We'd wanted to stay here for some time, having read positive reviews of the restaurant in magazines and newspapers. A show at The Playhouse allowed us to take a short break in Norwich. There is a great deal that is positive about this hotel - good location, easy parking, pleasant grounds, excellent reception staff. The hotel looks cared for - clean, neat and orderly. The lady who cleaned our room was very helpful when we asked for the electronic air freshener to be removed (why does anyone use air fresheners, unless there is a problem?). The bar was comfortable and pleasant and we were able to relax.
Sadly, for us, the downside was the dinner. Cooking lacked attention to detail - perhaps tactlessly we asked if it was the chef's night off? It wasn't! The duck breast hadn't been seared in hot enough oil so whilst the flesh was correctly pink, the skin was like india-rubber. The fondant potato wasn't fondant. The red cabbage was marinated with so many cloves that it made your eyes water. Other aspects of the meal - starters, sorbet, desserts and coffee were good. Service was lacklustre. The wine list was good and well-priced. We found ourselves asking how the restaurant maintained two AA rosettes when it appeared only two tables on a Friday night were occupied by 'real' diners, the remainder being people having bar-snacks? The conservatory seemed very empty and soulless. It is a really diificult time for better quality hotels with good restaurants to survive unless they command higher prices and a big local reputation (cf Best Western Castle Green, Kendal, Cumbria). Norwich did not strike us as an affluent enough city to support high quality restaurants, so perhaps Annesley House needs to focus on its 'lighter bites' bar menu, cutting overheads and giving most people what they actually want. Either that or they need to go for the 'bistro' style as chef Simon Rimmer has done so successfully at his 'Earle Restaurant' at Hale in Cheshire - one of our favourites.
We would stay at Annesley House again, but probably would consider our dining arangements.
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Annesley Hotel
- Best Western Norwich
- Norwich Best Western