Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Eating out for Gluten Free Pizza!

A really quick post aimed at the gluten free readers! Restraunts are rapidly catching up with changing dietary requirements and now Bella Italia do gluten free pasta and pizza. I've tried some great gluten free pasta at both Jamie's Italian and Carluccio's but gluten free pizza was a first. They were really quite good as well, I had the Pollo Picante, a tasty chicken and chilli pizza with a thin and crispy gluten free base. My girlfriend also went for the gluten free pizza base, (mainly because I usually eat any leftovers!) with pepperoni and she said she wouldn't have known the difference. It's just really good to be able to go out for a pizza now and again rather than having to make your own (although there are some great pizza recipes). Hopefully more restaurants will follow this trend!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Return to the Last Wine Bar, Norwich

I originally reviewed the Last Wine Bar in Norwich on 5th February where it was severely let down by poor service. On that occasion I was asked to fill out a card with my details and they said they would 'see what they could do'. A couple of months later, a letter arrived through the door stating that I had 'won a 3 course meal for 2'. Either, I flukely won the prize draw or they gave it to me so that we would come back. You can make your own mind up! I think I'd have much rather they had acknowledged the poor service delivered on the first occasion and asked me to return. In the end however, who am I to turn down a free meal?!

My girlfriend and I went back with high hopes, the food had been really good the first time round and surely the service couldn't be as disastrous. It was much improved, in fact, we had to take a break between our main and dessert as they had been so prompt throughout. On the other hand, it wasn't perfect. There were a few tempting specials on offer but instead of these being delivered with a true knowledge of what they were serving they were read by the waitress off a scrap of paper she had in her pocket. Only a minor niggle but just detracts from the overall experience.
Seared scallops on a bed of sweet potato and kaffir lime purée with curried popcorn.
The food was again good. I started with one of the specials, seared scallops on a bed of sweet potato and kaffir lime purée with curried popcorn. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the purée was smooth and light and had a real zingy flavour. The popcorn was as random as it sounded though, it tasted great and was a nice idea but just felt a bit out of place with the overall dish. My girlfriend had the char-grilled king prawns, vegetable curry, cumin popadoms and mango salsa which she said was 'very tasty and a nice balanced dish'. I then wanted the roast cod with crab velouté but as I'm gluten free this wasn't an option because, 'the chef thickens all his sauces with flour'. So instead, I opted for the lemon sole with caper, and sundried tomato butter, served with new potatoes. The fish was again beautifully cooked and the butter a beautiful accompaniment but it's a shame the butter wasn't on both sides as eating the second half of the fish was a little bland. The sirloin steak, with Dijon mash, watercress and a balsamic and red onion jus was my girlfriend's choice and received a good write up. For dessert I had a raspberry and basil panacotta which was good if lacked a little wow factor. My girlfriend opted for the passion fruit cheesecake with passion fruit syrup. The cheesecake was described as a 'little bland' but the passion fruit syrup was 'wonderful' so another decent dish.
Char-grilled king prawns, vegetable curry, cumin popadoms and mango salsa
With the bill only coming to £23, this was pretty incredible. Had I been paying full whack, I think I may have been left with a slightly sour taste in my mouth. The service was much improved but at these prices it should be at the top of it's game. Likewise, there were some good dishes and a few that just didn't quite hit the mark. At the moment, this restaurant is being outclassed by better establishments in Norwich.