Eating & Drinking

The best places with a vintage vibe to eat and drink in Norwich

Vintage Norwich Visits The Edith Cavell

Despite many pubs closing over the years, Norwich is still not short of a good pub that will cater to most tastes and budgets. One that seemed to be closed for a long time but showed signs of being given new life, was The Edith Cavell on Tombland. Once a well thought of real ale pub, it’s now become a ‘bar and restaurant’ so we thought we’d pop along to this beautiful part of the city to see if the change was in keeping with such a history rich Norwich building or if it had all gone a bit clinical and new, which so often happens when traditional style pubs get a makeover.

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It’s certainly all feels very new, but it was great to see that details such as flock wallpaper and some of the furnishings gave a modern but traditional feel. There’s some beautiful art work dotted around,  including a wall dedicated to Edith Cavell herself. We didn’t pop upstairs to the restaurant, but if the bar area is anything to go by then we expect it’s a nice space to spend time in too.

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Set in the heart of Tombland, it’s good to see this beautiful building back in use. Steeped in history the building had previously been called the Army and Navy Stores back in 1879. The pub was only named The Edith Cavell in 1981, there was a brief name change to ‘Coles’ between 2005-2008 before receiving another name change but this time back to the Edith Cavell.  Surrounded by equally beautiful and historic buildings, it’s only right that this pub has new owners after being empty for almost a year despite it being refurbished.

 

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Walking past the building on an almost daily basis, it was certainly a sorry sight to see this pub locked up and lifeless for so long. At this point we should probably apologise to the new owners, those nose prints on the windows were probably ours as we tried to peek inside on our numerous walk-bys to see if there were any new signs of life.

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We haven’t tried out the food on offer yet, but the lunch menu looks like pretty good pub food to us, so we will be going back to investigate. We did of course test out the bar, and on a rainy dark afternoon in Norwich, sipping on a gin and tonic whilst looking out of the window, Tombland was looking at its most beautiful. History, food and gin, sounds like a perfect combination to us! If you haven’t visited The Edith Cavell yet, add it to your ‘to do’ list.

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For more information visit The Edith Cavell website

Barbeque with Harbercue

Some of you might have visited Harbercue during the summer when it was in residence at the Playhouse Bar, but those of you who didn’t can still enjoy it over the winter as they take up residence with their new pop up restaurant in the X Bells on St Benedicts Street.

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Slow cooking with smoke is an American method of cooking that has been around for centuries. Pigs were introduced to the Americas in 1500’s by Spanish settlers, and the method of cooking it using smoke came from the Native Americans. The method of cooking was particularly popular in the deep south, and in the 1950s “Barbecue” take out restaurants popped up all over. Because of the time needed to cook the meat properly it’s apparently one of the types of cuisine that has most resisted the fast food and chain restaurant culture.

In London there are a few restaurants specialising in this type of food, and after time spent travelling around the US, the team behind Harbercue are bringing the style to Norwich, with the ultimate aim of opening a permanent smokehouse restaurant in the City.

Using traditional American smokehouse cooking methods, all the meat for the Harbercue menu is locally sourced and free-range, cooked ‘low and slow’ in a backyard smoker’s for 12-15 hours. The menu includes Pulled Pork and beef, including some of the most delicious and tender ribs we’ve ever eaten. There’s also a selection of sides including red cabbage coleslaw, corn on the cob and battered jalapenos.

menuribsThe Cocktail maestros at the X Bells have also put together a complementary cocktail menu of bourbon and gin based cocktails to complement the food. We enjoyed a bacon Old-Fashioned, using bacon infused bourbon and a Gin Smash with basil, agave nectar and lime.

cocktailsMore unusually we were also invited to end our meal with a Pickleback Chaser. A shot of bacon infused bourbon, followed up with a shot of pickle brine. It was surprisingly nice, the brine tasted almost sweet with the whisky, and it was certainly an experience!

pigglebackIf you fancy trying some Harbercue smokehouse food, or even a Pickleback chaser, then the Harbercue pop up restaurant will be at the X Bells on Friday nights, all day Saturday and Sunday lunch times for the rest of the winter.

You can find the Harbercue Smoke House on Facebook or find out more about their pop up on the X Bells website.

Breakfast at Ed’s

Back in September retro American Diner chain Ed’s Easy Diner opened a new branch in Chapelfield shopping centre, and last weekend Vintage Norwich went along for breakfast to check it our for you.

Ed’s Easy Diner first opened in Soho back in the late 1980s, and since then has gone on to open locations across the UK. It has a traditional American diner set up, with counter seats, booths and an open plan kitchen, the diner also has mini retro jukeboxes that allow diners to choose their favourite 1950s tracks to be played.

On arrival  it really looks the part, all shiny chrome, black and white floors and red vinyl seats. We felt it would have been nice if the staff uniforms were a little more traditional diner than just a branded T Shirt. Maybe we’re just picky!

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The breakfast menu features American classics like waffles and pancakes served with bacon and maple syrup, as well as a choice of more traditional eggs/bacon/toast/sausage based breakfasts. They also do a range of milkshakes that we just couldn’t resist trying. The milkshakes are pricey at over £4, but they were huge and amazing. Bought to the table in a branded Eds mixer jug with a glass, there’s at least 2 servings in 1 jug. I can heartily recommend the Banana and Peanut Butter Milkshake. It’s as good as it sounds!

