People who aren’t from Norwich always look a bit confused when I tell them it’s a really easy place in which to be vegan. Yes, Norwich is in the heart of agricultural wonderland, where lots of people still haven’t realised that fox hunting is despicable cruelty and that battery farming is Guantanamo for chickens. But it’s also full of vegans. Because Norwich is full of vegans, it is getting easier and easier to find really great vegan food here.
Whether you’re a meat-eater, a pescatarian, a veggie or a vegan, you’ve absolutely got to go and stuff your face at the assortment of restaurants and cafes I’ve crammed into the list below. I couldn’t narrow it down to a top ten if my life depended on it, so instead I’ve divided up places I think you should chow down in under handy categories we can all understand, like PIZZA and BRUNCH.
Olive’s Cafe – 40 Elm Hill (Left image)
Start strong, I say. The vegan brunch at Olive’s is some next level glorious goodness. Extra points for the smoky tempeh, and for providing so much food that you have to be rolled home like a beach ball afterwards. Olive’s also do vegan milkshakes now, which are worth saving room for, and I’m reliably informed their meat-eater brunches are just as knock-out as the herbivore ones. Guarantee you won’t shut up about the food here once you’ve tried it.
House Cafe – 52 St Benedicts Street (Right image)
I ate all my ciabatta toast before I remembered to take a picture of this one, which scores full marks for excellent hash brown portion sizing. House Cafe have a number of wicked vegan options, and as with Olive’s there are meat options if you’re eating with omnivores. Bonus marks for cosy atmosphere and consistently lovely staff.
For light bites
Ancestors – 27 Magdalen Street
I finally visited Ancestors recently and now I’m really annoyed I didn’t go sooner. Everything here is vegan, and you can chow down on Buddha Bowls like the one above or brunch treats like scrambled tofu, beetroot hummus and ‘feta’ on toast and ludicrously well thought-out porridge flavours. I feasted on a walnut and cranberry toasted sandwich, and now I dream about it.
If you look at it from the wrong angle, you could be forgiven for thinking that Norwich market is all knock-off handbags and dusty dog beds. Not so! There’s loads of great food in there now, and vegans are spoilt for choice. Bia Kitchen are fully vegan – and their meatball subs are divine, while Falafel & Friends have rocked my world with their tofu marmite patty wraps. Don’t even get me started on the all veggie delights at Indian Feast, where I can regularly be found consuming supreme samosas. You can also tuck into cheap and hearty nosh at The Feed, get beef-fat-free chips at Lucy’s, and the Lasagneria now has not one, but two vegan options…
Tofurei – 12 Pottergate
Pasties, cheeseburgers, sausage sandwiches, sausage rolls… There’s a lot of snacking to be done at Tofurei, and it’s aaaaaaaall vegan. If you’re a cake / donut fan (like anybody isn’t) you’ll be overwhelmed by all the baked goods on offer – and there are even gluten-free options so coeliacs can get stuck in. Many’s the time I’ve popped in for a slice of lemon drizzle and ended up leaving with a whole meal deal and a frozen pizza for later – not to mention that the sinfully good Tyne Chease range is stocked here too.
The Greenhouse Cafe – 42-46 Bethel Street
Hiding just around the corner from the Forum, The Greenhouse Cafe is all vegetarian and there’s loads of choice for hungry vegans on the menu. They’re only open from 10-4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday, but that’s plenty of time for eating freshly-made paninis and browsing the adjoining shop for fairtrade wares.
Kinda Cafe – 23 Castle Meadow
This is another fully vegetarian venue with lots of vegan goodies, and they also organise a number of great little community events. You can pay forward a hot drink or meal for someone in need, and feast happily in the knowledge that there’s a strong emphasis on ethical, fairtrade, locally sourced goods here. The homemade houmous and nutty soysage rolls are a favourite.
