Thursday, 26 January 2017

Norwich 2017


This week we decided to pack an overnight bag and head off an hour and a half north into Norfolk and the city of Norwich. I decided a while ago that I needed to visit Norwich and I was really surprised that i'd never visited before, especially since I had friends who went there to Uni many years ago. I'd also heard that it was meant to be pretty good for shopping and vegan food so it seemed like the perfect place to visit for a mini over night get away. 

After exploring the different hotels on offer it seemed like an Air BnB was looking like the best option. I managed to find this really cosy looking apartment close to the centre of town and it ticked all the boxes for us. Also at only £89 for the night it appeared to be a really good deal considering we'd have a whole apartment to ourselves and a private parking space. 


When we arrived at the apartment it really didn't disappoint. It was really modern and clean and was situated within what used to be a former chapel. It had a quirky factor and I always love some quirkiness to anywhere we decide to stay. 


I really loved how the owners had decorated and furnished the apartment. It had some minimal Scandic vibes which I am really into at the moment! I liked how every piece of furniture was completely different to the rest but somehow it all managed to work together really well. 


As soon as we checked in we were pretty much back out of the front door and taking the short(ish) 15 minute stroll into town. The owner of our Air BnB directed us to the most picturesque walk into the city via the Cathedral which was a really pretty sight in the Winter afternoon sunshine. 





As we walked about the city we popped our heads into a few different shops before coming across the market square which I had heard so much about. I knew from my research that deep inside the market there is a vegan eatery called Bia Kitchen and to my surprise we stumbled across it quite quickly. The menu looked really good with some different vegan burgers and burritos on offer. The aroma coming from their stand was also amazing! It was clearly a popular place with the locals too as there were quite a few people waiting for their food. Sadly we weren't quite ready to eat so we carried on exploring but couldn't resist picking up some takeaway protein balls with us. 



After further mooching of the shops we then came across Wild Thyme which had been highly recommended to me by quite a few people. By this time we were hungry and this seemed like the best choice so we headed eagerly inside. 


The menu at Wild Thyme looked great and really substantial with quite a few different tastes catered for. The majority of the options were vegan friendly but there were also some vegetarian options available too. 

My husband was  really struggling to decide between the Thai Green Curry and the Mushroom Bourguignon as both sounded incredible. In the end he went for the mushroom and he wasn't disappointed! When his food arrived it looked like such a hearty and warming meal, perfect for a cold January day. He allowed me to have a try and I have to say it was really delicious and I almost regretted not ordering it myself. 


I on the other hand went in for the Pad Thai which I just happened to really be in the mood for. I was really pleased with the large portion sizes as we were pretty hungry by this point and I really needed some warming up inside of me. Sadly my dish was pretty cold when it arrived and after deliberating for a minute I decided to send it back which I'm really glad I did as when it was bought back out to me it was steaming hot and just what I needed. 


We also went in for a side of sweet potato wedges which were really yummy. 


I would definitely return to Wild Thyme if we ever found ourselves in Norwich again. I really liked the menu and choices available and the restaurant itself was memorable with some unique touches like a bike and some quirky artwork on the wall. It had a cool loft style vibe about it which made it very comfortable with a nice atmosphere. The service was a little on the slow side but the tasty food made up for this. 


Next door to Wild Thyme is a health food store called Rainbow Wholefoods. We couldn't resist popping inside to have a look at what was on offer and it was actually much better than I imagined it would be with so many great vegan foods and products available. We ended up picking up quite a few items including some different nut butters and some nutritional yeast which I have never tried before (any tips would be appreciated!).



After this it was onto more exploring and we found ourselves really enjoying wandering around the numerous cobbled lanes of Norwich. We came across quite a few small independent shops which I personally love, especially when visiting somewhere new. There's a beautiful gifts and homeware store called Berry's & Grey which is situated inside The Royal Arcade. Quest Gifts on Exchange Street is also a lovely shop and the perfect place to pick up cards and gifts. The Granary is a really amazing homeware shop with lots of contemporary and cool designs. My husband found a really great new desk lamp in this shop.


Just up the road from The Granary we found the vegan deli shop Tofurei which was another highly recommended eatery. It was nearing their closing time by the time we arrived but thankfully they still had some take away options available and the cakes looked so good we couldn't say no. We picked up a couple of slices of cake and also a couple of their 'Soysage rolls' which looked equally as good. These ended up being perfect evening snacks for us back at the Air BnB and everything was delicious! I wish we'd gone back the next day for more cake. The ladies who work at Tofurei were so welcoming and chatty too, I could see why this place is so popular. Well worth a visit. 






