Why you need to put Norwich's Urban Lounge on your 'must visit' list

Inside Norwich's Urban Lounge

Inside Norwich's Urban Lounge - Credit: URBAN LOUNGE

It is a café-bar eatery with a twist, set on the outskirts of the city centre. So what made our food reviewer, Donna-Louise Bishop, decide to venture out there on a wet and windy night? 

Food

Anyone who has read any of my earlier reviews will know I'm a bit of a sucker for a foodie Instagram photo. From delicious-looking images of far-flung cuisines to tasty treats, I just want to sample them all. 

Thankfully, this is a weakness that has yet to fail me – and one which continued to ring true for Norwich’s Urban Lounge. 

Based on the corner of Magdalen Road and Knowsley Road towards to north of the city, it has set up home in the former Goodson Bros Pet Superstore premises. 

Urban Lounge, Norwich

There is a great atmosphere at the Urban Lounge in Norwich - Credit: URBAN LOUNGE

Part of the Urban Bull collective, which is made up of Ink Addiction and Urban Stays, this brunch by day and cocktails by night eatery is something to behold.  

As well as being somewhere to soak up an enjoyable vibe, there is a strong sense of community here with an underlying ethos of helping others. 

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Aesthetically, the building itself is something to admire as the modern meets vintage, and indoor designs are combined with outside materials. 

But while that is all wonderful, it was the food that lured us in one cold and wet Friday evening. That, and the cocktails. 

The cocktails could have easily flowed all night long (Urban Lounge, Norwich)

The cocktails could have easily flowed all night long (Urban Lounge, Norwich) - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Tempted by the winter range of cocktails, I opted for the Il Toro Bailey (£9), a classic espresso martini with a festive splash of Baileys Irish cream added to the mix. As you’d expect, it was absolutely divine and went down possibly a bit too well. 

My partner picked out a Dark ‘N’ Stormy (£8) made traditionally with rum and ginger beer, served over ice with lime.  

The bar and waiting staff were really friendly and welcoming, and we all enjoyed some banter while our drinks were being made. Once they arrived, we were then ready to order our meals. 

From 6pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Urban Lounge offers evening Thai plates from individual tapas options (including some very naughty-looking Thai style dirty fries) to wraps and fully loaded boxes. 

While the tapas sounded wonderful, there was no hesitation from either of us as we ordered a fully loaded box each – The Prolific (meaty) for me, and The Pacific (seafood) for my partner – both priced at £14.99 each. We didn’t have long to wait and when the boxes arrived, they were a feast for the eyes.  

The fully loaded boxes were hearty and delicious (Urban Lounge, Norwich)

The fully loaded boxes were hearty and delicious (Urban Lounge, Norwich) - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The fully loaded boxes were hearty and delicious (Urban Lounge, Norwich)

The fully loaded boxes were hearty and delicious (Urban Lounge, Norwich) - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

In The Prolific, I had crispy aromatic duck, chicken satay, tiger prawn fritters, and duck spring rolls served on top of dirty fries. I was in heaven. The is always a concern that a dish like this is might be heavy and look unappetising, but this was definitely not the case here. The food was cooked to perfection, was light and tasty, and the combination of flavours worked really well.

It felt as if I’d eaten three or four meals, just all combined together. My partner agreed as he tucked into his selection of all things seafood, including tiger prawn stir fry with oyster sauce, deep-fried salt and pepper squid, prawn toast (which I helped him to finish) and tiger prawn fritters, also served on top of dirty fries. 

As well as The Classic and curry-style The Terriffic (sic) curry-style, there is also the option of The Specific, which is a vegan option. 

We were both surprisingly full after our meals – there's a lot of food in those boxes – but I still wanted to try one of the desserts. The vegan coconut ice cream (£5), topped with almonds and raspberry coulis, was exquisite.

My partner managed to find room for a slice of chocolate fudge cake (£3.50) – there are different varieties of cake daily – and while it was pleasant, it was a tad on the dry side. It was hardly a massive problem though after the delicious meal we’d had in a place that has absolutely nailed a relaxed yet exciting city vibe. 

Eating this coconut ice cream was almost as good as heaven - delicious! (Urban Lounge, Norwich)

The coconut ice cream at Urban Lounge. - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The chocolate fudge cake was a little on the dry side but it still had an incredible flavour (Urban Lounge, Norwich)

The chocolate fudge cake was a little on the dry side but it still had an incredible flavour (Urban Lounge, Norwich) - Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Setting

The team behind Urban Lounge have really thought about the style behind this place. There are industrial and natural elements that work in harmony throughout the building. It is impressive how it transforms from daytime brunch café to nighttime cocktail bar without much effort. It just works. 

Value

The cocktails are the price of what you’d usually expect and the food is reasonably priced too. For two cocktails, fully loaded boxes and desserts, we paid £55.48. We had fully stomachs, alive and kicking taste buds and a happy demeanour when we left.  

Drinks

There is an extensive drinks list here, including varieties of whisky, rum, gin and vodka, as well as soft drinks including an artisan fiery ginger beer and a wine list. Urban Lounge also offers amazing cocktails from its classics range to seasonal options, which at the moment is a winter range. They also have a two for £12 offer running on Thursdays.  

As well as alcoholic options there are also café options such as coffees (from £2), iced coffees (from £2.90) and smoothies (£3.90). These complement other food options on the menu including jacket potatoes (from £4), soup with sourdough (£7), varieties of fries (from £4) and brunch options which include English muffins (from £4.50). 

Toilets

Well, I’ve never been so confused in my life. But that confusion quickly changed to an appreciation of the quirkiness of it. The toilet doors and walls are made mostly from MDF with uniquely finished quirks. It’s worth spending a quick penny here if you’re visiting. 

Accessibility

While Urban Lounge doesn’t boast a massive floor space, there is room to manoeuvre a wheelchair or pushchair. The toilets are unisex. There are also baskets of blankets should you feel a chill. And vegan options for diners. 

Service

There are some friendly, happy staff working here and their enthusiasm quickly rubs off on you. We could have spent all evening here sipping on cocktails and soaking up the atmosphere. 

Highlight

The variety of options here was a massive highlight for me. It’s not just the food and drink, but also the option to pick what type of experience you want.

It’s great for enjoying breakfast with friends or having a fun evening out. It also caters for families and a couple wanting to spend some relaxing time together. Urban Lounge is really something very special.  

In summary

If you haven’t already, you need to pop this on your to-visit list as soon as possible. You won’t regret it. 

If you like that, try these... 

No 33, Exchange Street in Norwich – No 33 has become one of the most popular cafés in Norwich, and a few years ago expanded to take over the neighbouring premises. 

The Butterfly Café, King Street in Norwich – a decent café serving breakfasts all day nestled in the heart of a lovely community in the city centre 

Lemon Tree Café Bar, Wymondham – The Lemon Tree is a busy spot in Wymondham that serves up breakfasts, tea and cake and lunches six days of the week (it closes on Mondays).  

Did you know...? 

As well as being an all-around fab place to visit, Urban Lounge is on a mission to inject energy into Norwich while providing genuine support for its community. It is also part of the Urban Bull collective, which includes tattoo studio Ink Addiction, established over 11 years ago, and holiday apartments, Urban Stays, situated above the Lounge. 

It will also be host to a number of different events, including a Christmas wreath-making workshop, a ticketed event that includes brunch, a hot drink and all materials. Urban Lounge will also be presenting Laugh in the Lounge – a night of comedy and cocktails. Visit the Facebook or Instagram page for more information. 

Disclaimer

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 that do or do not advertise in our publication.