Logan’s – 5 Swan Lane
I bloody love Logan’s. It’s not every omni venue that has a whole range of vegan cheeses, as well as vegan mayo and butter in their repertoire, but these guys aren’t half-arsing it. I’m so addicted to their ‘mozzarella’, roasted veg and pesto panini that I’m now on first name terms with half the staff, and I’d never say no to the jackfruit and avocado baguette either.
When you just want cake
Deerly Beloved Bakery – Available at Biddy’s Tea Room, Waterstones, The Mitre & Little Shop of Vegans, and made to order for special occasions
Deerly Beloved vegan bakery have won a bunch of awards, and they are very much deserved. As well as being able to pick up their incredible cakes, brownies, blondies and cookies at the various city venues listed above, Deerly Beloved are available for commissions. If you’ve got a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other event coming up – or you just really want a whole cake instead of a slice – you can order online or over the phone! Keep your eyes peeled for appearances by these guys at Clutter City Market and other local events in Norwich – delectable deliciousness galore.
Kind Food – Norwich Market
Gluten free, dairy-free, and fully prepped for vegans. I first went to Kind Food for a lunchtime slice of pizza, but it’s the giant bakewell tarts and rich muffins that keep me coming back. There’s some epic fresh-baked bread on sale here, as well as savoury tarts and plenty of cake.
The Plasterer’s Arms – 43 Cowgate (Left image)
Honestly if you told me I could never eat this pizza again, I think I’d cry. The Plasterer’s do a whole bunch of vegan pizzas, as well as the more traditional meat feasty options, and they’re really, really, really good. There’s a ‘stilton’ and walnut Waldorf pizza, a health-conscious hummus-base med veg number, a saucy little seitan ‘Sausage Party’ and the witchcraft you see above – the Vegan Doner Kebab Pizza. It’s unfathomably good. It’s making me feel a bit pervy just thinking about it. If you’re like me and don’t think ‘vegan’ is supposed to mean ‘salad’, go get this in your face.
Brick Pizza – 39 Marketplace (Right image)
Brick are the bees knees at pizza, churning out proper stonebaked Italian-style offerings with a whole lotta love. For the veegs, you can grab a massive Marinara for £5 (!!!!) or splurge on the vegan-cheesy, mushroom and pepper delight simply named Vegan for £10. Heavenly.
(Obviously you can get vegan pizza at Ask Italian, Zizzi and Pizza Express here too, but screw them when you’ve got independent gems like this lot)
For roast dinners
River Kitchen Pop-Up Roasts – The Mash Tun, 16 Charing Cross (Image above)
Watch out, there’s a new kid on the block. The River Kitchen itself is a rad little waterside cafe in Wroxham, who do all sorts of goodies including vegan fry ups and vegan afternoon teas. Now, they’re moonlighting in the big city at weekends, with pop-up roasts at The Mash Tun pub. There’s no topping them. Being able to add a side of vegan broccoli&cauliflower cheese certainly helps, but everything about this was packed with amazing flavours and cooked to perfection. If you’re in need of a vegan roast in Norwich, look no further.
Temple Bar – 2 Unthank Road
These guys have always been the instant response given when anyone asks ‘where’s good for a roast around here?’ and it ain’t for nothin’. Do be aware that there can be long waits, as it’s a small team of people feeding the masses, but the veggie roast is fab.
The Black Horse – 50 Earlham Road
There’s always something delicious and vegan on the Black Horse menu, but their Sunday roast is particularly stellar. It’s great value, it’s Not Just Another Boring Nut Roast and you get to eat it in a properly nice pub. The team here are keen to make sure their veggie/vegan options aren’t just the same old predictable stuff, and you can tell. Get this food in your face.
