Norwich Eats: A year in Love Norwich Food
Welcome to Eastlife’s new monthly food column; a guide to eating and drinking in the city of Norwich
I’m Zena; cookery tutor, food writer and an ex-chef who studied at Norwich City College. I was a chef for 15 years and served 15 more as a cookery tutor with all sorts of foodie stuff in-between including blogging.
When I first moved back after a stint in London, I was disappointed by the food scene in Norwich having been so spoilt for so long. But things have changed…
Norwich is now the best place to find vegan food in the UK but it’s all food that Norwich has embraced in total abundance – it’s now a go to place to visit for amazing and varied cuisine with over 500 places to feast or be watered in this fine city.
I’ll be telling you all about it every month but for now to kick off, I thought I’d run through 2019, which to be honest won’t fit on this page.
Awarded the best largest open-air market in the UK with nearly 200 stalls and half of them dedicated to food.
Expansion happened all over the market with Churros for the People doubling up to include a counter, Bun Box quadrupled to include sushi, Fresh took up the stall opposite to offer hot Asian broth bowls and Sicilian Street doubled to add pasta and seating. Plus, Lucy’s Chips expanded to offer a dedicated vegan menu. Chimney’s arrived offering European rotisserie sweetened pastry cones. A new Chinese offering dim sum took over Puff & Bean. Plus, Walsingham Farm Shop opened as a Norfolk Deli, takeaway and sit-in pie, mash and gravy cafe.
Restaurants, Bars & Cafes in Norwich
When it comes to new restaurants hitting our Norwich streets there were plenty. Don Txoko a Basque style tapas are cooking on Fat Elvis down St Benedict’s Street. Harrys took over Pedro’s in Chapelfield Gardens doing American very well. Upstairs in the old Mash Tun (soon to be Strangers Tavern), Gin Palace turned into Door Eighteen with The Gin Academy attached. They’ll be making their own label Gin soon with Norfolk samphire.
Michaels Grill opened up in the Oaklands Hotel cooking on Bertha in an open plan kitchen, so you can sit and watch the chefs. The York NR2 opened its doors again after being closed for a year with new owners and a new look modern British menu.
Another takeover was The Last Wine Bar, with a new look Brasserie, a top chef and an amazing menu – you must have heard of the famous Crab Doughnut it made national news!
A Kurdish kebab restaurant called Nergiz opened on Magdalen Street, offering proper shawarma’s, homemade naan bread wraps and Kurdish stews. Gem of Norwich opened in the old Prezzo opposite the station selling a mix of finely cooked Middle Eastern food. While Mr Mangal, a Turkish kebab restaurant, opened on Dereham Road. On the same road, you’ll also find Brasov; a Romanian restaurant offering a taste of home including the incredibly lovely Papanasi – a large fried donut with sour cream and fruit compote cooked by mum while daughter runs FOH.
Foodie Events in Norfolk
Then there were the events like Proudly Norfolk Food Festival at the Forum. They’ve dropped ‘Battle of the Banger’ but made the event bigger with activities, cookery demos, street food and tons of local food stalls. If you were missing a sausage all you needed to do was head to Aylshams Big Sausage Bash for a day of tasting and fine Norfolk produce.
New kid on the block, The Handmade Doughnut Company, sold out 1,000 donuts before mid-day! Ok, it wasn’t in Norwich but half of Norwich were there.
Open Venue started calling their foodie events ‘Dining Differently’. I went to their first Prosecco & Pudding event, with 40 desserts to choose from, plus custard! With everything sweet from brownies to lemon posset. Look out for their regular events; Dining in the Dark, Oktoberfest and the Gin Festival with other foodie highlights thrown in in-between.
So, as you can see I wasn’t kidding when I said there is simply too much in 2019 to mention – I didn’t even have space to mention Panda Bar, Delicious Desserts and a third Bread Source opening, all the events down at Redwell Brewery or Jarrold’s own label Norfolk produce – or the gossip; like what’s happening to the pub at the bottom of Cow Hill?
You’ll find me talking all Norwich Eats in my monthly online column at www.eastlife.co.uk and in each publication!
Find out more information about me at www.lovenorwichfood.co.uk