Review: How's the nosh at this up-and-coming city cafe?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:26 27 January 2020
Barely two months old, Nourish cafe in Norwich is quickly winning fans. But does the food and drink live up to the hype? Reporter Stuart Anderson went to find out.
Imagine you're going to open your own restaurant, what kind of place would it be? Would it be pie and mash or haute cuisine, lavish decor or simple surroundings? What, as they say, would be your USP?
It's a question anyone with an appetite has properly pondered. Even before you enter the still-new Nourish cafe in Grove Road, Norwich, it's not hard to see how they're trying to stand out from the crowd. The name says it all and the tag 'A passion for eating well' above the door is another firm clue.
So, with the faith that anything I ordered up would be nourishing, I ordered up a roll with egg, bacon and sausage and sautéed mushrooms as an extra (£6).
This came on a nicely crispy sourdough bun and with a pot of homemade ketchup, which wasn't too sweet and topped things off nicely.
The ingredients all tasted fresh, and contrary to what you might expect from a bacon and sausage sarnie, not fatty at all. It filled me up without weighing me down, and was a good-sized portion for a midday meal.
It was a simple dish, but certainly felt like a bit of a treat.
My wife Becca went for the berry pancakes (£6), which is reportedly one of the cafe's most popular dishes.
They're made with tofu to give them the texture of American-style pancakes, and it's topped with a mix of berries and maple syrup.
We then both went for something sweet to round out the meal. I had a big triangle of tiffin (£2.80) from one of the jars on the counter.
I was delicious and the taste of the raisins really came through, and the mash of chocolate and biscuits gave me something to chew on.
Because of its size I first tried to tackle it with a fork as thought it was a sponge cake, but quickly realised it was too hard for that and just picked it up and mucked in.
Becca had a slice of crumbly banana and walnut cake, which is made from a vegan recipe.
The day had started slowly, and I needed a jolt to get me into gear for the afternoon. Luckily I needed look no further than the first item on the hot drinks board, the robust-sounding bullet-proof coffee (£3.30). I hadn't heard of this before and I usually can't stomach my cuppa black, but this proved to be a new exception to the rule. It's made with an Indian butter product called ghee that's suspended on top. This lends the drink an oily texture and softens the flavour.
I don't think bullet-proof coffee will replace my regular morning cappuccino but it sure woke me up!
Becca had a chai latte with coconut milk which was nicely throffy on top, and we both got a little biscuit to go with our drinks.
The rest of the menu is short but snappy, with the focus on healthy eating clearly evident. They serve breakfast and brunch/lunch, with other morning options including ginger molasses granola (£4), and Emma's 'run fast' wholefood toast (£4), which the menu recommends for an 'iron-pumping breakfast'. For lunch, there's also sausage rolls, soups, salads and sarnies.
Value for money
The food at Norwich is a bit of a bargain - the items cost just about the same as they do at a chain cafe, but the portions are generous and, because they're homemade, taste a little bit special.
£6 is the most you'll pay for a lunch dish, and all the breakfast options are sub-£5. Lattes and cappuccinos are £2.90. Our total bill for two lunches, two cakes and two coffees came to £24.10.
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Setting and ambiance
The cafe is just behind the Sainsbury's off Queens Road, in a neighbourhood shopping strip between the inner-city housing and the city centre. As such it seems to get a lot of passing foot traffic, particularly in the mornings when people need a caffeine kick on their way into work.
There's a busy, cosy vibe inside. Some of the shelves are filled with sporting souvenirs including a signed Canaries football and a photo of owner Emma Risbey winning Run Norwich in 2017.
There are just two tables and a bar with stools along the window - space is tight so sharing is encouraged. If anything it's too small, but the cafe should really benefit from the warmer weather. There's just as much seating out than in and it's a nice little spot to watch the world go by.
You order at the counter and if you're eating in, they can bring your order to your table. The staff are prompt and charming, and their enthusiasm for the food and drink they're serving up really comes across.
From flat white to mocha, all the usual coffee suspects are there alongside a couple of specials like golden Indian chai latte and anti-inflammatory chocolate milk. There's a range of teas for £2.50 including rooibos, Maroccan mint and 'pep-up' tea, as well as cold drinks including Kombucha from Suffolk's LA Brewery (£2.50).
There's a very small step on the way in, but other than that anyone with accessibility concerns shouldn't have any issues.
I might be wrong, but there doesn't seem to be any (space is very tight).
Much of the area is a permit zone but there is some on-street parking on Grove Road, and just around the corner on Southwell Road, where you don't require one. There's also some parking behind the Grove Road shops.
With light meals around £5 and hot drinks for £2.50-£3, it's no more than what you'd expect to pay at any city cafe. Our total bill for two dishes, two cakes and two hot drinks was £24.10.
As this newspaper reported when Nourish opened in November, owner Emma Risbey wanted to bring something different to Norwich and draw on her background as a nutrition lecturer and athlete.
It's still early days for Nourish, but already the quality of the ingredients and the team's passion for preparing them well comes across loud and clear. The venue's main limitation seems to be the lack of space, but the fact it's become so popular already bodes well for a bright future.
Our food reviews are always independent.
They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.