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Norwich vegan, vegetarian and gluten free cafes

PUBLISHED: 12:49 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:13 09 January 2017

Cheryl Mullenger (left) and Michelle McCabe who run the Bia Kichen Vegan Diner at Norwich Market

Cheryl Mullenger (left) and Michelle McCabe who run the Bia Kichen Vegan Diner at Norwich Market

Copyright: Archant 2016

If you fancy changing your diet or simply want to try some exciting new flavours, give Norwich’s fantastic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cafes a try

Afternoon tea at The Jungle Cafe in Old CostesseyAfternoon tea at The Jungle Cafe in Old Costessey

The New Year is often a time when we make major lifestyle choices, from exercising more to cutting down on alcohol. For some it may be the decision to become vegetarian or vegan, perhaps for health reasons or because of concerns over animal welfare issues. An increasing number are also removing gluten from their diets. For those diagnosed as having coeliac disease it is a serious health issue, and even the smallest amount of gluten will make them ill.

So while more cafes and restaurants now have good vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on their menus, Norwich also has a growing number of eateries catering specifically for those dietary needs.

Café Jungle

With cosy sofas and large tables nestled among tropical plants, The Jungle Café at Costessey boasts a fantastic gluten-free menu and an unusual setting.

Everything on the menu at the café, which is part of the Urban Jungle Plant Nursery, is 100pc gluten-free and there is a focus on ethical produce and the environment. Even the café itself is built from recycled and upcycled materials.

Café owner Elizabeth Browne says it was her own decision to stop eating gluten which inspired her menu. “I gave up gluten 10 years ago and the difference to how I felt was amazing; there were so many unexpected health benefits.

The Jungle Cafe in Old CostesseyThe Jungle Cafe in Old Costessey

“We don’t make a huge thing about it being gluten-free, as I think some people believe that means it won’t taste as good but that certainly isn’t the case. Many customers are surprised when we tell them what they have eaten is gluten-free. But nothing here - our cakes, bread or pastry - has any gluten in it, so there is no chance of cross-contamination for those who suffer major health problems from eating it, such as people with coeliac disease.”

Café Jungle, Urban Jungle, Ringland Lane, Costessey, near Norwich NR8 5BG; 01603 744997; www.cafejungle.co.uk

Also try

The Norfolk Gluten Free Company was founded in 2014 by Louisa Kiddell and Tony Garrick, and last year they opened their city centre café and shop – selling everything from day-to-day essentials to luxury goods, all of which are gluten-free. The café serves tasty breakfasts, hearty pies and delicious desserts.

The Gluten Free Shop and Café, Timber Hill, Norwich, NR1 3JZ; 01603 610573; norfolkglutenfree.co.uk

Bia Kitchen's Jackfruit BapBia Kitchen's Jackfruit Bap

Bia Kitchen

Combining a street food vibe with a vibrant vegan menu, Bia Kitchen has become one of Norwich’s most popular spots for a healthy lunch.

The diner on Norwich Market, which was opened in 2014 by vegans Michelle McCabe and Cheryl Mullenger, offers a comprehensive menu full of bold, exciting flavours and ingredients – and it isn’t just vegans and vegetarians who enjoy its dishes.

“I love eating out but felt there was a real lack of vegan options in Norwich, especially at lunchtime, and I seemed to live off hummus and pitta, so Cheryl and I decided to take the plunge,” explains Michelle.

“There is a preconception that vegan food is bland and lacking in flavour or substance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Things have changed so much in the past couple of years and more people are now choosing vegan and vegetarian food, including meat-eaters who are keen to cut back and not have meat every day

“Our lunch menus are very accessible – we like to prove that even regular ‘meat’ favourites can be made vegan and pack as much of a punch in terms of flavour.”

Bia Kitchen, Norwich Market, NR2 1ND; biakitchen.co.uk

The River Green Café is not only in a pretty setting, it has a mouthwatering vegan and vegetarian lunch and dinner menu and an indulgent choice of desserts.

River Green Café, The Street, Trowse, NR14 8AH; 01603 622448; rivergreencafe.co.uk

At Moorish Falafel Bar in Norwich Lanes, choose pitta stuffed with hummus, baba ganoush and delicious falafel, or mix it up with some aubergine salsa, tabbouleh and house salad.

Moorish Falafel Bar, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich, NR2 1EL; 01603 622250; moorishfalafelbar.com

Wild Thyme’s vegetarian breakfast menu includes scrambled pesto free range eggs, with grilled tomato and wilted greens. There are also vegan and gluten-free options and an extensive lunch menu.

Wild Thyme, Labour in Vain Yard, Norwich, NR2 1JD; 01603 765562; wildthymenorwich.co.uk

Namaste Village and Namaste India, both in Norwich, serve entirely vegetarian authentic Indian food. Try the Dosa – mini crepes made from rice and lentil flour batter stuffed with deliciously spiced fillings.

Namaste India, Opie Street, Norwich, NR1 3DN, 01603 662016; Namaste Village, Queens Road, Norwich, NR1 3PN, 01603 466466; namasteindiannorwich.com

Related content:

6 delicious vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Norwich

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