NORTH/FRANKS BAR // Out

NORTH is a quirky cafe located near Colegate and Norwich Cathedral in the ‘North’ of the city, hence the name. It is a sister cafe to the well established franks bar, but has that same laid back feeling and serves drinks, lighter snacks on display like scones and cakes (including vegan options!), as well as breakfast and lunch meals.

I opted for the shakshuka with tofu (also available with egg), aubergines, and served with pita bread. The sauces itself was pretty spicy, but the more neutral, soft tofu helped tone that down. For me the star of the show was the bread, which was the softest pita I have ever had!

We also ordered chips, which are some of the best I have ever eaten. They were just the right thickness, almost wedge like with the skin on, and served piping hot, and salted (my I would ask for slightly less salt next time but a grind of black pepper helped that out).

They also do a range of ciabattas, such as this with carrot falafel, cauliflower/garlic purée and garlic. Again, the falafel did have a kick but the purée was so smooth and creamy, and you could taste the ciabatta was fresh and locally made.

NORTH is much larger than Franks, with seating going outside and attracting young friends meeting for coffee, older couples enjoying cocktails and family’s having hearty lunches.

Unfortunately it does shut Sunday and Monday, but being open from 9am to 10pm (11pm on Friday and Saturdays) means there is plenty of time to try it out. A great cafe in a beautiful part of the city that often gets overlooked as it is not quite in the ‘city centre’ with chain shops etc.

VEGAN AFTERNOON TEA @ HARRIETS TEA ROOM // Out

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.

VEGAN ZIZZIS // Eating Out

Zizzis has long been known as one of the best chain restaurants for vegans. They’ve always been really accomadating to change their dishes, it recently they’ve added even more vegan dishes to their menu, and if you ask they will give you a seperate menu with just vegan option. I find this so much easier to look at rather than searching for the ‘V’ sign next to everything! They also have loads of options that they don’t mention on their main menu; vegan garlic bread; bruschetta; lentil ragu side; 2 proper desserts (not just fruit salad and sorbet!) and much more.

 

Starter of bruschetta with super green pesto, cherry tomatoes and basil. The pesto is the best vegan pesto I’ve had, and I love adding some extra chilli oil which they have on every table to add even more flavour.
Edit

The new vegan pizza just for January – vegan cheese, avocado slices, beetroot falafel things, sundried tomatoes, spinach and chilli flakes.

They also have three other vegan pizzas, and an array of toppings (my favourites are olives and grilled peppers) so you can create your perfect pizza! They same goes for their pasta; starting with a basic spaghetti, tomato sauces, basil and fresh cherry tomatoes (which is delicious all in itself btw), you can then add anything else you wish.

This is the ‘super Zucca salad’ that isn’t actually on the vegan menu (as it contains goats cheese), but we swapped this for the vegan cheese. INot every restaurant may be as accommodating to do this as the cheese is frozen, but we adding field mushrooms (from the pasta add ons) which are cooked, so the cheese melted slightly with that and it was just perfect. The salad itself consists of courgette, roast butternut squash, a tiny hint of mint, green lentils and mixed leaves which I’ve had before so know I love. It also normally comes with a white balsamic dressing, which they swapped for balsamic.

Zizzis also offered another vegan salad, with broccoli, cannelloni beans, purple basil and pesto.

The lentil ragu which normally comes with pasta, but I switched to fried potatoes cause I was on a bit of potato obsession at the time. The ragu has a really rich flavour and cooked perfectly, not to ‘mushy’ which I find often puts people off these legumes (which are a fab source of protein as well!)


One of the highlights of eating vegan at Zizzis has to be the sweet stuff; dessert calzone filled with banana, blueberries, and topped with a coconut chocolate ripple ice cream. If like me you just love anything bread and carby, this will be a winner.  I also loved getting some of the warm banana and adding it to the chocolate torte as chocolate banana isnsuch a good combo. We also ordered a chocolate torte with vegan honeycomb (!!) and topped with ice cream. The coconut flavour really came through in the ice cream, and it was perfect with the torte as it was incredibly rich (imagine a creamy, thick ganache which I have no idea how they made taste so good without lashings of cream).

Going halves on two dishes is my favourite way to eat, so you get to try a bit of everything!

Zizzis also does an amazing 40% off student discount! Starters are around £5, mains just over a tenner, and desserts about £6. In my opinion, the only thing that stops this place being absolutely perfect is the drinks; I;ve tried the ‘bramble g&t’ which for over £6 barely tasted of gin, and the white wine I had this visit was okay, but slightly underwhelming at nearly £5 for 175ml.

Overall, Zizzis is still one of, if not my absolute favourite places to eat out (with other vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike).

Afternoon Tea @ The Assembly House, Norwich //

Finger sandwiches with; hummus and olives; tomatoes and red onion chutney and aubergine.A crunchy bruschetta biscuit with creamy guacamole and a dainty little water cone cone with hummus.

Vegan fruit scones which even came warm with their own vegan butter that melted perfectly on to them .

The ‘normal’ stand. 

Chocolate brownie, lemon cake, Christmas tree vanilla shortbread and satsuma jelly. 

VEGAN CHICKEN PASTA SALAD // Recipe

   
80g uncooked pasta

100g vegan chicken style pieces

1/2 medium pepper

2inch chunk cucumber

7 cherry/plum tomatoes 

2tbsp pine nuts or cashews

8 basil leaves 

1tsp lemon zest (around 1/2 a lemon)

OR 

This was inspired by Co-op vegan pasta dish, which you can easily buy, add some extra ‘chicken’ or chickpeas into for protein,  and bam easy lunch done.

 
Boil the pasta for 15 minutes (or however long the packet says) and while waiting, chop up your vegetables into small chunks.

Cook the vegan chicken if necessary (I use Quorn in the microwave covered in water for 4 minutes). Then set aside and leave to cool.

When ready, drain the pasta, run under cold water to cool it, and add the veg, chicken, pine nuts, and lemon zest.

Chop the basil finely, and scatter all over just before serving.

This is perfect to take along to a summer barbecue, or you could even pack it up to take to work with you as it lasts up to 5 days in the fridge.