Tucked away in Norwich’s historic lanes there is a palpable energy floating from the open door of 68-70 St Benedicts Street. A retro speakeasy plays the nostalgic sounds of 20s and 30s swing jazz and the mouth-watering menu enticing us in is exclusively vegan. Servers with big smiles, bow ties and braces welcome us in and we immediately fall in love. This celadon green vegan tavern of delights, which has us excited before we’ve even eaten, is The Tipsy Vegan.
With different menus for different meals there’s no danger of a dull day here! Our visit fell on a Saturday brunch-time, which meant cooked breakfasts and light bites. Having decided to share our plates again we opted for a perfect pairing of the Irish breakfast and the Mexicana Hash, two gloriously colourful dishes both bursting with flavour.
The breakfast comprised of rich and flavoursome leek & herb sausages, tofu bacon, colcannon fritters, baked beans, scrambled egg, sautéed spinach and sourdough toast, all of which were some of the most superb substitutes we’ve tasted! We’re all about the flavour, and big fans of being presented with food we don’t need to uptip a shit load of salt and pepper onto and The Tipsy Vegan well and truly nailed it! The highlight of this plate though was arguably the scrambled ‘egg’ made from tofu. Gone are the days of tasteless cubes of dense sponge that resemble a cheap Lego knockoff rather than food. Tofu will never be the same for us ever again. We felt a touch of sadness after finishing this delicious breakfast so thank you ever so much Tipsy Vegan for altering our tofu-prejudiced minds!
The Mexicana Hash was equally exemplary – a hearty heap of sautéed potatoes, chorizo, black beans, red & yellow pepper and a gorgeous velvety avocado cream. From the perfectly cooked and seasoned potatoes to the ever so slightly spicy and meaty chorizo, every mouthful was a full on assault on the taste buds.
Excelling in food is one thing. For a dining experience to be truly memorable, all of the elements must be done correctly and that brings us onto the drinks menu! Our pick was the ‘Can’t Beet Kombucha’. This dazzling blast of liquid joy is comprised of kombucha (known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese), freshly pressed beetroot (yum!), carrot, apple and ginger and was the perfect accompaniment to such beautiful food. Our 8 yr old sidekick (Evan) was fascinated to see a real bartender in action, who in addition to performing perfectly for our camera slipped Evan a few extra blueberries, much to his delight!
As sweets were not available with the brunch menu when we visited (they are now offering cakes & muffins at lunch and brunch!) we decided to make a return trip solely to sample their desserts and were blown away by what we encountered! The chocolate and salted caramel tart is in the running for our dessert of the year crown and even now still gets a fortnightly mention whenever we discuss our love of all things sugar based!
The delicate yet firm pastry is the perfect vehicle for the thick layer of luxuriously rich & decadent salted caramel and dark glossy chocolate topping. These folks aren’t shy with the salt either (that’s a good thing!) so pack away any fears that you may have about your sodium intake and blood pressure and surrender to what can only be described as a dance of flavours. That savoury salty edge lingers in the background, hovering on your lips, and just as you start to become aware of it on the sides of your tongue it melds with the extravagantly honeyed sweetness of the caramel to create the kind of harmony normally reserved for 60s girl groups.
Evan was also equally thrilled with his portion of homemade mini donuts with more salted caramel and chocolate dipping sauces! We also successfully stole a nibble of these doughnuts and they were indeed heavenly.
The Tipsy Vegan is one of those captivating treasures that is currently setting the standards on all fronts in Norwich. Not only are they serving some of the most innovative, delicious vegan food we have ever tasted, but the staff are amazing too! We fell in love with manager Aimee & waitress Flossie and defy you to find any warmer, lovelier ladies!
This vegan nirvana is a shining star, a wonderful example of how good vegan food can be and if we were planning to show any meat eating acquaintances how good a plant based diet could be, we would head straight to the Tipsy Vegan every single time.