Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Norwich Cafe Reviews

Saturday of our Norwich weekend, we spent the daytime happily wandering the charity shops and thrift markets. It really is a great little city for shopping, whether 'mainstream' in the mall, 'boutique' in the Royal Arcade and St Benedicts or - as I did in the main - 'thrifty' in the many well-stocked chazzas and of course the famous market.

Elm Hill

The town was looking splendid with Autumnal leaves whirling about the many historical buildings, naturally this also meant it was actually Autumn and the chill in the air meant regular cuppa stops were a must. Norwich has a few excellent cafes, some of which are more cafe-bars with sturdier beverages than tea and coffee on sale but with a focus on food and soft drinks in the daytime. They don't have many cafes like this (bar chains) near my end of London and I found these a welcome change especially as His Lordship gets up at 7am come rain, shine or late nights so his body clock says 'beer time' a good hour or so before mine. Not being a fan of watery pub coffee, the cafe bars were fantastic pitstops.Here are two we visited and enjoyed:

The King Of Hearts
Fye Bridge Street, Norwich.

This cafe has a definite creative vibe to it, with art exhibitions and events. The space is airy and light, with charming views of the riverside and pubs on each side. Also a charming view of a n'er do well smoking a roll up outside a pub called the Mischief (which has seen my drunken antics of old). The location is ideal if you're exploring Tombland's charity shops and flea markets.

We were struck by how friendly the staff were; many visitors appeared to be regular and the counter staff knew their orders. You order at the counter and the food is brought to you- there is a wide range of foods and drinks, from cooked meals to sandwiches to home-made cakes. The drinks are similarly varied with a range of teas and coffees, soft drinks and beers/wines. I ordered their soup of the day (potato, chive and cream cheese) and a pot of tea, His Lordship an egg salad baguette and a diet coke. The tea came in a nice pot with leaves infusing (not a tea bag), plus a complimentary chocolate biccie on the side. Superb. Very, very soon after the food arrived - in massive portions. Now, I'm not a masterchef judge so to me that's a bonus!

The soup was really delicious, rich with cheese and full of freshly snipped chives. The bread on the side was clearly 'home' (or posh artisan bakery Pye Baker, rather) baked and studded with olives. Noms all round. His Lordship tucked into a large baguatte, stuffed full of chunks of egg in a rich mayo. The eggs were very 'eggy' (you could smell them- in a good way! Like they had recently been cooked and the yolks weren't totally dry) so if you picked it expecting something bland, finely chopped and sweet you might be overwhelmed. We like a proper, rich egg salad so this suited us perfectly. It was presented with a tasty salad, with a decent amount of dressing.

All together this came to just over £6 each, which is great value for a filling and tasty lunch.

More hill, more leaves...

The Tea House
Wrights Court, Elm Hill

Not a cafe-bar but a proper tea and coffee shop, of the old-school non chain variety, The Tea House is tucked away in the attractive and expensive street of antiques and designer shops, Elm Hill. Luckily, it is not expensive, but is attractive, being as it is within an original historical 'pump' courtyard (in the past, many families would have shared the spaces round the tiny square so it probably looked and smelled less cute). It is the ideal place for... tea. They have a vast range!

The cafe is teeny and adorable inside, with a small garden which we didn't go into because it was raining and full of people for some reason. But it is there if you feel like some fresh air. His Lordship plumped for is favourite, Assam, which was a nicely well balanced brew. The pot was well warmed and a generous jog of milk provided for us to share. The Assam wasn't the strongest he'd ever had, even after infusion- possibly down to the infuser they use within the pot (being small, they limit the movements of the leaves somewhat and thus slow brewing)- however it's worth noting he drinks lethally strong Assam and to me it seemed plenty sturdy enough.

I am perverse and had coffee. It was really nice, well made coffee. His Lordship rolled his eyes about this, as apparently this is 'typical' of my deviant ways. Even worse, sadly I was remiss, being so full after my lunch I could sample neither cake nor toasties, and thus can only comment on the beverage side of things. I will have to go back some time and fix this...

And then we did more shopping, which is another post for another day.


  1. Both sound totally lovely. I really want to check out Norwich soon!x

  2. Hi my dear-fabulous reviews, it really sounds like there are some quality eating places in Norwich, thanks for sharing! have a great weekend too xx

  3. what a great review,Norwich sounds great. I never been too that part.
    love quaint small buildings.

  4. Oh wow, this place looks gorgeous, really relaxing! There aren't enough places like this :(


Let me know what you think!