Norwood House Hotel is a place that always catches my eye as I drive past, so when searching for a special restaurant for dinner with my sister recently, I looked no further than ‘a la mode’ restaurant at Norwood House.
Set in the scenic Shropshire countryside, Norwood House is conveniently located just a few minutes drive outside of Newport. The picturesque country cottage exterior conceals a stylish monochrome themed interior, which is home to ‘a la mode’ restaurant.
When we arrived, welcoming hotel owner Anita showed us through to the tasteful cocktail lounge bar where we ordered pre dinner drinks and had chance to look at the menu. The ever popular ‘Champagne’ menu is available on Friday and Saturday evenings and offers 3 courses from a tantalising selection of’ a la carte’ dishes and even includes a complimentary glass of bubbly, all for just £22.95 per person which is unbeatable value.
Norwood House will now be opening lunchtimes and have a great new menu with a tempting range of Gastro pub style light bites, mains and sandwiches which will be served between 12 til 3pm on Wednesday to Saturday lunchtimes and mid-week evenings (Wednesdays and Thursdays). There is a special ‘little people’s’ menu for children and also a 4-course traditional Sunday lunch menu, which looks incredible and definitely on my to do list!
Norwood has recently welcomed new Head Chef: Carl Stephenson, from The Huntsman, Little Wenlock – looking to build on his previous success, Carl brings his skills, expertise and passion to Newport. Carl has over 15 years experience and is renowned for his passion for hearty rustic food, the new menu reflects this and includes plenty of tempting British classics with an a la carte edge, we were delighted to be among the first to sample his new exciting menu.
After deliberating over the menu and finally making our choices, we were shown though to our table in the main restaurant, the ambience of ‘a la mode’ is classy yet cosy, the candlelit tables are adorned with crisp white linen table cloths, its these finishing touches that make it the perfect venue for a romantic meal for two or a sophisticated dinner with friends.
To start I ordered roasted red pepper and goats cheese muffin and my sister Fran ordered the tempura battered king prawns. My starter comprised a toasted English muffin, topped with sweet roasted red peppers and a generous slice of grilled goats cheese, it came beautifully presented on a bed of fresh rocket leaves dressed with a delicious star anise balsamic vinegar. What can I say, it was just divine and I am delighted to see it is available on the new lunch menu as well, as I think this may well be my new favourite dish and one I will certainly be coming back for very soon!
Fran described her tempura batter as light, crisp and golden, the prawns were succulent and just melted in the mouth. They were served with a sweet chilli mayonnaise, which was the perfect blend of creamy sweetness but with a lovely mild chilli kick, when she finished she said ‘they were so nice I could eat them again’.
For main course Fran ordered the pancetta wrapped chicken breast, stuffed with bacon and goats cheese. I ordered the slow braised shoulder of lamb. I am a big fan of slow cooked meat and my braised lamb was utterly perfect, it was so tender it simply melted in the mouth; it was served with a bacon and herb rosti, roasted winter vegetables and a mint jus. This dish is what winter nights are meant for; it was deliciously warming and very satisfying.
Fran’s chicken arrived artistically presented with the stuffed chicken breast on a bed of sautéed potatoes, accompanied by a portion of perfectly cooked buttered green beans and peppercorn sauce. The chicken was wrapped in crispy pancetta, inside the chicken breast was moist and succulent, with the goats cheese and bacon stuffing adding an extra dimension of flavour to the dish.
Next it was time to peruse the dessert menu, the selection on offer made it almost impossible to decide but in the end I went for the cinnamon panacotta and Fran chose the chocolate brownie. The chocolate brownie was so good that Fran didn’t let me have a look in, she did however tell me that ‘this brownie needs to be tried to be believed’ and let me tell you she has eaten her fair share of chocolate brownies so it must have been special! It was served with a decadent white chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and a raspberry coulis.
The panacotta did not disappoint either, the cinnamon really transformed this traditionally summery pudding into a warming winter treat, the flavours reminded me of bonfires and Christmas yet it was lovely and light and creamy, a great option when you’ve not much room left after the starter and main!
To finish our meal we opted for a cup of freshly brewed coffee which was served with fudge and an after eight mint, luckily it was after 8pm so we were ok to eat them straight away!
For all of the latest offers from Norwood House, it’s well worth ‘liking’ their facebook page for offers or visiting the website for latest menus and details of live entertainment schedule. I for one will making a return visit very soon to try out the new lunch menu with my family; I know my kids will love the ‘little people’ menu and I really can’t wait to enjoy another one of those goats cheese muffins!
Charlie Scott & Fran Davies