Portuguese is the latest cuisine to join Norwich’s ever-expanding, global restaurant line-up. Situated next to Barclays and opposite Debenhams in Orford Place, Jorge’s is a new family-run restaurant with a focus on traditional plates from Portugal.
I love and have tried more than my fair share of Spanish food. Paul’s family are Spanish after all… There’s a lot of reviews of London tapas places on here, but so far I’ve not found many great tapas spots in Norfolk. It’s one of the few things I’ve missed since moving. Though Portuguese and Spanish cuisines have their own very distinct styles and specialities, they share a love of good seafood, meats and paprika-laden dishes. Bar Douro in London is supposed to be great for Portuguese food but I didn’t get there before I moved, so I was thrilled to hear that Norwich was getting its own Portuguese restaurant.
At dinner Jorge’s offer a more structured starter/main/dessert format, whilst the lunchtime menu is split into hot and cold sharing plates, more akin to tapas. We went for dinner.
Before our starters they served us a complimentary board of traditional Portuguese breads. It was a nice touch. On the board there was corn bread, sweet potato bread and normal bread with butter, marinated olives and these things called Tremoços, (I think…). I can only describe them as tasting like a bean crossed with an olive.
We loved both starters we had. The clams “Bulhão Pato” (£12) came in a citrussy herb butter which was delicate enough for the flavour of the clams to really shine through. As a very minor point, I would say that if you’re serving ten clams as a starter then all of them should be open and edible. I’ve always been taught that you shouldn’t eat any clams or mussels that don’t open after cooking. It could be that that’s just an old wives’ tale and I wasted a perfectly good clam though… Anyone know?
The bite-size pieces of “Pica Pau” black pork (£8) had a lovely, sweet flavour and held their own against a punchy, slightly spicy paprika sauce. The olives and pickled veg added an acidic burst every few mouthfuls. We both agreed that you needed the bread from the clams to mop up the sauce from the pork, so make sure you order some bread if you choose that!
The main menu is varied with several dishes that I liked the sound of. The Iberian pork cheeks, octopus and Iberico pork ribs all came close to being my main, but in the end intrigue won…
I’d never heard of Mozambique tiger prawns, and from my chat with Eleanor (Co-Founder), I can see why. It sounds like they had a real struggle to find the quality and size that they were used to in Portugal. She promised me that the taste is similar to lobster, and she wasn’t lying.
This was not your average prawn (nor your average price tag for one prawn!). Arguably the taste was as good as lobster, and certainly the pieces of meat are chunkier. The flavour is incredibly sweet and gentle. At £28.50 per prawn you do pay a lot for the uniqueness of the ingredient but, saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The caramelised pineapple served with it, though delicious, I found detracted from the natural sweetness of the prawn. Ditto for the hot sauce which I felt overpowered it. The chips were nice dunked in the hot sauce but we agreed that they needed something else which brought it all together on a dish that price.
Worryingly, despite having just shelled out almost £60 on main courses alone, we were both still a bit peckish. There was never any doubt that we’d both be trying the chocolate mousse for dessert (£5.50). It was very rich and quite dense (which is how I like mine), so that got a solid thumbs up from us both.
Luckily the portion was generous too, so we were comfortably full by the end of the meal.
Jorge himself was there to tell us all about the inspiration behind his menu and opening the restaurant. He spoke with pride of the small communities in Northern Portugal where strangers welcome you into their homes and cook for you with the freshest, simple ingredients. I like that and I really liked the spot they’ve chosen and how they’ve made it feel homely, like a neighbourhood restaurant.
They’re very newly opened and there’s a few teething issues for sure (our asparagus side turned up after we’d finished our main). I imagine that the dishes and menu will evolve over time to suit their market. It’s still the best Meditteranean restaurant I’ve been to in Norfolk so far.
However, I do think it’s slightly overpriced. We paid more per head at Jorge’s than we did at Brindisa, Camino and Barrafina which are all central London tapas restaurants, (Barrafina even has a Michelin star). So on that basis, I do think it’s pricey for a Norfolk restaurant. A few people I know who have been have shared the same sentiment. However it’s worth noting that not all of the mains are as expensive as ours was – we did both choose the most expensive one.
Overall there’s a lot to like about Jorge’s and the food is definitely worth returning for but I do think the pricing could put some people off a return visit.
Price: ££ (We paid just over £120 for 3 courses and 3 glasses of wine between us, including service).
Nearest Car Park: Castle Mall