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Winter has arrived. Back when the blistering summer sun baked the pavements I looked forward with anticipation to the crisp mornings to come. What a sunglasses wearing pillock summer-me was. Like an Icelandic fishing village we only have 1 hour of light each day and night falls by 11am. With the bears of the great northern wildernesses, or the tortoise on Blue Peter, it is time for me to begin preparations for my great hibernation. Fetch me a box with straw, wipe my eyes with damp cotton wool and bring me a feast to see me through the frozen months. Where then, on another chilly night, could be enough to tempt to out of my house? Jive, and I think I found all the food I need until spring.


JIVE


THE ATMOSPHERE Jive opened just a few months ago, prominently placed on the corner of Exchange Street and Gaol Hill it brings delicious Mexican food to the heart of the city centre. Up a narrow flight of stairs it feels like a secret, something special hidden away in plain sight. Spread across two small floors of dining, the rooms evoke a South American streetscape, bringing the outside indoors, and echoes the menu of fun street food brought inside. Huge windows help this effect, walls stripped to the plaster and brick and wires and lights zigzag back and forth over our heads create a stylish setting. It’s just next door to Captain America’s Hamburger Heaven, and in the current political climate I hope this doesn’t cause friction. Building a wall would be impractical as it would cut through both the cosmetics section of Jarrolds and the rights of all peace loving foodies of Norwich. However, this opening has scuppered my long held ambition to open my own restaurant, Te Red Skulls Hot Dog Hell. Eat one sausage in a bun and eight more take its place. Hail Hydra!


APPETISERS Buffalo halloumi with Arbol chilli and toasted cucumber. Tose rubbery little morsels are very willing vessels for the strong flavours of this dish. A sweet hotness pricks the tip of your tongue while


26 / December 2016/outlineonline.co.uk


KITCHEN & BAR


the savoury saltiness of the cheese treats the back of the mouth. Cool cucumber offers welcome contrast. A lovely way to warm up from the street. Pinto bean bocoles with Pico de Gallo. Fortunately the bottom of the menu has ‘Jive talk’ (tee hee), a handy translation of some of the ingredients and dishes. Bocoles are mashed black bean balls, beautifully crispy on the outside but soft and smooth inside with a healthy dose of Pice de Gallo (a salsa of tomato, red onion and coriander) and a cool yogurt.


MAIN EVENT Girthy and enticing, my Beef Barbecoa burrito was served with a small side of tortilla chips and salsa. Tis beast was magnificent, beautiful soft flour tortilla griddled crisp, the fillings perfectly assembled and beautifully presented. Tender shredded beef formed the flavourful centrepiece, crispy lettuce, crema, crispy sweet potato, grated cheese and guacamole all made for a hearty mouthful. It felt like a proper meal, formidable and full of taste. I absolutely loved it. With this we had a plate of maso fried cauliflower tacos, lime, aioli and hazelnut slaw. As with the last dish they have managed to make street food feel more refined, clean and fresh. Te batter coating the cauliflower made these each a little


treat. For me the flour tortillas did feel a bit too doughy; it was tasty to begin with but we felt unable to eat it all.


DESERT CHURROS! A spiral of sweet dough fried to a crisp and drowning in sugar it was poured with a tar like substance that turned out to be butterscotch sauce. Eat it or use it to hang wallpaper, it was thick, sticky and delicious. With a rapidly melting ball of vanilla ice the hot churro was a great way to finish the meal.


CONCLUSION Jive makes food fun. In a relaxed but stylish setting some great food is being served. Te menu is not enormous but packed with exciting propositions, each one more exciting than the last. I get to visit quite a few great restaurants, many of which I can never find a chance to go back to. However, I’ll definitely be making my way back here very soon, at least, once I’ve been unpacked from my cardboard box in the spring.


JAMES MACDONALD


VENUE FODDER VALUE OVERALL


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