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The new Norwich cafe making chocoholics’ dreams come true

PUBLISHED: 11:14 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:14 30 November 2018

Gail and Tanya at House St Benedicts  Picture: Mark Daniels

Gail and Tanya at House St Benedicts Picture: Mark Daniels

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Newly opened House cafe on St Benedicts Street in Norwich is offering chocolate, meat, cheese and fish platters to share.

House St Benedicts meat platter  Picture: Mark DanielsHouse St Benedicts meat platter Picture: Mark Daniels

If sitting down to a giant platter of chocolate and sipping on a seemingly endless array of flavoured vodka sounds like your perfect night out, you just might be interested in brand new eatery, House, which has just opened on St Benedicts Street in Norwich.

Gail Watling and business partner Tanya Daniels said they could immediately see a great opportunity when the previous café business at the premises shut down, and took the keys on September 22, stripping out the interior to give it a bright new look. “We have completely gutted it inside,” says Gail. “Everything has been taken out and been replaced. We wanted it to be light and airy. Shabby chic and non-matching crockery and knives and forks is something neither of us wanted to do.”

Open from breakfast, through lunch into the early evening, Gail and Tanya have differentiated House on the foodie scene by offering something a little bit different – and ideal for pre-theatre and pre-cinema dining (or even just a treat).

“From the start,” says Gail, “we wanted to do platters because it’s not something everyone else is doing. They’ve already proved so popular we’re doing them instead of afternoon tea. They’re all £15 per head including a glass of prosecco. So you can have a cheese platter which has a variety of cheeses, pickles, fresh fruits, dried fruits, celery, French bread, cheese biscuits and other bits and pieces. The meat platter has salamis, chorizo, olives, Parma ham – all of those kinds of things. And our fish platter changes depending on season so it might have prawns, salmon, mackerel, crab mousse, or fresh crab when it’s available.”

But what Gail’s especially about is the chocolate platters, which will make chocoholics’ eyes light up, as these are absolutely rammed with all kinds of sweet delights made from or including white, milk and dark chocolate.

If that wasn’t tempting enough the duo have sourced chocolate wine (because you can never have too much cocoa) and a brand of vodka known for its wacky and wonderful flavours. “We’ve got so many,” Gail laughs, looking at the bar. “Mango Crush, Toffee Fudge, Marshmallow, Coconut, Very Berry, Coffee, Grape – loads of them.”

Of course, the more traditional café fare is on the homemade menu too, created from locally sourced meats and fresh produce. In the mornings there’s a full English including a glass of orange juice or a coffee, a breakfast frittata, mushrooms in a creamy garlic sauce on toast (proving very popular), smoked salmon on toast with lemon and dill, and pancakes with fruit, yoghurt and honey.

“At lunchtimes we’ve got things like fishfinger bap, soup of the day, and a Buddha bowl which has got sweet potato, garlic, thyme, red onion and kale in a balsamic dressing with spicy chickpeas and a drizzle of lemon tahini sauce. That one’s vegan and gluten-free.”

So far it’s going great guns for the pair. “We’ve been really really pleased with the feedback we’ve had. Everyone’s so happy with the changes and we’re delighted with the support so far.”

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