Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wetherspoons The Bell Hotel, Norwich

Due to being on a pretty tight budget at the minute, Wetherspoons is one of the first go to places when it comes to going out for lunch or dinner. The Bell Hotel in Norwich is a branch of Wetherspoons I hadn’t been to though until very recently. Although the boyfriend and I had spent the whole day shopping and spending quite a bit of money, we wanted to skimp on dinner and headed here.

The Bell Hotel is situated right in the middle of Norwich, close to all of the shops and shopping centres so it is easily accessible by foot or bus although as far as I could tell, there is nowhere to park. However, if you are coming into Norwich by train there is a different branch of Wetherspoons just around the corner from the station which would be a better and easier option.

5 Orford Hill

01603 630017

Staff and service
The staff at The Bell Hotel are by far the nicest I have come across in any Wetherspoons. Maybe this is Norfolk thing though as everyone here seems pretty damn friendly. When ordering our food and drinks at the bar, the staff member serving us was very friendly and helpful when it came to answering questions we had about our meal. I didn’t want any sauces on mine and as it doesn’t state anything about that on the menu, we were assured that there would be no sauces on the sausage but instead, there would be a pot of mustard on the side. We were also shown where the other sauces were should we want any.

Even though there were quite a few people in the pub at the time of our visit, our food only took 10 minutes to come out. The same guy who took our order brought our meals over to us, asked if we needed anything else and left us to enjoy our food. Something that I hate in restaurants is the waiting staff coming over within a couple of minutes of the food being brought over and asking if everything is ok. Here at The Bell Hotel, we were given a good amount of time before this happened and we were also asked in a wonderful, polite manner and then left to enjoy our food.

After finishing our meals, the table was cleared within a couple of minutes and again, we were asked if everything was ok with our food. Even though we were quite full at this point, we still wanted dessert. Again, we headed up to the bar, where there was no waiting time to be served and placed our order. Back at the table, I glanced over at the bar and could see the staff having good old chats with the customers placing their orders and those stood drinking at the bar. It was so nice to see bar staff having a genuinely good time at work and also making the customers feel so welcome.

I really think that the staff here are some of the best in any pub, let alone a Wetherspoons branch.

Food and Drink
As we were only here for dinner, we didn’t get to sample much from the drinks menu. However, like most Wetherspoons, The Bell Hotel offers a large range of drinks from soft drinks, Alco pops, cocktails and a whole load of spirits and beers. As pubs go, Wetherspoons is one of the best when it comes to value for money as they always have offers on and are very competitive with other chains.

When it comes to food, Wetherspoons pretty much offer everything you can think of. Open over breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu is pretty extensive and there really is something for everyone. If we normally go to a Wetherspoons to eat, both John and I usually opt for the burger and drink offer but this time, we wanted something different. The Bell Hotel has a fantastic range of food to offer a hungry customer. As well as the burger and drink offer, you could have a curry, salad, jacket potato, sandwich or a steak along with much more. Something I had never seen on a Wetherspoons menu before though was hot dogs, which is something I am quite picky about. I hate those thin, watery hot dogs which don’t really taste of much. Still, both John and I decided to give Wetherspoons’ hot dogs a try seeing as neither of us had ever had one before.

Like the burger deal, you can get a hot dog with chips and a drink for roughly £4 which is what I had. John opted for the gourmet hot dog which had added chilli and cheese and came with both chips and onion rings. The gourmet hot dog cost just over £5. With this offer, you can have a soft drink or choose from a list of alcoholic drinks such as a pint of lager or vodka and coke for a slightly larger price. As our meals were at such a good price, we weren’t really expecting much. However, when our meals were brought over to the table, we were both quite shocked.

The hot dogs were double the size of what we were expecting and they came in lovely, fresh baguette buns with a side of chips and were served on long, rectangular plates. My plain hot dog did indeed come plain with no sauce or anything but there was a side pot of mustard on the plate as well. John’s hot dog was absolutely loaded with chilli that had a generous dollop of cheese on the top. Both meals looked amazing and we couldn’t wait to tuck into them.

As hot dogs go, these were pretty great. Now, the best hot dog I have ever had was from a street vendor in Toronto and nothing has ever come close to that but this does now come in second place. The hot dog is made from pork and was steaming hot on arrival. The bun was soft on the inside with a slight crunch to the edges. The chips were very lovely and fluffy on the inside with a crispy outer layer and the two items went really well together. These hot dogs are also a very filling meal and are well worth the money.

When it comes to desserts, I always have chocolate fudge cake from any Wetherspoons which comes with ice cream and costs just over £3. John had an ice cream sundae which came with warm brownie chunks, Belgian chocolate sauce and cream. This also cost just over £3. It only took a couple of minutes for our desserts to come out which is probably the quickest service I have ever had in any branch of Wetherspoons. I don’t know why, but desserts always seem to take ages. My chocolate fudge cake was the same as always but it always tastes great to me. John’s ice cream sundae again, was much bigger than he was expecting it to be. This came in a large sundae glass, filled to about three quarters high with brownie chunks and ice cream while the top had a lot of whipped cream. I can honestly say that he thoroughly enjoyed his dessert as much as I did.

As branches of Wetherspoons go, this is one of the best I have been in. With a great food and drinks menu (which I know are pretty much the same everywhere), the friendly and welcoming staff really helped to make our visit so pleasant and because of that, this branch is one I would go back to any time I am in Norwich.

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