Saturday 31 March 2012

House Cafe - Norwich

Now under new ownership, new review coming soon.

52 St Benedicts Street

Opening hours
Tues to Fri - 8am till 3pm
Sat - 8.45am till 5pm
Sun - 10am till 2pm

Breakfast served all day

The Jacqui and Jamie years
 Serving my favourite breakfast in Norwich
 March 2012 till August 2015
House Cafe has been there for quite a while but was recently taken over by new owners.

Inside everything is quite quirky and mismatched, it works really well!

The new menu now offers cooked breakfast.

Quality meats, free range eggs and an in house bakery!

Why not doodle whilst you wait for your food to arrive.

The cappuccino (£2) tasted great and it took me right back to the 70's.

Tea in a pot with tea strainer, nice touch!

The delicious toasted ciabatta comes with the breakfast and is made on the premises.

I chose the full house breakfast (£7.45). When the retro plate was put in front of me I was visually impressed and knew I was about to eat something special.

What a fantastic sight!!

My girlfriend chose the veggie breakfast (£6.00) but went for extra mushroom and tomato instead of Quorn bacon. She told me "it was absolutely delicious, loved it!"

You will find it difficult to resist the delicious homemade macaroons.

Somebody at work had recently given me a leaflet for House Cafe in Norwich and told me they were now serving cooked breakfast. I was aware of where it was but had never been in before, with cooked breakfasts on the menu that was about to change...

Upon entering - I warmed to the place as soon as I entered, mismatched furniture, board games and colouring pencils all added to its charm. There are a number of places to sit and a sofa if you want to really relax. The counter is towards the back so place your order there or wait for your order to be taken at your table, there is a menu on each table, one in the window and blackboards to help you decide. Take a seat and everything is brought over to you, read outline magazine or just watch life go by on St Benedicts Street whilst waiting for your food to arrive. There are lots of homemade cakes and bread that will catch your eye too, they all look really delicious. 9/10

Service - The staff here were really friendly and efficient giving a choice of how I wanted my eggs cooked and were happy to explain what the veggie breakfast consisted of. They took our order and brought the hot drinks and food over when it was ready. Once the food had arrived they checked to see if any sauces were required. It was nice to be able to put my own black pepper on too, recently a few places have insisted on putting it on for me, not sure why as I am quite capable! Anyway, the service here is fantastic! 9/10

Contents - 3 chipolata sausages, 2 bacon, fried egg, 2 hash browns, grilled tomato, portobello mushroom, beans and toasted ciabatta & butter. 8/10

Presentation - The food looked beautifully cooked and filled the plate nicely. The person that had cooked it so nicely clearly understood the importance of nice presentation. I wanted to put the beans onto a slice of the toasted ciabatta and I was able to easily pour them on from the pot they were served in. 9/10

The food - Fantastic tasting and nicely cooked chipolatas and bacon supplied by Frank Spurgeon (local butcher), An almost perfect fried egg and nice and crispy hash browns. The juicy portobello mushroom was full of flavour and the tomato was incredibly nice. The beans were piping hot and went perfectly with quite possibly the nicest homemade ciabatta I have ever tasted! 10/10

Value for money - The food was amazing and there was plenty of it, the toasted ciabatta and butter is included in the price so you will not leave feeling hungry. It was the best £7.45 I have spent in a long time. 9/10

Veggie option - 2 Linda McCartney sausages, 2 Quorn rashers, mushroom, tomato, hash brown, egg, beans and toasted ciabatta & butter for £6.00.

Overall - What a great little place this is! Quirky and kitsch inside with fantastic staff that are friendly and helpful. They had only just started serving breakfasts a few days before my visit and were making a great job of it using quality produce and caring about presentation. A really nice experience, I can't wait to return! 9/10

***Update (October 2012)***

Of all the places I have visited for breakfast in Norwich House Cafe was the place I was most looking forward to returning to and my second visit didn't disappoint!

Second time round everything was just as excellent as it was before, the only difference was my decision to go for scrambled egg which was delicious! The service was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed eating breakfast here again, I love House Cafe!!

 ***Update (June 2013)***

My third visit to House Cafe today answered a question I am frequently asked "What is your favourite Norwich breakfast?" There are so many excellent breakfasts served in Norwich listed in my "Recommended" section of the blog but for a number of reasons the answer to that question is House Cafe's Full House Breakfast!

House Cafe's homemade ciabatta arrives toasted and piping hot, there is always plenty and a generous serving of butter too. It is really delicious and my favourite bread to accompany a breakfast, I'm sure those that have tried it will know what I mean.

The full house breakfast is my favourite for a number of reasons:
  • The quality of the ingredients used is excellent
  • The food is always cooked beautifully
  • A great selection of different items are included
  • The presentation is always stunning 
  • Everything on the plate tastes amazing
  • There is plenty on the plate and it is worth every penny!
This combined with the friendly staff team and beautiful cafe interior makes it my favourite Norwich breakfast!  

 ***Update (October 2013)***

It had been a few months since I had last visited House Cafe and I was looking to eat lunch somewhere in the city.  As soon as the full house breakfast entered my head I headed straight there. This time the hash browns had been replaced with really delicious potato slices and as always everything was excellent!

***Update January 2014***

With friends from Brighton visiting for the weekend I decided to hang my inspectors hat up and take them out to my favourite breakfast spot, House Cafe. 

My 4th breakfast at House Cafe and each one has been cooked to perfection using quality ingredients and presented beautifully. You can always rely on an a amazing breakfast at House, this is why I keep returning to full English heaven!

A pair of perfectly fried eggs lay on a bed of quality chiplolatas.

 This time there was black pudding too!

Don't forget to try some of their delicious homemade cakes too!!

***Update May 2014***

I had woken up with a hangover from a few too many drinks the night before at the excellent Creepshow gig at Epic studios. I knew a decent breakfast would help and knowing House Cafe does the best breakfast I headed there with my wife.

 A cappuccino that matched the cup perfectly arrived first.

 The homemade ciabatta served with real butter, amazing!

The full House breakfast was as always incredibly delicious and presented beautifully! 

*** Update - November 2014 ***

I went into the city with my wife in the afternoon and realising we hadn't eaten yet we decided to pop into House Cafe again. I had no idea that on this day I would eat the most enjoyable breakfast I can ever remember eating!

I always choose the Full House Breakfast at House and it always looks amazing. Today was no exception and I don't recall stopping at any point until the plate was empty. I had never enjoyed a breakfast as much in my entire life! This was pure perfection, well done House!!

Four delicious chipolatas were hiding underneath the perfect pair of eggs.

As always I thoroughly enjoyed House's incredible ciabatta served with plenty of real butter.

*** Update - April 2015 *** 

Having just returned from Paris my wife and I couldn't resist breakfast at House Cafe.

 A quick update of the current prices.

As always a really stunning breakfast served piping hot, delicious!

*** Update - May 2015 ***

After returning from Bearded Theory Festival a decent breakfast was needed, House Cafe it was then!

We were greeted by a great new menu design.

I did as I always do and ordered the full house breakfast, delicious and perfect!

*** Update - July 2015 *** 

Just back from the Pineda Psychobilly Meeting in Spain and my first UK breakfast just had to be at the mighty House Cafe!

As always top notch and tasty!

** Update - July 2015 *** 

Shortly after my last visit and I discovered Jacqui and Jamie have sold the business. With a final trading day under their ownership of August 1st 2015 I had to go and try their pancakes! On many occasions I'd intended to but the Full House breakfast had tempted me too much. Time was running out so I headed straight there to sample Jamies pancakes. I plan on returning next week to enjoy Jamie's Full House Breakfast one last time. House Cafe fans fear not though as the new owners plan to run it as it currently is with the same menu.

I had always wanted to try a milkshake here too and I'm glad I did! It took me right back to my childhood of drinking milkshakes in Bentalls Department Store in Kingston, delicious!

My wife chose something different today too and really enjoyed it. Haloumi, rocket and tomato on a toasted bun.

Three thick pancakes topped with four chunky slices of bacon, I poured plenty of maple syrup over it. Incredibly filling and so tasty, I'm glad I finally got to try them!

Jamie and Jacqui's farewell breakfast

Jamie and Jacqui's time at House cafe was almost over as the business had been sold to new owners. A special farewell breakfast was available during their final week at the cafe, read about it here.

** Update - August 2015 ** 

My wife and I decided to pop into House to try the new owners breakfast, we started with a pot of tea and ordered a Full House and vegetarian breakfast.

 The delicious looking ciabatta arrived with the news that Jacqui was cooking breakfast today as the new owners were away for the week.

Jacqui certainly knew how to cook a top notch breakfast!

