On a recent family get away to Suffolk, we visited the amazing ’round house’ in Ickworth. This is a national trust site that my parents visited years ago, and despite they’re sometimes less riveting picks, this was one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever seen. The attention to detail on the building, as well as the vast expanse of land, made it a beautiful trip. The house also had two cafes, one inside and one out (the inside was not cheap, at about £7 for a simple jacket potato!) but did provide lots of options such as vegan lasagne! The outside kiosk also had lots of more affordable light bites, like ice cream, scones and sandwiches.
This week we took a short family get away to Ubberston in Suffolk, which while just over one hour from home in Norwich was a lovely week to relax and go visit places we never had before. We also left on the day of Mums birthday, and Dad had booked us a table at Harriers Tea Room in Bury as a birthday treat. Thoughtfully dad had told them I was vegan when booking, and when I asked whether they had vegan options they said they had bought in some extra vegan cakes especially! The menu does say about vegan scones, but I am not sure they have these available every day. I was so impressed they had made a special effort for a vegan diet, and would definitely recommend phoning to let them know a few days before.
They sell an avocado and tomato sandwich on the lunch menu, so I asked for that to go with my vegan scones and cakes. The bread was so soft, avocado thick and creamy, and tomatoes slices added an extra freshness (although next time I would probably ask for granary)
The scones were slightly warm, had a great texture that was soft but not too crumbly. I also had a ginger and apple cake, which was a tad on the dry side but had nice big chunks of crystallised ginger running through (I took one slice home and found it even better warmed in the microwave with a dollop of soya yogurt). Alongside was a millionaires shortbread, which as expected being vegan didn’t have a particularly rich or buttery base, but the sweetness of the ‘caramel’ and layers of chocolate, filling and biscuit was something different to what you usually get offered as a vegan.
Our seat was right next to the counter so we had this view of TONNES of scones staring at us while we waited *drool
They also do a variety of hot dishes, such as jack potatoes, fish and chips, paninis, and breakfasts including a full English and lighter options such as granola on yogurt.
Of course we had to get a selection of cakes to take home for dad – chocolate profiterole on mousse, strawberry tart and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. While they weren’t massive, priced at just over £6 for three, the detail and daintiness of the cakes were worth it.
While Harriets is located in the middle of a fairly busy high street, just five minutes away is the Cathedral grounds which, while still busy, was a lovely way to walk off all the delicious food.
The staff were all friendly and fit the traditional tea room aesthetic with their white pinafore s and head dress, the tea room itself was beautifully decorated with statement, yet not ‘tacky’ chandeliers and the food was great accommodating to everyone. Couldn’t recommend enough.
Last year the ‘Norwich Vegan’s’ Community organised a fantastic fayre around the Forum, which I wrote about here, so I was so excited when they announced another was coming this year. This year, they returned with some old favourites plus newbies, and a good mix of food (my personal highlight of course), beauty stands, eco products and more.
The fayre was hosted at the Forum, right in the heart of the city and was buzzing with people I imagine who planned to go there, and people who stumbled across it on their Sunday strolls.
The Iced Vegan – Cakes
Deerly Beloved Bakery – also stock at Waterstones and UEA!
Sara By Nature – plant based foods
Vausages – vegan hotdogs
Namaste India – vegetarian/vegan/gf options Indian restaurants (by Norwich Bus Station and Castle)
Tombland is quickly becoming one of the busiest areas in Norwich, with the well established Zizzis, Prezzo and Edith Cavell Pub always being popular, alongside bars like Vodka Revolution, Revolution Cuba and All Bar One (which all do great food as well btw!) there is something for every occasion and taste.
Giggling Squid is right in between Zizzis and the newly opened Erpingham House (an all plant-based restaurant I cannot wait to try), and was my first experience of true ‘Thai Food’. Before this, I had only had a homemade thai green curry, which while is lovely I’m not sure Tesco curry paste really counts as authentic Thai cuisine.
I would definitely recommend ordering a few different dishes so you can try a variety of things. The menu is composed of starters, curries, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and sides, and we opted for the vegetable spring rolls, Panaeg curry, Gra Pao stir fry and brown rice. The spring rolls were piping hot and not greasy like your usual takeaway, the curry was made with coconut milk (as all bar one of the curries are, which is what makes them distinguishable from the tomato or dairy cream based curries of India) and the perfect blend of richness , sweet and spice. The stir fry had chillis and basil, alongside the usual ginger, garlic and soy sauce flavours. Of course we ordered off the vegetarian menu (which they have printed separately making it even easier to order), and the dishes mostly consisted of baby sweetcorn, petit pois peas, peppers, pak choi and tofu. As all the dishes are made freshly I’m sure you could ask for any of these changed or left out, and they also change the spice level according to your asking (we kept them as they are, but did avoid the fresh chilli slices in the stir fry as they were pretty hot!). The one bowl of rice was also enough for both our dishes as we had the spring rolls to dip into the curry as well (maybe not the best etiquette, but the curry sauce just tasted toooo good). They also do coconut rice, jasmine rice and sticky rice to suit everyone, but my friend and I both felt the brown rice had the right amount of savoury. almost nuttiness that complimented the slight coconut curry flavour.
The decor of the two floor restaurant was absolutely beautiful, but you can also sit outside, as we chose as ‘al fresco’ is my favourite way to eat.
A near by river also is also lovely for a pre or post dinner walk around.
They also have an extensive drinks list consisting of both ‘traditional’ and more ‘Thai’ inspired drinks. I opted for a ‘Thai Coconut’ – gin and fresh coconut flavoured rum served with Fever Tree ginger ale and a squeeze of lime, which was so pretty and the perfect balance of sweet coconut and sharp ginger. While not cheap (at just under £7), they are not any more than you would expect to pay at most bars. The dishes themselves were very reasonably priced, at around £10 and sides around £3.50, which for such fresh, authentic dishes I thought was amazing value!
While there are actually nearly 30 Giggling Squids across the country, the building’s design felt unique, niche and like an independent restaurant.
If you have never tried Thai before, or are a regular and already know you love it, love food so spicy it makes you cry or prefer more delicate flavours, want a place to catch up with friends or a more intimate dining experience, I would definitely recommend Giggling Squid. Utterly impressed.