For pub classics (and other hearty fare)
The Tipsy Vegan – 68-70 St Benedicts Street
I realise that we did the brunch bit already, and I’ve chosen to illustrate this lot with a brunch photo, but it was REALLY GOOD OKAY. If you want Tofish and chips, bbq ‘ribs’ or a big ol’ burger, get yourself to Tipsy Vegan – the first fully vegan restaurant in Norwich. Their cocktails are killer, and they’ve recently revamped the menu to include sharing boards and new tapas dishes, and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeverything is veeeeeeeeeeeeeegan. I haven’t managed to save room for dessert yet, but between cheesecake, chocolate tart and donuts, it would be pretty hard to go wrong.
St Andrew’s Brewhouse – 41 St Andrews Street
I really love that the vegan offerings here aren’t boiled down to just one ‘choice’. There’s vegan cuisine on every bit of the Brewhouse menu, from the tofu and black bean sarnie to the jackfruit burger and VEGAN CREME BRULEE. I’ve heard good things about the tagine and the sweet potato savoury donuts, and the fact you can get vegan onion rings is just the cherry on the cake.
River Green Cafe – The Street, Trowse
All veggie, all the time. Most of the menu here is either vegan or can be made vegan, and the mushroom wellington is To Die For. Fantastic burgers, hearty pasta dishes, there’s plenty of choice and you can never pick a bad dish. I don’t know how they get it so right every time, but they really, really do.
The Belgian Monk – 7 Pottergate
The Belgian Monk are best known for serving great mussels and frites, and mussels are definitely not vegan. However! They have a full vegan menu, which even includes a tartiflette, and if you go at the right time you can get a Dubbel Deal where it’s two meals for £12.95 – including the mushroom and cashew nut pie and the sweet potato and quinoa burger. Bring em to me right now.
Wild Thyme – Labour in Vain Yard
Wild Thyme is a veggie Norwich institution. Previously known as Pulse, the venue itself has a great atmosphere and the menu is completely vegetarian. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menu are all a little different, but all feature plenty of totally plant-based choices – it’s almost a vegan restaurant, really. Shout out to the risotto and linguini from the current lunch/dinner menus, which rocked my world.
For classy take-out
Namaste – 2a Opie Street / 131-139 Queens Road – On Deliveroo
Namaste now have two restaurants, Namaste India on Opie Street and Namaste Village on Queens Road, and most importantly they now have the capacity to do deliveries through the magic of the internet. This is yet another all-vegetarian restaurant for the list, and again, there’s tonnes of vegan options – I’d highly recommend the Baingan Bharta, a smoky aubergine curry, and the classic masala dosa. If you want, you can pay forward a dosa for someone in need to pick up later.
Vegan Wok – 131 Magdalen Street – Call to order
The newest addition to Norwich vegan eating, Vegan Wok was dreamt up by the masterminds behind Take Thai and are raking in great reviews left, right and centre. You’ll have to call to order as they aren’t online yet, but you can get really creative with the menu options – which are as flavourful and authentic as it gets.
For stocking up your cupboards
If you’re not eating out and you’re not ordering in, presumably that means you’re going to cook for yourself or something?! As well as the Greengrocer’s on Earlham Road, who also have a vegan-friendly cafe, get yourself to Little Shop of Vegans at 137-139 Magdalen Street and Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard.
LSoV are one of the only places in the UK you can get things like the Green Vie dairy-free cheese range (oh man, it’s so good) and MeetLyke faux meats. As well as clothes and beauty products, they also sell fresh goods like Food By Lizzi’s Scotch Eggless, Deerly Beloved Bakery cakes and Little Vegan Cookie Co cookies – and One Planet Pizza. It’s a really easy place to spend your paycheque getting full and happy.
Rainbow aren’t all vegan, but they are an excellent place to buy all your essentials. And by essentials I mean nutritional yeast, hummus chips and giant bars of vego. It’s the ultimate veggie mini-mart, with ethical stock picks and a good range of gems you might not have heard of before.
This post is probably the longest post I’ve ever written, and I know, I KNOW, that there are vegan-friendly restaurants/cafes/shops in Norwich I’ve missed off. If there’s anywhere I haven’t mentioned that you think is criminal to leave off, please do stick it in the comments below!