The Tipsy Vegan in Norwich

Sunday, 29 October 2017

If you didn’t already know, I used to live in Norwich. I haven’t lived there long term for over eight years now, but I still visit my mum there and it seems like every time I go back, there are exciting new vegan places to try! It was my mum who sent me a link to The Tipsy Vegan as a potential place to try out for lunch when Chris and I were last in town, and after browsing the menu I couldn’t resist giving it a go. We were going at a good time too, because after being open for evening meals about three months, they were only recently opening their doors for lunch too.

The Tipsy Vegan serves good, wholesome comfort food ranging from mouth-watering sandwiches and ribs to carbonara, and offers an incredibly impressive range of bespoke cocktails and mocktails that compliment the restaurant’s speak easy vibe well. Fun, retro music adds a great, cheerful but laidback atmosphere and even the drinks are served in vintage-style crystal glasses!

Given the nice list of cocktails, I couldn’t resist trying one (even though it wasn’t exactly cocktail hour) and opted for the Black Gin Smash, which uses infused gin, beetroot and activated charcoal to give it a distinctive black look. The subtle beetroot and pleasant earthy combination of this and the charcoal was delicious, and it was an easy to drink but nonetheless grown-up tasting cocktail that was beautifully presented with a beetroot garnish. Had we gone in the evening, I definitely would’ve had to try a few more, since unlike most places they serve things like aquafaba and soya milk in their drinks, making everything vegan!

For my lunch, I chose the pepper steak sandwich, served with parmesan dusted chips, coleslaw and smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Don’t worry, ‘pepper’ steak just refers to the seasoning and isn’t a trick – it is indeed a kind of meat substitute and not made out of a bell pepper as I’d been suspicious of! This was honestly one of the most incredible vegan meals I’ve had since going vegan over two years ago now – the ‘steak’ was just the right kind of meaty without tasting or feeling too much like meat, and the sauce was out of this world. Every bite left me wanting more, and the chips were perfectly cooked and seasoned to boot.

Chris chose the half rack of barbeque ‘ribs’, served with coleslaw, potato salad and a corn cob and it was just as delectable as the steak sandwich. The ribs were filling (Chris said he wouldn’t have needed the full rack, although being a glutton I would probably go for full next time…) and the sauce was spot on with a mix of spicy, sweet and barbeque-y flavours. The potato salad and the coleslaw were also so nice that they actually made me forget about my usual dislike of mayonnaise!

I can never say no to desserts when I visit a vegan restaurant, especially when the menu is obviously created by and for vegans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve seen enough raw cheesecakes and sorbets to last me a lifetime. Luckily, The Tipsy Vegan’s comfort food extends to the dessert menu, and I got to try one of their caramel chocolate tarts. Served with vanilla ice cream, this incredible tart is rich, creamy, and best of all has a gooey, caramel filling! I love the chocolate tarts that I’ve had at other restaurants and at places like Zizzi’s, but this one was by far better than them and was sweet without being too sweet, and wonderfully luxurious and comforting.

My first impressions of The Tipsy Vegan couldn’t be better – the service was wonderful, the food was amazing and the selection on the menu is exactly what more vegan places should aspire to. I can’t wait to visit again in the evening one day; the food is certainly comforting but isn’t overly stodgy and doesn’t just rely on burgers and hot dogs, and it isn’t ‘healthy’ and light like vegan food so often is either. It strikes a balance somewhere in between and fills a gap in the market that I think has long needed filling. The décor feels special and unique, but laidback enough to kick back, relax and enjoy your vegan cocktails and treats in style and know you’ll be looked after well by the staff.

If you’re ever in Norwich, I can’t recommend this place enough! Follow them on Instagram for more tasty foodporn, and grab an extra steak sandwich for me when you go...

I've missed you, autumn.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

There are two kinds of people: the spring and summer songbirds that relish the longer days, the smell of freshly cut grass and the warmth of sunshine on their skin, and the autumn and winter souls that blossom like snowdrops as the cold weather creeps in. I can understand why so many people are sad to see the warmer weather leave us behind (especially given what a short and lacklustre summer we saw this year) but I’m one of the many that spends May through to September just counting the days until the leaves start to change and I can smell the shifting seasons in the crisp, morning air.

