A blog full of food with a little craftyness thrown in!

REVIEW: The Harbercue Smokehouse @ The Mash Tun, Norwich

It’s getting close to that time of year again when we are asked to go out and about with friends in the name of ‘Christmas’. Rather selfishly, I’ve made a big effort this year to direct friends to places I’ve never been so I get to do a review for my readers at the same time!

The Harbercue Smokehouse was previously inside The Ten Bells in Norwich. It’s a rather nice pub but the dining area was really limited and I can imagine the kitchen was tiny too! So, when I heard that Harbercue had moved to The Mash Tun I knew I had to try it again in a larger venue.

First Impressions
The Mash Tun is a great pub. It has the kind of quirky decor that really appeals to me and also has a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere that I really enjoyed.

It’s owned by the Redwell Brewery so you can be sure of some excellent ales to go with your food. They also have some kind of infusing tap which they load extra ingredients into in order to flavour the ale. On this occasion it was apple and blackberries and this was all I wanted to drink whilst I was there as it was delicious! 9/10

The service from the bar was really friendly and efficient; the barman was chatty with regards to the infused beer and showed he really enjoyed making it.

In the restaurant, the service was good too. The server seemed friendly with the diners and eager to help. Unfortunately, it appears the servers from Harbercue are not able to get drinks from the bar, resulting in diners having to leave their tables to get more drinks. Not a problem if it’s quiet, but could result in some cold meals or thirsty diners at busy times! 7.5/10

The Food
The theme of the menu is, as you’ve probably guessed, american smokehouse. There are a variety of smoked meats on offer with various sides as well as burgers, chicken wings and more.

Without a doubt the highlight of the whole meal for me was these little battered jalapenos. They packed quite the kick which was complimented perfectly by a little blue cheese dip served alongside. We also ordered the battered pickles (gherkins) which were nice too, but a bit bland and oily for my taste.

For my main course, I ordered the beef brisket with sides of double cooked fries and macaroni cheese.

The fries were good, as I would expect and had just the right amount of crunch.

The smoked brisket had a wonderful flavour. Lovely and smokey with a slight amount of spice. If I was being picky, I’d say it could have been cooked a bit longer as it was a little tough.

I was really looking forward to the macaroni but sadly I was a tad disappointed. The pasta itself was slightly mushy, as if overcooked and the cheese was very bland and tasted of nothing. It’s not exactly a complicated dish to cook either; a little less cooking of the pasta and a stronger cheese and it would have been a lovely dish!

A friend ordered the ‘Harbercue Burger’ which was essentially a beef burger topped with pulled pork. He echoed my thoughts that the food was tasty but lacked the ‘wow factor’ we had been expecting.

One other highlight of the meal was the selection of sauces. The hot sauces are prepared from scratch and they had a lot of flavour, as well as varying levels of heat!

Overall, food was good but could be excellent. 6.5/10

Value For Money
My main course was £8.50 which included the sides; I found this to be good value for money.

The burgers are around £8-9 with an additional £1.50 for 1 side. I found this to be a little more expensive but again not horrendous.

The battered jalapenos and pickles were £3.00 and that included the lovely dip too. Excellent value.

All things considered, a good score for value: 8/10

We visited at the beginning of an evening of drinking with work colleagues and Harbercue was perfect for that. It’s not somewhere I would want to bring a loved one for an intimate meal, nor would I advise it as a good venue for couples with children.

Would I go again? For the same kind of situation, definitely! Overall score of 7/10

I really hope you enjoyed reading this review, and if you go to Harbercue let me know what you think of it!

As an aside, one other of the (many!) places we visited on Friday night was Gonzo’s Tea Rooms. A great and quirky venue for a few drinks; in particular, this Hot Spiced Vanilla Cider was excellent and worth a trip to try this, even if you drink nothing else! 

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