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Food Shack, Norwich’s first Hungarian restaurant: “You won’t find anything quite like this elsewhere in Norfolk”

PUBLISHED: 08:57 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:00 23 March 2017

Food Shack, Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Food Shack, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

From the outside, Food Shack on St Stephens Road in Norwich may not look like much, but step inside and you’ll be in for a treat.

Food Shack, Norwich. Owner and chef, Robert Kelemen with his wife Erika and their son Aron.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Food Shack, Norwich. Owner and chef, Robert Kelemen with his wife Erika and their son Aron. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Tucked away just out of the city centre, the family run restaurant opened in January of this year but business is yet to really start booming.

This is upsetting, considering the amount of hard work and love the Kelemen’s have put in to creating the place.

The family moved to the UK from Gyor in 2007 and have lived in Norwich for the last five years.

Food Shack, Norwich. Bakonyi, a traditional Hungarian chicken dish, with dumplings.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Food Shack, Norwich. Bakonyi, a traditional Hungarian chicken dish, with dumplings. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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Erika Kelemen, who owns the restaurant along with her husband, Robert, the head chef, said: “We’ve always dreamed of opening our own restaurant but only recently have we had enough money to do so.

“We serve a mixture of cultural Hungarian dishes as well as more traditional food such as burgers and chips, so there’s something on offer for everyone.”

Food Shack, Norwich. Hungarian goulash with dumplings.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Food Shack, Norwich. Hungarian goulash with dumplings. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The menu contains hearty main meals such as Bakonyi, a dish of chicken breast and mushrooms in a paprika sauce, served with homemade dumplings, the latter of which have a unique texture - somewhere between a British dumpling and pasta.

Beef Goulash also features, as well as Gypsy Roast (grilled pork steak with garlic and bacon), which is Erika’s favourite.

We sit to sample the Bakonyi and Goulash and are impressed with the wholesome meals. The meat is slow-cooked and incredibly tender, it melts in the mouth, while the dumplings add something unexpected and special to the whole experience - you won’t find anything quite like this elsewhere in Norfolk.

Food Shack, Norwich. Pancakes with sweet cottage cheese and raisins.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Food Shack, Norwich. Pancakes with sweet cottage cheese and raisins. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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This statement is true, Food Shack is Norwich’s very first Hungarian restaurant, despite the city having a reasonably large Hungarian community.

“There are several shops that sell the Hungarian ingredients we use in our food and a couple of thousand Hungarian people living in the city,” says Robert, as he lays down a plate of pancakes on the table in front of me.

“Pancakes,” he adds, “are a traditional Hungarian dessert.”

These ones are served cold, something I’m not initially sure about, and are filled with a sweet cottage cheese, lemon zest and raisins. A light dusting of cocoa powder on top gives them a mouth watering chocolatey scent.

Other pancake fillings on the menu include apricot and cream, and there’s also a great looking selection of cakes on display near the counter.

Family is at the very heart of this place, with Erika and Robert’s son’s, Máté and Aron, also being heavily involved in the business.

Because of this, the restaurant seems incredibly welcoming, with a calm atmosphere, much like walking into somebody’s home.

It’s also nicely laid out, simplistic but with pretty mason jar decorations on each table and a gorgeous display of orchids in the window. As an added bonus, they have a BYOB policy.

Those who have visited so far have been impressed, with a host of great reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook. They also just had their first hygiene inspection and received four stars straight off the bat.

Despite all of this, the place is almost deserted at 6pm on a Friday night, with only two other people eating in the establishment.

Hopefully through word of mouth, more business can be drummed up for this charming restaurant and the lovely family keeping it going.

• Have you been to Food Shack? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

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