Reviewed in Feast issue 43 – February 2020
Jarrold, our much-loved independent department store in the centre of Norwich, has really excelled itself when it comes to its food and drink offering over the past few years.
First there was the Deli and Wine Bar on the lower ground floor, swiftly followed by The Exchange, with its impressive wood-fired pizza oven. All of a sudden, it was as if you were on the top floor of Harvey Nichols!
And now there is The Bay, in a prime position on Floor 2. Thank goodness this corner space has been utilised to its best advantage. Before, you were looking at wall to wall bedding; now there’s a great view of Norwich Market in all its colourful glory.
The home department at large has had a major revamp, and so perfectly complements the new restaurant, the centrepiece of which is a circular bar which has old gold fixtures and fittings above it, echoing the copper of the Wine Bar in the Deli.
The Bay specialises in seafood, in particular freshly cured salmon (including Jarrold’s own brand smoked salmon) and different types of caviar including Oscietra, Sevruga and Beluga (125g of the latter will set you back a cool £500). Is there anywhere else in East Anglia which can boast such an offering, except for, say, Stansted Airport?
The restaurant is already attracting the ladies who lunch crowd, but what you might not know is that The Bay is also open for breakfast, between 9.30am and 11.30am.
Editor Sarah and I enjoyed breakfast there recently, and the seafood theme certainly lends itself to the first meal of the day, with smoked salmon and such like.
Sarah enjoyed a Smoked Salmon and Crayfish Royale, with Hollandaise over poached hen’s eggs, John Ross smoked salmon, crayfish and English muffin (£7 or £14, depending on the size). A big seafood fan, she naturally ‘went large’ and easily demolished the dish, admiring the goodly quantity of salmon and the creamy (and no doubt calorie-laden) sauce. She attempted to balance it out with lashings of lovely mint tea, served in quirky pot.
The on trend taste for all things Scandi comes through loud and clear at The Bay. I was intrigued by the Scandinavian Breakfast Smörgåsbord, a good smattering of all the best bits of breakfast, in my opinion: mini savoury croissant, smoked salmon, herring paste, yogurt, Scandinavian frozen berries, granola, honey, Gjetost goat’s cheese, and Danish style rye bread (for £10.50 per person). A Smörgåsbord for breakfast might sound a bit much but it really wasn’t and the herring paste was particularly delicious. All of this was washed down with a virtuous carrot juice (£3.50) from the Juice Bar.
The lunchtime crowd was starting to appear so breakfast kind of became lunch and we decided to share a platter of exotic fruit as our ‘dessert’, for £6.50. And exotic it was – at least one fruit remains a complete mystery!
I spotted that the legendary Jarrold cheese scone has made its way onto the breakfast menu – hey, it’s a winning recipe so why not spread the love?
A week or so later, I returned to The Bay with my partner to try out the lunch. We sat on high stools by one of the corner windows and people-watched.
On the menu is anything from your classic Lobster Bisque to Norfolk dressed Cromer crab, through to fish pie (£10.50), which we both opted for, wondering if it was going to be as legendary as the scone. Coming in a skillet and topped with a swirl of creamy mashed potato, we both decided that the pie was quite simply the best we’d ever tasted. Even the ramekin of sprouting broccoli which came on the side was ridiculously moreish.
All dishes in The Bay are freshly prepared daily, using the highest quality local produce wherever possible. And it’s not ALL about the seafood – I was equally tempted by the veggie board, for example.
- Following lunch, The Bay serves snacks, from 3-5pm, but not any old snacks: there’s treats such as olives and hummus with grissini sticks to soak up the champagne (other drinks on the menu include beer from Norfolk Brewhouse and Adnams; cider from Aspall’s; and soft drinks from Breckland Orchard). Just think: you could spend much of the day sitting in The Bay at Jarrold, in between visiting each department!