Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheeky drinks and naughty treats at The Norfolk

I'm not sure if it's age, influence or preferred crowd but when catching up with a large group of friends these days, it tends to happen at a pub rather than a restaurant.

More often than not it's one of the revamped Surry Hills pubs where there's well-priced food, plenty of booze options and easy access home. And The Norfolk is one of the favourites.

Bloody Mary at The Norfolk, Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
The Drink and Dine group - of The Norfolk, The Abercrombie, The Carrington, The Forresters and upstairs Queenies, The Flinders and the recently-opened Santa Barbara in Kings Cross (where the Piano Room used to be) - have the formula down pat.

Fun and quirky theming, proper yet affordable food plus cocktails, and a pub environment where it's entirely appropriate to get a little rowdy.

The Norfolk does a darn good Bloody Mary, served in a tin can. While there are a number of variations available, I admit it's just the original with a dash or two of Tabasco sauce that does it for me.

Fried chicken wings (front) and  fries (back)
This was the first time I had fried chicken wings at The Norfolk, after so many prior visits. And damn, they're about the best fried chicken wings in Sydney. So crunchy in a non-oily golden batter; so juicy they may well have had a sous vide treatment; and so moreish we had to order another plate.

The fluffy crinkle cut chips, which we frankly don't see enough of anymore, come tossed in a spice mixture with a tomato-ey sauce.

Deep fried pickles with ranch dipping sauce (front) and salt and pepper squid (back)
You've got your crunchy, your tartness and your creaminess, all in a deep fried pickle with ranch dipping sauce. I'm not sure which crazy person thought of this combination, but it's a winner with the pickle holding its own against the oily richness of the batter and sauce.

They're miles ahead of the salt and pepper squid in terms of innovativeness and deliciousness. The squid, served with jalapeno aioli, was insanely salty - so much that I only managed a single tentacle piece.

Chicken taco
Moving away from the deep fried food momentarily, a variety of tacos hit the table in a flurry with the chicken in front of me.

I'm so glad that the Mexican game has picked up in Sydney, although there's still a lot of nachos with sour cream going on. The soft tortilla of the chicken taco held lettuce, diced Spanish onion and cucumber, salsa guacamole and an orange chipotle mayonnaise.

Chicken quesadilla with Jack cheese, onion and salsa verde
The chicken quesadilla looked even better than the tacos, the cut wedges topped with salsa verde while the sides oozed with cheese.

Grilled haloumi with peppers and tomato salsa
The grilled haloumi was another dish high on the saltiness scale, served with grilled green peppers and a salsa, and topped with an array of fresh herbs. It was an odd one that was probably from the mains menu and a little harder to share among the group.

Several more cheeky cocktails and beers later, the naughty, salty, deep fried food didn't feel quite so bad. The bar closes quite promptly at 11:45pm and we were shooed out at midnight, forcing an early night upon us. Indeed, I wonder if age has decided that it likes the Surry Hills curfew.

The Norfolk on Urbanspoon


Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

I've not tried any of these places from the drink and dine group. I don't know why I haven't got my act together yet because it seems like it's my type of food!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I've still yet to check this place out and that fried chicken sounds really scrumptious! Love it when places serve crinkle cut chips :)

chocolatesuze said...

teehee the fried pickles are always a winner!

joey@FoodiePop said...

I've heard so much of the fried pickles here; I wonder how they'd go on a burger? Hmmm ....

My Kitchen Stories. said...

Its fun isnt it. Great for a crowd as you say. Looks like you had a great time

Trisha said...

I find that before midnight, my head's buzzing but beyond midnight I just cannot function. Those drinks, those fried foods, those Mexican dishes... ahhhhh they all look good!!!

Mr C @ The Food Diary said...

Love the look of all the fried food, probably unhealthy for me but I can't help it! :D

Tina said...

Hi Tina - Oh, they're awesome for group nights out - you must try them!

Hi Vivian - The Norfolk is great fun; possibly my favourite of the lot.

Hi suze - Yuh-huh :)

Hi joey - Didn't think of that, but they're so awesome on their own.

Hi My Kitchen Stories - I think all their venues are great for groups; great fun.

Hi Trisha - Ahh, gotta love getting old ;)

Hi Mr C - Yep, totally unhealthy so not a regular meal :)


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