Up where we belong…
One of the more potentially challenging aspects of moving from a vegetarian to a vegan, is visiting any of your old favourite restaurants and hoping they will still be able to look after you and your new diet. Situated on the top floor of The Union Building on Rose Lane is The Rooftop Gardens, which has always been one of my favourites. For me, there is always a sense of occasion as you enter through the office facade- as if you are literally sneaking through a quiet, grey office- to ascend up to a vibrant bar and restaurant, set as close to the clouds as you are able to get in Norwich.
The décor is modern and bright, the bar and restaurant inviting with lots of cozy armchairs and seats (I am a fan of a cozy armchair in a restaurant!). A lovely rooftop patio, which, on this particular afternoon was totally sun kissed and looked so idyllic. It was still pretty cold in the wind, so we were shown to a table indoors, by a window opposite the Cathedral.
The views over Norwich are the focus and rightly so, you just can’t peel your eyes away. I wonder if the waiters ever get fed up with people looking over their shoulders or past their eyes, towards the glorious Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle, or at St Peter Mancroft Church or at the very top of the City Hall clock tower. It is a beautiful City and I may be biased but I think it has one of the most stunning skylines of any city in the UK.
We were visiting this time, for Sunday lunch. It is certainly, one of the more expensive options for a Sunday Roast in Norwich. We paid £16.00 each for our mains and it is a little more for the meat choices on the menu. The portions are plentiful, and there is a certain amount of finesse delivered that brings out the very best in the simplicity of the great roast dinner. Combine this, with the amazing setting, it does make the Rooftop Garden’s Sunday offering one of the more unique and modern, of those available in the City right now and so, it is worth every penny!
There is as you may expect for a roast menu, just one vegetarian option and it is not marked vegan, but as any veggie or vegan will attest – that does not stop us! We spoke to our friendly waiter and asked, if it could be made vegan, (e.g. removing the Yorkshire puddings, not adding butter to the vegetables) he was very obliging. We sat back with our drinks and waited (eagerly!).
Not long after, our food arrived; a Tofu and Rosemary Nut Roast served on roast potatoes with beetroot and golden beetroot. We also had a shared bowl of fresh vegetables, colourful and inviting. Heaped in our bowl was a generous portion of runner beans, sugar snap beans, cabbage, kale, butternut squash, long stem broccoli and courgette. We each had a small jug with extra gravy- is there a more wondrous thing to accompany a roast dinner?
We certainly did have our 5 a day.
One of the best feelings, that will never fail to impress me with a plant based diet is even after a hearty meal, you never feel over-full, heavy or bloated- at least not in the same way, I used to when I ate meat. The food instead feels like fuel, immediately giving you an instant boost of energy rather than, as with our meat counterparts sitting heavy in your stomach for hours and hours. We finished our drinks and sat chatting the afternoon away.
We abstained from dessert, although if we had wanted it – they were serving a vegan friendly chocolate and raspberry cheesecake with orange sorbet, which I must admit, did sound lovely. But, instead we opted for a liquid dessert in the form of a little pub crawl home!
From the Rooftop we enjoyed a drink at The Last Pub Standing (King’s Street), then up to The Coach and Horses (Thorpe Road), concluding at our local, The Jubilee (St Leonards Road).
Side note, The Coach and Horses food menu was extremely impressive and had an abundance of vegan choices. As we sat sipping on our drinks, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the dazzling food coming out of the kitchen. It looked incredible… and we will be making guests of ourselves in the very near future…. Watch this space!
To experience Norwich up in the clouds, follow the link below.