Twitter is fantastic for the gluten-free community. I've discovered so many new products and heard about exciting restaurants and events thanks to some of my favourite tweeters (twitterers?!). A few months ago, I heard about the Norfolk Gluten Free Shop and Café, and excitedly bookmarked it for the next time we came to Norfolk for a long weekend. THIS WAS THAT WEEKEND!
On Easter Saturday, we headed into Norwich planning to re-live the mister's childhood with a visit to Norwich Castle and then do a spot of wishful thinking for our new flat in the hallowed halls of John Lewis. But first, lunch! We arrived at about 1pm, which was probably the worst time to visit because every table was full - definitely a good sign. You can make reservations every day apart from Saturday but, rather than come back later, we decided to just wait for a table, popping upstairs for a quick look in the shop beforehand.
The shop is full of all kinds of delicious gluten free treats - cereals, condiments, pastas, bread, biscuits and a fridge full of pies and pastries, to name but a few! I made a mental note of a few items to come back and buy on our way out before heading downstairs to wait for a table. We didn't have to wait too long, about 10 minutes or so, before a table freed up. Most of the tables were two-seaters but as there were 3 of us waiting for a table, it took a little longer for one of a suitable size to free up.
You've no idea how exciting it is as a coeliac to be able to look at a menu and choose absolutely
anything that's on it! I'd say it doesn't happen often enough but really, public knowledge and availability of gluten free products have improved so much over the last few years that I can't complain, but it's still such a treat to be able to eat somewhere and not worry about cross-contamination. We all chose to have the 'pie and side' - I chose the chicken pie, which was served alongside a dressed salad and some lentil chips. I think next time I would have the extra gravy too (any excuse for more gravy!) but the pie was delicious, beautifully flaky pastry and lots of filling. Hubby chose the chicken and stuffing pie, and his mum went for the steak pie and there were clean plates all round. There were lots of other options to choose from on the menu and I'm already deliberating between the Ploughmans, doughballs and quiches for my next visit.
Room for dessert? Absolutely! There were an array of fabulous-looking cakes and sweet treats to choose from, including some Millionaire Shortbread which will have to wait for another visit when I'm back on the chocolate. My mother in law chose the cherry frangipane tart, my mister went for a sweet little carrot cake and I (after much thought) chose the victoria sponge. Oh they were so delicious - sweet, moist and thoroughly enjoyed even by my gluten-eating companions.
It was very difficult to even think about food after our lunchtime spread so probably a good time to pop back to the shop to pick up a few bits to take home with me! I decided to get some Italian gluten free tagliatelle, some Walkers shortbread, which I haven't had for years, and the selection of bread on offer was simply too irresistible. I chose a tiger bloomer and it's honestly the best gluten free bread I've ever had - I still remember gluteny bread and it tastes like that!
Definitely worth visiting if you're in the Norwich area - not far from the castle too, culture-buffs!
The Gluten Free Shop & Café
21 Timberhill, Norwich NR1 3JZ
(excluding Easter Sunday and Easter Monday)
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm