International Food Quarter of Norwich

Norwich has The Lanes, the Golden Triangle, it even has the Silver Triangle but there is no special name given to the oldest and most interesting, most food diverse street in the whole of Norwich. 

Built between Roman and Anglos Saxon times, Magdalene street became the main high street in Norwich. 

Passing for 2 miles from Fye Bridge area, actually on the corner of Colgate all the way under the A147 (St Crispin’s Road) to just opposite the Artichoke, hosting hundreds of years of history. 

Fybriggate (as it was once known) history has seen it honoured with grand Merchant Houses, thriving businesses, factory’s, traders, head offices in Victorian splendour and opulence and a multitude of pubs & Inns – why even the ‘Canaries’ were bred down there.

It thrived for over 200 years from Medieval Britain to the 1800’s and then slowly absorbed into slums in the early part of the century. 

It’s last 100 years have been shady – the slums of the 30’s, the destruction in WWII, its regeneration in the 60’s with Anglia Square, then the flyover in the 70’s – meaning many old grand buildings were demolished, if they hadn’t been bombed already. Like the Grand Barclays bank HQ – with the once Medieval, Georgian, Victorian & Edwardian Street bisected by a concreate jungle, carving its way right through the middle.

Now Anglia Square stands unloved and abandonment with the closing of the cinema, offices and the multi-storey carpark, leaving much off it abandoned. Of course, there is still life on its ground floor – but its demolition is inevitable.

Anglia Square is in limbo with an uncertain future and whether its 2 years or 20, something good has got to sprout out of its roots and join the 21stcentury. 

Despite the sprawl, Magdalene street has developed in to one of the most interesting and ethnic food laddened streets in the area and is developing for the good.

I’m imagining a futuristic designer tower complex where Anglia Square is now, containing multifunctioning space of housing, office and retail. Including a high raised green space with walk ways between each tower, along with a massive indoor and outdoor shopping complex, activity centres for family’s plus a food and retail box park built in every crevice of that disgusting under pass. 

Imagine the possibility’s. Imagine the future – imagine the food down our own International Food Quarter. 

But what’s on offer now = a myriad of tasty delights await your senses.

Let’s start from Fye Bridge Street Down – – – 

  • Spice Lounge– INDIAN RESTAURANT 
  • Maids Head Hotel HOTEL, BAR & RESTAURANT, next to Weatherspoons Pub – for your British Afternoon Tea.
  • Chambers Cocktail – BAR, with Chip Buckets on offer.
  • Pizza Go Go –TAKE-AWAY KEBABS & Pizza.
  • Carberry’s – CAFÉ, Dog friendly café but more importantly knickerbocker glories.
  • Fika COFFEE SHOP, mini but perfect in every way.
  • Wensum MINI/MART SUPERMARKET, for food and wine.
  • Ribs of Beef – PUByour great British pub, with head chef Jakey the Bakey.
  • The Mischief – PUB –(Fye Bridge Street) drinks only.
  • Merchants House – BAR and day time cafeserving light lunches and pop up’s, with its longest Medieval window in the UK.
  • Howards & Son – FISH MONGER,Long established Game & Fish monger, with all sorts of treats like antipasti. 
  • (opposite here – you’ll find Merchants of SpiceIndian Restaurant down Colgate)
  • Torrero –SPANISH RESTAURANT –  A long standing authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant.
  • Spice Valley – INDIAN RESTAURANT-A new modern style traditional Indian. 
  • Norwich Pizza & Kebab – TAKE-AWAY KEBABS – proper shawarmas.
  • Ali TandooriINDIAN RESTAURANT– one of the oldest Indians down Mag st.
  • Dhaba 15INDIAN RESTAURANT– the new kid on the block, knocking out fabulous award winning Indian Street food.
  • Looses– SHOP WITH CAFÉ – within this eclectic vintage antique warehouse is a little casual coffee house. 
  • Ancestors Coffee House – COFFEE SHOP–  trendy lunches and great coffee.
  • Chinese Medicine Shop
  • Asian Baazar – ASIAN SUPERMARKET– Indian based mini market.
  • Ruth’s Kitchen– ISRALIAN CAFÉ & TAKEAWAY & Deli –  Jerusalem street food, with falafel, Stitzel or humous wraps along with salads and bakes.
  • Café Malabar –INDIAN RESTAURANT– South Indian and all the other classics too.
  • Kings Head Pub – PUB with continental bottled beers.
  • Asian Mart / Euro– MINI/MART, SUPERMARKET with lot of chilled meats and fresh bread.
  • Nergiz –KURDISH RESTAURANT / TAKEAWAY with a Turkish flavours and great shawama wraps with home made naan bread cooked on a tandoori.
  • Le Petite – COFFEE SHOP– a small coffee shop with amazing scones.           

Then you’re in to Anglia Square–  Not too much to write home about here – Greggs, Holly’s Big Baps (sounds alright), Iceland, Café on the corner and a lovely Fresh Fruit and Vegetable shop.

  • Robert Brand Fruits – FRUIT and VEG, selling all sorts of lovely looking fresh produce.
  • Peters Family ButchersBUTCHER, plus occasional game, good sausages and deals.

Back on to Mag St – 

  • Sahara – COFFEE SHOP & CAFÉ – Middle Eastern café, selling great salads, French inspired pastry’s and classics like Shakshuka.
  • Norwich Café – GREASYSPOON CAFÉ– 
  • The Fish and Chip Shop– TAKE-AWAY with a couple of seats.
  • International Food Store– MINI/MART, SUPERMRKETnext to Roys, with a European flavour inc, lipton drinks and store room goodies.
  • Subway – hardly worth a mention in my eyes but they do offer Halal meats.

Take a Turn in to Cowgate & you’ll find

  • Sari Shop – Hungarian MINI/MART with an array of Hungarian alcohol, like their snaps, beer and wine. Plus the best chilli sauce in the world.
  • The Plasterers PUB – home of Voodoo Daddy pizzas.

Back on to Mag Street.

  • Cactus CaféCAFÉ a rustic café and bar selling lunches.
  • Stars Cafe Bar CAFÉ at Epic Studeo – Kurdish run café selling a Kurdish menu as well as casual student dining. 
  • DASH cash and carry (closed) whats coming?
  • City Convenient Store– MINI/MART European goodies in this mini mart.
  • The Mediterranean– TURKISH RESTURANT– Turkish Kebab restaurant and take away – Amazing freshly cooked meats and fish on the Okabasi charcoal grill, plus brilliant salads and dips.
  • S & J Seafood– FISH MONGERS – cold fish mongers
  • Thai Street – TAKE-AWAYwith a couple of seats inside.
  • Ethical Ernies – ECCO SHOP / MINIMART– 
  • The Street Café– GREASYSPOON CAFÉ (at its best, I might add)  a classic breakfast and lunch café, knocking out quality classics.
  • Artichoke PUB & Xo Kitchen – RESTAURANT & PUB – at the Artichoke (Magdalene Road) – The best Asian Fusion sharing plates anywhere. Amazing flavours in an exciting menu. 

Just up from The Artichoke you’ll find

  • Norwich Daily Fresh– MINI/MART selling a load of fresh fruit and vegetables, pavement side.
  • At the back of Anglis Sq, just up Aylsham Road, you’ll find That Cafe, COFFEE SHOP for excellent brownies and breakfast.

So now you know why it’s now called INTERNATONOAL FOOD QUARTER– there is so much to excite from Asian Watermelon Salad to freshly tandoori baked flat breads.

By Zena Leech-Calton ©

Join me on Instagram, twitter & facebook – Love Norwich Food