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s the incessant summer sun

beats down and Norwich slowly melts like a forlorn Solero dropped on the pavement, Te Belle Vue stands. It stands squat and firm at the corner of St Philips Road, a resolute and reassuring presence. Sweat from my scorched brow blurs my vision but the great jutting edifice of air conditioned bliss is no mirage. Tis is an oasis of real ale and good food and I fight through the gazelles to reach the bar.

THE ATMOSPHERE In this weather I’d huddle under the shade of a broken golf umbrella and sip lychee Rubicon from a tin can and be grateful; I am pleased to say the Belle Vue is a considerable step up! I find myself on a beautifully upholstered dark wooden bench seat beneath an enormous wall of windows that reach the height of the tall Victorian ceiling. Te wall of glass welcomes in the boundless blue sky and almost stretches up to meet it. Light floods in to the simple but attractive bar / dining area and I fight the natural urge of my pasty nerd bod to cringe from the sun.

26 / August 2016/

A traditional building brought right up to date but retaining some key period features, the fireplace, light fitting, ceiling rose, it’s just a nice place to spend time. It’s also a Pokéstop with free wifi so, you know, don’t bother reading the rest of the review, just get over there.

THE MAIN EVENT It’s hot and my energy is draining faster than my phone battery (thanks Pokémon Go!), I need something light. Oh, it’s a Sunday... roast it is then! Beef, chicken, pork or vegan nut roast, my four favourite farmyard animals. I chose the pork as it comes with a generous sprinkling of crackling to crown the mountainous meal - golden, crisp and sticky it’s always a favourite. All the roasts come with the usual trimmings but with a few subtle twists. Te crispy kale was (oddly) one of the more interesting parts of the dish, providing a genuinely unusual crisp texture to find in a roast dinner and a delicious sweetness that was most welcome. Broccoli and cauliflower with a generous and gloriously sea of cheese sauce, delicious golden, fluffy roast spuds and an enormous Yorkshire pud. No messing with side plates - it all came together in stack of joy. Nestled somewhere beneath were some sweet carrots and parsnips. It may not be the most obvious choice on such a warm day but it was a winner. Te pork loin itself was a wonderfully flavoursome cut of meat that was perfectly cooked to be soft and moist. A Sunday roast seems easy to cook but difficult to master. Tere are a lot of decent Sunday roasts in Norwich; this definitely held its own.

Te nut roast is now vegan and a lovely alternative for those who respect our delicious animal brethren - it had an earthy sage flavour and held a nice consistency.

PUD Waistband stretched and unsure if the sweat on my face was from the heat or the overabundance of food, we perused the dessert menu. It is limited but has a few firm favourites, I would have liked to see some more lighter seasonal offers alongside the established must have’s. We shared a selection of Ronaldo’s ices in a sundae glass in an effort to cool down. Te tart and acidic mango and raspberry sorbets were just the thing to refresh and cleanse the palate.

OVERALL Tis is a great local pub in a lovely part of town. It has great events including film screenings and quizzes, there are themed food nights for chicken wings or burgers, a nice beer garden and real ales. Tere’s a lot going on and a lot to make for a great meal out. Also it’s a Pokéstop so, you know, why are you even still reading this?

James MacDonald


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