Now, I’m not saying that I comfort eat or anything, but on 9 November the news had left me feeling rather miserable and distracted. In an effort to make myself feel better, I suggested that The Chap and I head into Norwich for a midweek meal and a glass of something alcoholic.
Maybe it was because I kept hearing about a big wall being built, but I had a real hankering for Mexican street food. I wanted something complex, rich and potentially spicy to take my mind off things. With that in mind, we headed to Jive Kitchen, Norwich.
First impressions of Jive Kitchen
First up, it’s hard to spot.
The low-key entrance is only marked by a sign above a non-descript door, which gives way to an unrendered staircase, that leads you above the shops.
My initial reaction was that it was all a bit hipster. There’s exposed brickwork and bulbs, stripped back window frames and Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys on the sound system.
However, that’s not to say it was bad. It had a great sense of place and isn’t like anywhere else I can think of in Norwich.
We were promptly shown to a table in the window overlooking the street, which I loved. We had a great view of Gentleman’s Walk, where we could sit and watch people coming and going all evening.
Best. Tacos. Ever.
Jive Kitchen’s menu isn’t vast but has some great features, including tacos, burritos and plenty of tequila. That said, it was a school night, so we didn’t partake of that particular delicacy.
We started out with corn tortilla chips and guacamole, while we sipped ice-cold Coronas and debated the post-truth world we live in. While the conversation felt dismal, the tortillas were crisp, crunchy, salted and warm. The guac was cool, chunky, fresh and sweet, just the way like it.
This was swiftly followed by pork belly carnitas tacos, which were amazing. Out-of-this-world amazing. They had a complex blend of salty, sweet, smoky and creamy flavours that I can’t quite describe.
The pork belly was melt-in-the-mouth, tender and sweet – I could have eaten that all on its own. However, it came with a BBQ pineapple salsa, which was sweet, sticky and charry, and smoked pasilla (chilli) aioli. Heaven.
The only thing that let the dish down was the tortilla base. It was a tad stodgy and disintegrated as I picked it up.
The Chap, on the other hand, went for the beef barbacoa burrito, with crema, cheese, salad and sweet potato. It came out crammed with filling, bursting with delicately spiced beef and crisp, fresh salad. Needless to say, I didn’t get to try much because he wouldn’t let me.
The only downside is that the mains don’t come with sides. As such, it’s a bit pricey for a midweek jaunt. The pork belly tacos, for example, are £11 with no sides. That said, we ordered a side of Tex-Mex fries between us and that was enough food for the pair of us.
We’ll definitely be going back for more tacos soon.
Location: 2A Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1AT