Jorge’s tucked away haven
Jorge’s Restaurant, 2-3 Orford Street, Red Lion Street, Norwich, NR13TB
So, there I was one Thursday night with an invitation to Jorge’s for a taste of the new Tapas Menu. It was going to be my first experience of this Portuguese restaurant, tucked away in Orford Street, right in front of where Looses cook shop used to reside. And opposite Debenhams – follow the twinkly lights in to alley that hides this hidden gem.
The restaurants lavishly decorated in a moody but trendy dark grey, suiting the wooden tables and comfy chairs, ambient lighting sets for a romantic feel in this 30-seater restaurant. Its big enough for private party’s and the create a good atmosphere but small enough for amazing friendly attentive service. Even the toilets are cool – soft lights, liquids and towels, deep and moody but cool and clean.
(I liked the loo – – it’s a good judging point, so many toilets are left to fester, the best Loos in Norwich are at the Ivy – – Jorge’s is definitely in the top 5 – – not that there’s a list ((Note to myself – – maybe I’ll do a toilet blog!!!)).
Anyway, the place was full and buzzing with happy folk, indulging in all that Jorge’s has to offer – the kitchens slightly open, you get the occasional sneeky peek at the second Jorge – – that’s the head chef not the owner, he’s Portuguese as well and has a whole host of experience. We were met by a friendly Jorge (that’s the owner and front of house, I won’t mention the other Jorge again in fear of confusion) and his wife Eleanor.
They met on a cruise ship where Jorge was working as a sommelier and Eleanor as a photographer. Jorge has worked all over the world including America. First gaining his enthusiasm for cooking from his Mum. The newly married couple settled in Portugal for a while before deciding to come back to Eleanor’s home town, right here in Norwich to open up a restaurant.
With Jorge’s passion for Portuguese food, his front of house experience and his knowledge for amazing wines along with Eleanor’s event and media skills (did I mention Eleanor & Jorge also owned a successful events company in Portugal) – Jorge’s was sure to deliver.
Anyway – – there we were being offered Bullard’s Gin cocktails from their new cocktail menu.
For those of you not in the know Bullard’s was a beer and gin manufacturer in Norwich 100 years ago, they even had a pub opposite Jorge’s before Debenhams was built (see the black and white picture on the wall). They now produce award winning Gins – – including their London Dry, awarded the best Gin in the World.
We then sat down to be indulged in tapas after tapas.
- The first was a mixed croquette plate of Salt Cod, Vegetarian oozy cheese (my favourite) and a Portuguese Game croquette (hubby’s favourite). All totally different, all well flavoured and all as fresh as a cucumber. I’d probably go as far as to say it was the best Salt Cod croquette I’ve ever had – they can often be dry and often stale. But these were soft, packed full of cod with a lovely texture.
- Then came tiger prawns in a simple sauce of butter and garlic but oooh were they good – they arrived shell on, so you can suck out the brains – – What do you mean that sounds gross, NO that’s delicious!!!
- The Clam broth was so good too – a simple stock but so well flavoured and soup-a-licious.
Tip – If you order either the prawns or clams go for some bread on the side to soak up all those delicious juices.
- Then came some very sticky wings – sauce to die for, meat falling of the bone and a good ole portion.
- The next dish was pork in pickles (Pica Pau), they sometimes use pickled vegetables and a little of the juice to make up the sauce – giving a slight tart flavour, but added to the meat juices and featuring the crunch of the veggies it really was a different and tasty dish (I’m stealing that one).
- Lastly, we had a pork steak cooked on their char-grill, a cut known in Portuguese as ‘Presa’ – it’s a cut from the shoulder. Although ribboned with tender fat, its meat is protected from the shoulder bone – making it tender and so well flavoured, after all fat is flavour (it really is, I can’t emphasise that enough). Topped with a Piri Piri sauce, a Portuguese classic.
- And if that wasn’t enough we got 2 scrumptious desserts a shot of Nata meringue & cookie mousse and a rich firm chocolate mousse.
Everything without doubt was lovely – Jorge & Eleanor told me that in Portugal dishes are very simple, combining just a few ingredients, letting good quality meat, fish & seafood speak for its self yet adding flavour with maybe a tough of garlic, chilli, olive oil, stock, wine and gentle seasoning – with a coal char grill for that BBQ flavour – that’s perfection in its self.
I’d heard the food was good and it was, I would put it up there with the best restaurants in Norwich, the sort you don’t mind paying a little bit more for because you know the service, quality and dishes are going to be good.
Jorge said feedback and reviews were all good and the only thing that came back occasionally was the prices – we had a little chat about that. And I must admit on first reflection when they first opened I did think they were on the slightly higher side – but then when you think (like last week) I went to a gastro pub and paid £15 for my daughter to have an over cooked burger, which looked more like a meat ball in a bap!!! And when I ordered a £18 steak it came with freezer bag fries plus tough & over cooked meat.
With Jorge’s you are getting quality in a city centre restaurant. Quality ingredients cost money, good chefs cost money, city centre rents costs money and over heads cost lots of money – squid & squid ink, tiger prawns, Iberico ham, steak, clams and the like cost even more money.
Your, simply getting what you pay for. (unlike some places where you’re basically getting a factory produced ready meal cooked by an imp!!! – don’t get me started)
The tapas on the lunch time menu range from £4-7, like Char grilled traditional Chorizo with bread for £6.50, Asparagus & Black-Eyed Beans for £5, the sticky Chicken Wings for £5.50, you can get fries on the side for £3, olives & bread for £3.50 or just bread for £1.50.
Great to share – Great for meetings – Great for Friends, lovers and mothers – great for lunch.
While in the evening you could go for the ‘Terra & Mar’ £39 for 2 to share – Char-grilled steak, Black Pork & Tiger prawns.
Or that tender pork shoulder steak, served with peppers, onion and coriander Salsa for £15.50. Fancy a starter like Fresh Tuna with Almonds & Green Salsa for £6.50 plus there is lots more to choose from including Vegetarian options. Sides, home-made desserts and more.
Plus, not forgetting Jorge is a Sommelier – you’ll find a feast of quality wine, cocktails and other drinkable goodies on the menu including Portuguese Green Wine – – interestingly enough it’s not green, they just use that name to identify the region it’s from.
And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you – they’ll soon be bringing Sunday Brunch*** to Jorge’s – – how’s that.
Jorge’s Love Norwich Food Promotion
10% off our Tapas Lunch Menu
Terms & Conditions: This voucher entitles you to 10% off our Tapas Lunch Menu (Tuesday to Friday). Maximum party size: 4 diners. For one use only. Voucher not valid in conjunction with any other offer.
When booking your table please
quote: 10% LUNCH from Love Norwich Food and
present voucher (show this on your device) on arrival.
Valid Until: 31stAugust 2019
To Book –
Tel : 01603 764441
Tuesday 12:00-2:30 / 6:00-9:30 pm
Wednesday 12:00-2:30 / 6:00-9:30 pm
Thursday 12:00-2:30 / 6:00-9:30 pm
Friday 12:00-2:30 / 6:00-10:00 pm
Saturday 12:00-2:30 / 6:00-10:00 pm
Sunday Brunch – Starting soon***
Blogging by Zena Leech-Calton ©
Always happy to promote the GOOD independent STUFF Norwich & Norfolk has to offer.