Just across the road from Tofurei you will find The Belgium Monk pub which surprisingly has an extensive vegan menu available. Everything sounded so good I just wish we had been hungry enough to try something there but sadly we had to give this a miss. The ladies from Tofurei also really raved about this pub so it is definitely on my hit list if we ever return there.


Before we headed back to our Air BnB for the night we got lured into the 2 for 1 on cocktails happy hour at Turtle Bay. I rarely drink alcohol so i'm not sure what came over me but I suddenly found myself really in the mood for a pina colada! This restaurant also looked so inviting as the windows were full of fairy lights. Once inside I soon learned that Turtle Bay, which is a Caribbean style chain restaurant, does actually have a vegan option on their menu and they do label their vegan options.



The next day, and after a really good sleep in our Air BnB bed, we got up early and headed slightly out of town to the River Green Cafe in Trowse for breakfast. I thought it's quite unusual to find a purely vegetarian and vegan cafe in a village setting and I was looking forward to finding out what it was like for myself. It was a name which had cropped up a lot in my research of vegan options in Norwich so I thought it would be a great choice for day two of our stay.


Both my husband and I ordered the all day vegan brunch which sounded great on the menu but it didn't quite hit the spot for me. I'm not sure why it just seemed to be really lacking in flavour and I guess it just wasn't anything worth writing home about. It was ok, but to be honest I know we make better at home and I know we've had better at other cafes in the past.


In all honesty the River Green Cafe just seemed a bit dated to me. It felt a bit rough around the edges and in need of a revamp which consequently made it feel a bit on the grubby side. The menu and food on offer on the menu looked and sounded quite good but for me all of this was let down by the interior of the cafe and certain things which put me off my food a bit. It just didn't do it for me or my husband so we left a bit disappointed and gutted we didn't try somewhere else in the city.


On from here we decided to pay a visit to the newly opened Little Shop Of Vegans. I'd heard quite a lot about this new shop online and thought that it was pretty exciting for Norwich to have it's own dedicated 100% vegan shop!


It was great to step inside the shop and take a look around to see what was on offer. It was also really good to see some vegan merchandise available in here as well as some foodie items. There were loads of different t-shirts, accessories and even vegan greeting cards! We picked ourselves up a tin of vegan squirty cream and a huge bag of the new quinoa puffs before setting off  back home. 

There were also a few other places which had been recommended to me that we didn't have time to check out including KindaKafe, Loving Hut, Gosling & Guzman, Namaste India & Moorish Falafel Bar. There's never enough time to get around everywhere but this also proves to be a good excuse for a return visit!


I hope you've found this blog post helpful, particularly if you are planning a trip to Norwich anytime soon. Comment below and let us all know if you have any other vegan recommendations for this city!
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6 comments

  1. Excellent! So pleased you enjoyed your Vegan trip to Norwich. In defense of The River Green Cafe, I'd advise a return visit to their evening menu �� It's wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Sadly I was really put off returning there again in future but I'm glad others have had more positive experiences than we did! Thanks for reading & commenting x

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  2. Great post Sarah! I passed through Norwich very briefly during a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads as a teen, but I'm thinking I might need to go back some day to try out all these places! That's one of the things I love most about being vegan - trips away start to revolve around eating, a favourite hobby of mine :D It's a shame that the breakfast didn't quite do it for you. I find breakfasts have to be really special to match or beat the home comforts. Hurray for getting on board the Nooch (nutritional yeast) train! We sprinkle ours in pasta sauces to make them creamier or on jacket potatoes. I think Kiera Rose has a vegan parmesan recipe on her YouTube channel which uses it and looks really yummy! Btw loved the photos in this post xx

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    1. Thanks Nadia! It's well worth a visit if you fancy a little UK break away or even a day trip. It's definitely vegan friendly & has lots to offer! I still need to try the nooch! Next time I have pasta I'll give it a whirl :-) thanks for commenting xx

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  3. This trip seems right up my street. The Airbnb and the vegan food look incredible. Even more inclined to visit after reading x

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  4. This trip seems right up my street. The Airbnb and the vegan food look incredible. Even more inclined to visit after reading x

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