Featured in Feast, issue 40- October 2019 – Spotlight Feature
As if Jarrold didn’t have a fabulous food and drink offering already! It had five places to eat and drink, and the independent department store was already becoming well known for its support of local and independent food and drink producers and suppliers.
Now there is a sixth space: The Bay, a seafood and wine bar, will be located in a corner of Floor 2. It makes perfect sense, really – seafood is very much a Norfolk favourite, after all. And it could be on to a winner, as Jarrold won best trade stand after the concept was trialled at the Royal Norfolk Show.
Sitting on a comfy sofa on Floor 2, Executive Head Chef Nick Harris goes through the new menu. On offer will be Jarrold’s own brand smoked salmon, thanks to a collaboration with Norfolk Smokehouse; taster boards; main dishes, anything from the ‘legendary Jarrold fish pie’ to Lobster Bisque, through to a luxurious caviar menu which features different types, including Oscietra, Sevruga and Beluga. ‘They will be under three glass domes,’ says Nick, of the caviar. He wonders if Jarrold will be the only place ‘from here to Stansted’ offering triple zero Beluga caviar with ice-cold vodka seven days a week, and comments: ‘That’s your glitz, glamour and wow factor.’
It almost goes without saying that there’s going to be Cromer crab on the menu, although Nick says: ‘We are going to have Cornwall crab as well, as I’m from Cornwall – they are two very different types of crab. We’ll have Cornwall crab tian and Norfolk dressed Cromer crab.’ And there’ll be oysters, ‘whether it’s native or rock oysters.’
Breakfast will be served from 9.30 to 11.30am. Start your day with a Bloody Mary and Smoked salmon and crayfish Royale, for example. The ‘legendary Jarrold cheese scone’ will be upsold with, say, avocado or smoked salmon, and there’ll be a Scandinavian smorgasbord. ‘In layman’s terms a fish platter with one two Nordic ingredients going into that,’ explains Nick.
Then, from 11.30am to 4.30pm, the salmon bar will come into its own. There will be four smoked salmon and one gravadlax on display, and five accompaniments to choose from to go with them. Also on the menu will be Authentic Nordic cooked salmon. Or you could simply enjoy a glass of Champagne with chilli popcorn or salted almonds. And Nick adds: ‘We will probably go along the lines of offering bite sized offerings such as smoked salmon blinis – have three or four blinis with your Champagne.’ And there will be a small vegetarian menu, although ‘ultimately it will be fishy,’ says Nick.
The restaurant will seat up to 50, with the impressive circular bar, alone, seating 12. In its corner location, The Bay will overlook Norwich Market – not a bad vantage point to enjoy some of the best seafood in Norwich.
‘It will have a great view of the marketplace,’ says Nick. ‘And I think the view will be even nicer in winter, when all the lights are sparkling and the trees have dropped their leaves – you’ll be able to see all the way to The Forum. It will be beautiful and snug in there, especially at Christmas.’
It sounds as though the menu is going to evolve: ‘It’s all about finding our footing – if the demand is there we will supply it.’ By Christmas they will have a better idea of what the customer wants. And Nick reveals that there’s even room for expansion if the new venture is a success.
Nick is a classically trained chef and has been at Jarrold for seven years. In that time he’s seen a lot of investment going into the food and drink offering. ‘The first one was Chapters Coffee Bar,’ recalls Nick. Then Benji’s had a makeover. The Pantry Restaurant will always be known for its legendary scones, and then came The Exchange, with its impressive wood fired pizza oven, alongside the Wine Bar and Deli.
‘When I first joined Jarrold, everything was very similar,’ says Nick. ‘One of my aims was to bring in diversity, with each eatery standing on its own.’
As for The Bay, he says: ‘This is something different again.’ The concept of a seafood and champagne wine bar certainly offers a point of difference to all the other places to eat in-store. So who, primarily, is it aimed at? ‘We want the ‘Jo Malone’ customer to come here and have a glass of bubbly while they wait for their girlfriends,’ Nick replies.
This project is part of a wider Floor 2 investment, with Jarrold making the furniture, linens, home accessories and carpet offering more of a lifestyle retail space.
With a good half a dozen eating and drinking options at the department store, Jarrold offers so much more than just a retail experience, Nick comments: ‘I just think this is a really exciting time. We are turning the tide. And I don’t know if there will be anywhere else in Norfolk like it.’