July 16, 2024

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Food review of The Belgian Monk in the Norwich Lanes

4 min read

We found ourselves a table inside the cosy surrounds of the Belgian Monk in Pottergate to find out if it lives up to its reputation. 

Norwich Evening News: The baked camembert starter at the Belgian MonkThe baked camembert starter at the Belgian Monk (Image: Stuart Anderson)READ MORE: Gem of Norwich: What did our restaurant reviewer think?

Drinks-wise, this place is all about the beer. They offer around 50 types – enough for at least two or three visits without trying the same thing twice. 

I ordered the half-pint flight of Petrus (£13.20) – four small pots of draught served on a paddle and oh what a sight to warm the cockles of a beer-lover’s heart!

The Petrus Blond packed a punch at 6.6pc but was nonetheless smooth and springy, while the Petrus Dubble (7pc) punched harder with its darker, sweeter tone. 

Norwich Evening News: The half-pint flight of Petrus at the Belgian Monk in NorwichThe half-pint flight of Petrus at the Belgian Monk in Norwich (Image: Stuart Anderson)READ MORE: Food review: MyMakan Malaysian restaurant in Norwich

There was also a triple-brewed beer – I think – and an 8.5pc red that packed a malty punch but please don’t take my word on all these details as I was feeling like the proverbial newt by the time I’d got that far.

Bec wrinkled her nose at a taste of the red – strong beer isn’t for everyone – but enjoyed her own tipple, a crisp cheery beer called Ter Dolen Kriek (£5.95 for 33cl). 

We shared a baked camembert as a starter, which seemed expensive at £13.50. We realised the price was fully justified when the dish arrived at the table in all its pipping hot, aromatic glory. The cheese was coated in brazil oil that gave a refreshing, herbal contrast to the cheese, which oozed with rich, earthy flavours.

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The camembert had a warm and gooey consistency but was not overly runny, and before long the dish’s entire contents were demolished. A little more bread would have been appreciated, but other than that, this was pretty much the perfect starter. 

Turning to mains, I chose one of the dishes the Belgian Monk has become famous for in its 22-year history in Norwich – the Tartiflette. 

Norwich Evening News: The Tartiflette at the Belgian Monk in NorwichThe Tartiflette at the Belgian Monk in Norwich (Image: Stuart Anderson)It’s a dish that’s far more fun to eat than it is to pronounce, and apparently, it’s been around for more than 300 years. 

Versions including Espana, Rustic and Traditional are on offer, but I went for one called Francais (£15) which came with wild mushrooms, garlic and parsley. 

The dish is essentially a pan full of well-baked potatoes mixed with a soft French cheese called Reblochon along with onions and cream, and you get a crusty baguette on the side. 

The savoury and creamy flavours mingled beautifully. The mushrooms gave it an earthy, umami richness while the cheese had a buttery, nutty profile. 

Subtle notes of garlic and parsley gave extra depth, and before long the pan was wiped clean thanks to the baguette. 

Norwich Evening News: The pork belly at the Belgian Monk in NorwichThe pork belly at the Belgian Monk in Norwich (Image: Stuart Anderson)Bec’s main was the pork belly (£19). Another beautifully presented meal, this came with a serving of red cabbage hiding under an apple compote and a generous serving of stoemp, a Belgian potato puree. 

Geuze beer sauce was poured around the edge in the place of gravy. 

It looked delicious, almost like a continental version of the classic British Sunday roast dinner.

Bec was very impressed, and said it was a great mix of savoury and tangy flavours. The skin on the pork belly wasn’t crispy, but she said that’s just way she likes it. The meat was melt-in-the-mouth and the red cabbage gave a nice, sweet kick.

With food this good we both made sure there was space for pudding. 

Norwich Evening News: The chocolade kersen torte at the Belgian Monk in NorwichThe chocolade kersen torte at the Belgian Monk in Norwich (Image: Stuart Anderson)I ordered a chocolade kersen torte (£7.50). A scoop of vanilla ice cream was dolloped on top of this cheesecake, which was drizzled with caramel and vanilla sauce. 

This was really a delight for the tastebuds, a decadent masterpiece of chocolatey sweetness. The cheesecake’s crust had a delightful texture and contrasted beautifully with its creamy toppings. 

Bec had the Dames Blanche (£6) which was vanilla ice cream – two scoops – served in a sundae bowl with chocolate sauce and cream. 

Norwich Evening News: The Dames Blanche at the Belgian Monk in NorwichThe Dames Blanche at the Belgian Monk in Norwich (Image: Stuart Anderson)This was a simple dish – it was the quality of the ingredients that made it. The vanilla ice cream acted as a perfect base, while the chocolate sauce – which was served in a separate bowl for drizzling, was the star of the show. 

It made for a comforting, and not overly sweet finish to the meal. 

The service at the Belgian Monk was impeccable – our main server was a new employee and completely charming. Another member of staff came over and gave me an introduction to each of the tipples on the flight of beers.

Our total bill for two three-course meals and drinks aplenty came to £90.17, which included a service charge of £10.02. Altogether we felt very well looked after and I would certainly not hesitate to return.

*Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.


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