Most of the autumnal things that us bloggers like seem so cliché now, but there’s no shame in enjoying the festivities and the comfort of warm blankets, cinnamon-scented candles and curling up with a good book and a pumpkin spiced latté on chilly evenings. Spring and summer and the warmth and buzz they bring with them are so often associated with hustle and bustle, enjoyment and making the most out of life and the ever-fleeting good weather. But, for those of us slipping on our knit jumpers like a new skin, it’s autumn that provides the fresh start and new beginnings. Autumn may be the end of mild evenings sipping cider in pub gardens or spent barbequing with friends and family, but it’s a harbinger of change that brings with it new experiences to enjoy that those of us who appreciate all things hygge welcome with open arms.

I’m never one for restricting what I wear throughout the seasons – I’m a three shades of black kind of gal – but I’m always so excited to greet the cooler weather and the trends it brings with it time and time again. I’ve been loving using darker nail polishes and Maggie Anne’s Inga*, a deep warm plum colour, has been the perfect shade to channel my inner seasonal goddess. Being able to browse shops and finally see colour palettes and styles of clothing that actually suit me and that I adore again is a joy, and in my quest to shop more ethically I’ve managed to find a few good bargains and have been living most of my days in my new favourite second-hand grey and forest green knit sweaters. Ever the blessing when that time rolls around each year, I’ve also been thrilled to finally return to wearing boots with every outfit again.

Dark greens, reds, plums and rusty oranges and yellows inspired by nature are some of my favourite colours; it’s like picking a pleasing shade from a piece of autumn foliage. The most frustrating thing to find as a vegan are the dark, vampiric lipstick shades that come back into style every year, but I’ve already got my eye on some. Nabla Cosmetics do a wonderful range of all vegan makeup products, and this year released their Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipsticks, of which Unspoken is the perfect deep, ruby red and Coco the perfect dark chocolate brown, both of which I’ve been coveting since they were first released. When it comes to eyes, I’ve been enjoying using a wash of PHB Ethical Beauty’s Grape mineral eyeshadow* to add a subtle reddish purple that suits the season to my everyday makeup looks.

Contrary to what many might think of vegans, I’m not much of a salad person – rather I much prefer the hot, wholesome one-pot dishes that are staples of cold weather cooking. Now is the ideal time to live off cheap, filling stews like my smoked paprika, butter bean and fennel stew that I mentioned in this post, roast dinners, spicy curries, and anything and everything with squash or pumpkin. I’m already preparing to make a pumpkin pie, and have been bringing homemade vegan cinnamon rolls into work, much to the delight of my colleagues. People can be as uppity as they like about pumpkin spiced lattés and those that live for them, but even as someone who tends to avoid spending money on takeout coffee, I was over the moon to see that Pret a Manger have released their own pumpkin spiced drink that – unlike Starbucks’ – is possible to veganise.

The colder, darker evenings also bring with them the perfect opportunity to enjoy quiet, reflective candlelit nights wrapped in faux fur blankets. It should go without saying that anything musky, earthy and spiced make for a perfect autumnal fragrance; cinnamon candles and essential oils, for example, are in frequent rotation in my household, and Joik’s Cinnamon Bun Soy Wax candle is top of wishlist at the moment. Scented candles don’t have to be heavily spiced to evoke a cosy, fall feeling though – Harper’s Candles Wolf Wood is one of my absolute favourites and is crisp, clean and subtly sweet but still somehow feels woody and autumnal. Skandinavisk Koto is also a perfect hygge scent with its soft vanilla and mandarin fragrance with notes of amber and spice.

As the leaves start to wither and fall, giving way in preparation for new life next spring, my subdued summer self gives way to a more vivacious me with a greater lust for life. It may not be everyone’s favourite time of year, but even as I start to feel the chilly winds and darker mornings eat away at my energy and motivation, like clockwork I still always come into my own during autumn. What are some of your favourite things about this season?

* This post is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however this product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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