished I had chosen it too. It is a small serving but nobody, not even a dedicated chocoholic like myself could eat much of it, as it is so divinely rich
We have been to Brummells a few times over the years and have never once been let down. Perfectly cosy and warm for cold winter nights with the curtains drawn across the large windows and cooler, but still with the intimacy it is renowned for, on summer nights. The patron, Andrew Brummell is an excellent host, attentive to each guests every need, yet not all intrusive. At times he may seem a little dour when compared to some other waiters and owners we have encountered, he is quite possibly one of our favourite restaurant owners and after a leisurely dinner we often sit and chat with him at the bar
I can definitely recommend Brummells if you like seafood as the range on offer is superb; just look at the website to see their ample menus: http://www.brummells.co.uk/. One word of warning if you do decide to visit, this is not a cheap night out - on one occasion we managed to spend over two hundred pounds in one night. Admittedly, we really pulled no punches and indulged in the most expensive foods, some very fine wine, including a sumptuously sweet dessert wine, liqueur coffees and brandies at the bar. But for an exceptional night out it really was worth every single penny. Luckily we had just enough money on us for a cab home. After all, at the end of such a magnificent night out the last thing we felt like doing was walking anywhere