Yep, you read that right! A brand new addition to Norwich’s ever-growing list of vegan eateries… and this time it involves cocktails! The lovely ladies at the Bia Kitchen had such a great reaction to their market stall that they have stepped it up a notch, opening their own permanent place on St Benedict’s street. This new cocktail bar and restaurant ‘The Tipsy Vegan‘ serves up a different menu to their popular diner classics found on their market stall, alongside a very fancy, bespoke range of cocktails designed by Knowhere Special. I’m talking ‘House-Infused Beetroot Gin, Activated Charcoal, Mint, Lemon and Ginger Beer’ kinda fancy….
I was lucky enough to be in Norwich the day they opened to the public and didn’t think twice about booking myself in for dinner. On arriving, me and my sister (also vegan) were greeted with a super friendly welcome and shown to our seat. The place features a small ‘dining’ area with tables, a more laid back ‘drinking’ area and a couple of extra tables near the bar. We were seated in the dining area and immediately scanned the menu to see what we wanted to order. Luckily we have very similar tastes, so both picked out the same two mains we wanted to share. Top of our list were the Korean Bao Buns with BBQ tofu, kimchi slaw and Asian salad with peanut dressing and the ‘steak’ sandwich with Béarnaise sauce, slaw and parmesan and herb chips.
We looked through the cocktail list but nothing grabbed our fancy at the time – it was also 6pm on a weekday so we weren’t feeling fancy enough to splash out! I opted for a glass of white wine and my sister chose a gin and tonic. There was an overwhelming number of gins to choose from; luckily there was a knowledgable barman on hand to explain their subtle differences. Add Fentimans tonic and a glass goblet into the mix, and you have one kick-ass G&T!
The food came out really quickly and was once again served with a smile. The Bao buns were UNBELIEVABLE. One of the best things I’ve ever eaten (and that’s saying something after 10 months of travelling the world). Soft buns filled with tofu slathered in sticky, sweet Asian-style BBQ sauce, with a crunchy slaw and a healthy, yet tasty side of kale salad. The steak sandwich was also good, but not quite as good as the Bao buns! The steak was a little dry but the sauce was incredible, so once we added extra sauce, it was much better. The chips were great – clearly homemade and not just chucked into the fryer. We could have eaten a whole plateful 🙂
Being one of the first customers to visit The Tipsy Vegan, there was bound to be a few things that weren’t yet perfect. The service was faultless and the food very tasty, but we did think the Bao buns were very overpriced. At £9 for just two small buns and a side salad, we both thought this was really expensive and didn’t fit with the pricing of the other mains. The steak sandwich was a similar price and there was noticeably more food on the plate. Saying that, it seems we weren’t the only people who thought this, as a recent look at their menu (one month down the line) shows the Bao buns have been reduced to £5.50 and moved to the category of ‘Light Bites’ which is great!
The Tipsy Vegan is doing extremely well; it’s amazing to see a new vegan place so busy, so quickly. Rumour has it they were having to turn customers away on their first weekend because they were already packed out! They have also introduced a brunch menu which is very exciting – I can’t wait to pop in and try their pancakes with bacon, candied pecan and maple syrup. If I’m feeling adventurous, I might even pair it with their new brunch kombucha mocktail with beetroot, carrot, apple and ginger – sounds heavenly!