Restaurants Reviews and Such

Jolly Friar – Norwood Hotel

Jolly Friar Review

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Working as a priest, one of the things I like to be able to do is find places where I can get away from the building from time to time. Even as a part-time priest there will occasionally be days that go from 8 in the morning to 9 or 10 at night.  Having restaurants and cafes nearby that one can go to for a bit of recharging during the day is a good thing.

Jolly Friar Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
The Jolly Friar’s sweet potato shepherd’s pie.

That’s why I’m glad that I have Finales Coffee & Desserts nearby.  Also, it’s only a few blocks to get from St. Philip’s to Lovey’s BBQ.  I’m also not that far from the Norwood Hotel and have taken the opportunity to check out The Jolly Friar restaurant.
The general rule on hotel restaurants is that they are a little over-priced.  At the Jolly Friar, I’d say that would be somewhat true of the menu.  At the same time you’ll find some really good bargains as well.  This seems to be particularly true on salad and appetizer part of the menu.  For example, the spring rolls below came in at a dozen for $6.00.  The taco salad is $10.00 but makes a complete meal, and for a light meal wouldn’t be reasonably filling split between two.
Just the other day I went back for the first time in a little while. I ordered the full rack of ribs with fries.
The dish was $25.00 for the full rack The ribs were pretty good, but not overwhelmingly so. The fries were good and crispy and there was a huge pile of them. The vegetables were peas and carrots. They were overcooked and covered in butter to the point of being greasy. This s a decent rib dinner but not one I would rush back for.

Lot's of food in the Jolly Friar rib dinner.
The full rib dinner from the Jolly Friar.

The taco salad was also quite good. There was plenty of ground beef, and it was cooked in such a way that the taco shell itself was in no way greasy.  The spring rolls were quite good, but did taste like they had come from the freezer giving the filling a slightly watery quality.  The one item I tried that was a little disappointing was the boneless pork ribs, which had a large number of tiny pieces in the mix, which didn’t even qualify as a mouthful.

Jolly Friar taco salad.
A very generous and well prepared taco salad from the Jolly Friar.

The Jolly Friar also offers two soups on the menu every day.  These are available at small and regular sizes.  I’ve tried both the beef barley and the split pea soup.  Both were quite well done.  The beef barley had a number of good sized beef chunks in it, along with a savoury broth that had a slight kick to it.  The split pea was rich and creamy.  It has a stick to your ribs quality that goes down well on cold, wintry days.
There are also a wide variety of entrees on the menu. I thought the sweet potato shepherd’s pie quite interesting.  The sweetness of the sweet potato blends quite nicely with saltiness of the filling.  Again, the ground beef is fairly lean avoiding any greasy sense.  I did find the gravy a little runny, and would have preferred a few peas along with the bits of carrot, but on the whole this was a pleasant dish.  It was served with grilled asparagus that was crispy and while thick, easily chewed.  If you’d like a review of their burgers check out the Burger Club’s page.

If you’re in the area of the Norwood Hotel and looking for a place to stop for lunch or dinner, The Jolly Friar makes a good choice.  The service is leisurely but not slow.  There are plenty of booths if you want a little privacy when you dine, but even at the tables there is a sense of space.  I think this will be a semi-regular hangout.


By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.