Driving along Exchange Street in Norwich, I nearly always think to myself ‘I should go in there’ as I go past Appleyard & Co, but I swiftly forget about it until the next time because I don’t have a pen handy.
But this weekend was different. This weekend I found a willing companion and made the effort of head into the shabby-chic unknown to have lunch and a long overdue natter.
Upon stepping inside, a friendly waiter welcomed us and explained that we could have our pick of tables upstairs or down and that someone would take our order shortly.
Eschewing the dangers of people watching, we headed upstairs, taking in our surroundings as we walked. As I climbed the stairs, I noticed how sparse the decor was, with white-washed walls, marked floorboards and dark furniture. Thankfully, instead of feeling cold, the over all effect was friendly and casual. I might have viewed it differently if the weather had been miserable, but I felt that there were no airs and graces – perfect for a long lunch.
The menu was not exhaustive, but as I may have mentioned before, I’m happy with that because I’m indecisive. In spite of the limited choice, I was still painfully torn between a number of options: pastrami and chorizo. Putting them both on the same menu can lead to serious complications in my world.
Eventually the chorizo won and I decided on a platter of chorizo, Serrano ham, manchego cheese, roasted red peppers and watercress, which was brought to the table with bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was so inviting that I started eating before I remembered to take a picture – apologies for the half-eaten illustration!
The chorizo was spicy and slightly caught, giving it a smoky flavour that tasted divine with the salty smoothness of the cheese, while the peppers provided a fresh, sweet contrast.
Round two: cake
You’d think that all that would be enough for lunch, but no. Not for me. After nattering away over a cup of tea (exhausting work) I needed to sate my sweet tooth. The waiter gave a run down of the options, but I’m going to be honest and confess that I didn’t hear much beyond the words ‘carrot cake’.
I hadn’t quite anticipated the size of the slice though. If I had realised, I would have shared it with my friend, but because we both had cake, I had no choice but to finish it. It was so moist and delicately spiced that it would have been a shame to waste it!
Chatting to the waiters as we paid, we noticed that there was a small but perfectly formed cocktail menu on the wall, along with an evening food menu. And then, when we discovered that our afternoon of delicious food only cost £9.50 each (for a platter, two teas and a huge slice of cake), we very quickly decided that we would return soon for an evening meal and drinks.