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During the day Ed’s features a classic American diner menu, with a selection of burgers, fries and ice cream floats.

Being a chain restaurant Ed’s in Norwich isn’t necessarily run by anyone with a real passion for 1950s style (I have no idea who the manager is, it’s possible they do!) but in a way that doesn’t really matter. The decor is great, you can play your own choice of 50s tunes and the food, at breakfast at least, was good too, which makes it an excellent new stop for 50s lovers for a Sunday brunch or early evening meal.

Ed’s closes at 8pm, in line with Chapelfield shopping centre opening hours, so don’t expect your own Grease style late night beauty school drop out moment. But if you fancy grabbing a burger and a milkshake with some good tunes on your way home from the shops then it’s a great destination.

Visit the Ed’s Easy Diner Website for more information on menus and opening times.

Vintage Norwich Loves: Cinema City

Throughout history Norwich has certainly not been short of cinemas, and today is no different. If you like your cinema experience to have a little something extra –  that not even a bucket sized cup of fizzy drink can give you, then perhaps it’s time you explored Cinema City.  Located on St. Andrews Street, it’s thought that the oldest surviving parts of the building date from the 14th Century, making a visit to this cinema a little different to more modern venues.

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Music lovers should also keep an eye on this venue, with recent screenings including Morrissey in concert, which was watched by a packed screen and was thanked with applause and even a few standing ovations! Also shown recently was Scott Walker: 30th Century Man, which drew a much smaller audience, but wow, were we grateful to get to watch this amazing piece of film.

It’s fair to say that Cinema City is a firm favourite here at Vintage Norwich, not just because we love the variety of film and entertainment it offers, but it’s such a beautiful building, in fact the bar is set in what would have once been the Great Hall (be sure to look up at the ceiling once you’ve ordered your drink!)

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It’s certainly a great place for food with the menus ranging from burger deals to fine dining. The partially covered courtyard makes eating alfresco  a nice option – even with the temperamental British weather, but head indoors and you’ll find the restaurant set in vaulted rooms, which provide a wonderful ambience when daylight fades and is replaced by candlelight and low lighting.

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Members of Cinema City benefit from discounts on dining as well as cinema tickets, so if you fall in love with this place as much as we have, you might want to consider treating yourself to a membership.

Visit the Cinema City Website

It’s Tiki Time

We know the weather has taken a turn for the rainy, but if you fancy recapturing a bit of that summer feeling, vintage style, then a Tiki Bar is the place to go.

Tiki bars are a taste of the South Pacific, often featuring “god” masks and carvings,  flowers and bamboo in their decorations, and serving lots, and lots of Rum Based Cocktails. The very first Tiki bar was apparently “Don the Beachcomber” in Los Angeles in 1933, but the style became hugely popular in the 40s and 50s.

Here at Vintage Norwich there are 2 bars we’d recommend for the Tiki lover. So ignore the rain, don your best frock and some hair flowers and head out for a cocktail.

Our favourite for recapturing a bit of Summer is Revolucion De Cuba. It’s not strictly Tiki, as its inspiration is Cuban rather than South Pacific, but it has a great Latin vibe and is a wonderful place to recapture that summer feeling. It’s open all day, so you can sit next to palms under whirling ceiling fans and enjoy a lunch time Mojito, or cup of coffee, and they serve food to soak up all that rum.

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Wednesday nights are Swing nights, so worth checking out, and they have a regular happy hour with a very dangerous 2-4-1 cocktail deal. You can also book cocktail making masterclasses or rum tastings

Find Revolucion De Cuba on their website, or on Facebook.

If you’re looking for something with a more pure Tiki style, then Lola Lo is your venue. It’s frequently used in photo shoots as a location, this photo comes from a shoot for Lady Lucks Boutique by Andy Sapey.

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The club allows you to book a “Tiki Booth” ahead of time and be treated to table service all night. They also have a list of amazing Tiki cocktails, and 15 speciality rums. The cocktail menu features drinks in proper Tiki mugs and drinks made for 2 to share. They also offer a private cocktail making masterclass.

Lola Lo’s however, is very definitely a night club, not a place for an early evening cocktail, it’s doors don’t even open till 10pm, and music (not of the vintage kind) features highly on it’s list of entertainments. It is available for private hire on Tuesdays and Sunday though, if you fancy throwing your own Tiki party to escape the autumn chill.

Find Lola Lo’s on their website or on Facebook.

Of course, if you don’t fancy venturing outside much at all then you can always order yourself a tiki mug and make yourself a Zombie, this recipe comes from GreatCocktails.co.uk

Ingredients

  • 1 measure dark rum
  • 1 measure white rum
  • ½ measure apricot brandy
  • 2 measures pineapple juice
  • ½ measure lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • Garnish: cocktail cherry and pineapple wedge

Add all the ingredients into a cocktail mixer with ice and shake, then pour into a hurricane glass. Spear the pineapple and cherry onto a cocktail stick and place on the edge of the glass, finally add a straw.

View from the Vintage City Network

Vintage Manchester – UK Tiki Fest is Coming

If you’re a fan of Tiki then Manchester is hosting its very own week long Tiki Festival! Vintage Manchester has a pair of tickets to giveaway.

 Vintage Brighton – Brighton’s home-grown tiki bars

If you’re taking a trip to the seaside you can get a touch of tiki style there too.

Vintage London – 3 London Tiki Highlights

Tiki highlights in London include tiki nails!