Norfolk Arms, 28 Leigh Street, WC1H 9EP; www.norfolkarms.co.uk; Tube: Russell Square
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Who would've thought that a lick of cream-coloured paint could make such a big difference? The Brunswick centre has morphed, almost overnight, from a dump, to a shiny, trendy, desirable hotspot. The area around the centre also seems to be basking in new energy, with lots of lovely looking pubs. The Norfolk Arms has tables on the street for the sun-lovers who are brave enough to withstand the spring chills. Inside there is a cosy, European feel. The tables, chairs, floor and wall are all roughly coloured in creams and whites. The wine comes in glass tumblers and there are yummy-looking sausages hung behind the bar. We started with 1/2 pints of juicy prawns served with delightfully yellow home-made mayonnaise for dunking. The main course (chosen from the £10 set menu as part of a token-collect offer in the Times) was lentil and squid stew - a hearty bowl of puy lentils, blackened further with squid ink and sprinkled with bits of squid. My one complaint was that it would have tasted even better with the addition of some juicy chorizo. Tapas plates carried past us to other tables looked pretty good too and we needed a big dose of will power to resist ordering more wine (a very quaffable rose for £14) and a plate of charcuterie "for dessert". This is the sort of place you could easily linger in on lost afternoons.