If you’re local to Norwich you would of heard of the pub The Wildebeest, based over in the south of Norwich, Stoke Holy Cross.
The pub, considering its rural location has been pulling in the crowds for years, serving some of the best food in the region and never having an empty car park. Owners Chef Daniel Smith and Greg Adjemian were looking to expand their pub portfolio after already succeeding with their other incredible pub, the Ingham Swan. So naturally I wanted to hereabout and try their latest, more central located project, ‘The Warwick St Social’.
Launched on 31st May 2016, Warwick St Social is a completely new concept on the Norwich scene in a prime location set in the heart of the fashionable Golden Triangle – an urban meeting place for breakfast, casual daytime dining, dinnertime get-togethers and so much more.
From those of you that are local, will of known this pub by it’s previous name as The Mad Moose, a once lively sports style pub with a predominantly ale swigging clientele, whilst theres nothing wrong with this, the size and location of the pub, I always thought could offer so much more. So, after a complete overhaul from top to bottom, a new bar, gastro style ‘shorditch chic makeover and a finely tuned menu, the doors proudly opened in May 2016. From what I could see, the team obviously worked hard using the social media pull, in fact I first viewed this pub via twitter and instgram and didnt even realise the location or link to it’s former name! The brand designers at Jordan Blyth defiantly got everything right, sleek logo, gorgeous menu design and the small details throughout are presented beautifully.
By day, WSS is a low key spot ideal for a lazy breakfast with the newspapers, a lunchtime tipple and maybe a social bite or an afternoon stop-and-chat with the choice to settle into the snug, experience the private dining areas, grab a drink at the ‘social table’ or enjoy the best kept secret in the Golden Triangle – the large outside Terrace. Beyond the bar, there are adventures in food with exciting experiences for foodies with a seasonal approach using unrivalled fresh fruit and veg grown on Our Farm, locally-sourced meat and fish, artisan breads baked twice daily on site and ice creams made from scratch.
I first sampled the menu for a night out with my wife in September, seated upstairs in the cosy, freshly decorated restaurant, I was instantly impressed with the simple yet well thought out menu, stepping away from the higher end traditional à la carte style from their other two pubs, this menu was in my opinion targeting the more regular diners from the golden triangle of norwich, pricing was set perfectly with an average meal for two costing Between £40 and £50. After sampling a good few dishes from the menu, it’s refreshing for me to see fresh, locally sourced produce being used to create some gorgeous dishes. I loved the harissa baked sweet potato and the steaks are cooked to perfection, the burger is undoubtedly one of the best I’ve eaten, clearly stepping away from the hideous ‘on trend’ covered in cheese and fat burgers that are in every location I’ve seen in 2016, from street feast Dinerama to dirty burger. To me a burger should be set in a soft homemade brioche roll, simple sauces and quality mixed fat content meat and not drizzled in fat, melting 15 cheeses and painted in butter!. So hands up to WWS on getting it ‘just right’.
Another thing to try if you’re popping in for a light bite is the buttermilk chicken, simple batter created with fennel seeds and a light spice is perfect! Served up with fries and a light asian style slaw.
The pub has been set into three areas, the main bar downstairs, designed in a similar style to soho house in London, with a large sweeping bar, comfortable seating areas and eames style danish furniture, the snug area, great for families like ours, we sat in there for many hours on a Saturday with both our 3 and 5 year olds eating and playing, then you have the upstairs restaurant, perfect for intermit dining or family gatherings.
I caught up with a regular friendly face of Norwich Tom Hurrell, Tom as general manager for WSS has worked in numerous locations in the city and offers a wealth of knowledge, from food to drink to perfect hospitality, he guided me through their new menu and suggested a collaboration with Hastes Kitchen with the WSS chef Daniel Smith, Daniel recently competed in series 11 of the Great British Menu for BBC2, wherein he offered some incredible dishes. His food knowledge is second to none and spans back to 20 years of high end kitchen experience. So watch this space for a HK – WSS collaboration.
So, if you’re in the golden triangle, be sure to pop in sample some of the new menu, have a glass of wine and enjoy being greated by the warm friendly faces of this beautifully revived pub. Well done WSS, you get five stars from us.