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orwich’s venerable city street names invoke the noble, the regal and the royal. Take King Street, splashed with class and lined with historic buildings, or Prince of Wales Road, splashed with sick and lined with urinating drunks and… well, usually more sick.

Timeless! Tink on though, to a street lower in the ordnance survey peerage but higher in my estimation for a single reason. Duke Street. It is home to Te Golden Star, a glowing gem in the crown jewels of Norwich’s pub scene.

THE ATMOSPHERE I’ve only known the Golden Star as a drinking hole up until now so it came as a pleasant surprise when the call came to fill my face in this place. It is now home to Te Colegate Bistro. A perennial favourite of local pub goers, for our visit the front doors were open to let a welcome late summer breeze drift through the bar and between the patrons. Tere were plenty of them too, either on the way home from work or well on the way to the weekend. Te Golden Star is a beautiful traditional pub with an exposed brick frontage offset with cute yellows and pale blues. Te interior is rustic with plenty of charming features, a partially tiled floor and an eclectic mix of tables and chairs. Te name is taken seriously; offsetting this rustic chic are flashes of gold everywhere with the star a recurring motif. Rumour has it, if you can find all 397 stars hidden around the place you win a slice of malt loaf wrapped in gold tinsel. I draw the line at the gold wallpaper on the ceiling though – IT’S CALLED WALLPAPER FOR A REASON YOU DEVIANTS! I thought I was lying on the floor until I figured it out.

26 / October 2016/

MAIN EVENT Te menu is not enormous but offers a nice sounding selection and caters for vegetarians and vegans and is changed every few weeks. At one end of the bar is the specials blackboard and I made my choice from here, Gressingham Duck Breast. Te presentation was beautiful and the dish really delivered on flavour. Soft, yielding and wonderfully inviting the bird glistened in the soft light of the bar; a pink tenderness contrasted with the gloriously golden brown skin. An aggressive slash of blackberry jus cut across the white plate in stark contrast to the delicate duck. In flavour too, the blackberries across the plate burst a sharp sweetness to add to the enjoyment. With the addition of sprouting broccoli and artichoke hearts it was a rather nicely assembled dish. With this we also ordered a warm stilton-dressed mushroom, savoury, substantial and simple. Te stilton goes nicely with the earthy mushroom but the leafy salad was a bit of a slightly uninteresting bed and needed the radishes and artichokes to add variety. I’m told the Christmas menu

will be out in a few weeks and I can imagine this will make a cosy spot for a winter meal out. Sadly I’m entirely incapable of thinking about Christmas until after the 23 December so that’ll be a write off for me.

PUD Chocolate and Pecan cheesecake – just amazing. Dense and delicious it was served with the thickest cream I’ve seen, it poured like white oil straight from the jug to my arteries. With this we also had a pear and almond frangipane, a much gentler and more subtle flavour, not the show stopper the cheesecake was, but still rather nice when paired with the sharp ice cream and coulis it came with.

OVERALL I’d always known this as a drinking pub and the busy procession of people on a Friday night would agree. Te realisation that it also serves some lovely meals does seem to be dawning on folk, however, as we weren’t alone in sampling the menu. Make the effort to saunter down Duke Street and you’ll be in for a bit of a treat.




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