 Cooked to perfection and hugely enjoyable!

Nice work Jacqui, a breakfast to be proud of!

***Update - September 2015***
 Under new ownership 

I nervously entered House Cafe hoping nothing had changed too much. I was delighted to discover that everything looked the same still including the menu. 

The same stack of condiments and bowl of sugar sat waiting for me in the centre of the table.

On my first ever visit here in 2012 I ordered a cappuccino, today I decided to do the same again and it was very nice indeed.

The amazing toasted ciabatta and real butter served at House Cafe was always something that really stood out. I never really used to get particularly excited about bread when eating a full English breakfast until I discovered House Cafe, thankfully it was as good as ever!

My full house breakfast arrived with all the usual items, a slightly different layout on the plate but it all tasted great.

Here it is from the other side.

 My wife was delighted with her Veggie breakfast too, we were both relieved that these excellent breakfasts at House Cafe were still available and remain unchanged.

***Update - December 2015***

This is the latest breakfast menu, it remains unchanged which is excellent as it offers something for everyone! 

I usually have a cappuccino but went for tea today instead, I've always loved the fact that tea leaves are used here, remember to use the strainer!

All the essentials can be found on each table.

Nothing beats House Cafe's amazing homemade ciabatta.

I went for the full house breakfast, it was delicious as always!

My wife had the vegan breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed it.

 ** Update - July 2016 ** 

The latest breakfast menu and prices.

What a beautiful sight! The Full House breakfast and the vegan breakfast, both served with the delicious homemade ciabatta and quality sauces.


  1. On the basis of this review, I went this morning. Really glad to see House Cafe open on a Sunday. The breakfast was as delicious as it looks in the pictures here. I had the House breakfast at only £5.50. The only slight niggle was that the sausages looked very pale, need a bit of caramelising(a bit of butter in the pan will do that a treat!). The rest was lovely, a perfect poached egg, tomatoes on the vine and delicious ciabatta. All washed down with a pot of tea on quirky china. Looking forward to going again.

  2. Today I had to do without breakfast as I was being "starved" for a blood test. I googled "Norwich all day veggie breakfast" and found this review. It looked good to me and so after the test was over, I braved the downpour and came. It was superb. The atmosphere is friendly, the staff can't do enough for you (I was even consulted about the make up of the veggie breakfast) and the food perfectly cooked and delicious. Highly recommended.

  3. I went yesterday and had the Full House Breakfast. Really excellent value for money. Everything was really good quality with ciabatta being especially good. Two minor niggles, please take the green bit off the toms and brown the chipolattas a little bit more.

  4. Pros: Nice venue, good value. Cons: Plate was so hot that I burned my hand on it, egg was a disaster with an overcooked yolk and paper thin white, chipolata sausages tasted like they looked: grey! And everything was swimming in grease. I won't be going back.

    1. Good, stay away - more chance of me getting a table.

    2. Actually, proper sausages are grey....Richmond, Walls etc are pink!

  5. House cafe really appreciates everyone's comments. We would like to say that if anyone has a problem with their food or drink that they tell us so we can sort it. We love all the positive comments and negative because it's how we improve. Sorry to the above firstly for your hand and secondly that you didn't enjoy your meal.

  6. We ate at house cafe this morning and it was amazing... our food was not 'swimming in grease' and the bread was fantastic!!

    The staff are more than helpful and their macarons are to die for! if you get the chance you must go...good luck to the owners...

  7. Another excellent breakfast ,presentation as always delightful .The cafe buzzing with customers and we were happy to find them open on a bank holiday .Couldn't resist taking scones home for a cream tea. Background music appreciated too .Just my "cup of tea "

  8. went to house cafe today nice homely atmosphere, and friendly staff amazing food , all home cooked and you can see how much hard work and effort goes into producing quality home cooked food must go back very soon

  9. We went at the weekend and had the cooked breakfast which was really lovely and we both really enjoyed it. The chipolatas & bacon were really delicious and whilst we didn't get a portobello mushroom but a few whole button mushrooms, they were still well cooked and not mushy like they can be.

    If I were to suggest one thing to make the breakfast perfect it would be to serve salted/lightly salted butter with the ciabatta toast - it makes a world of difference and lifts it all completely.

    1. Thanks for your visit and feed back, unfortunately you must have been one of the few people who were served unsalted butter as a result of running out that day.I totally agree with you that it is a must on the toast.
      Thanks again.

  10. Excellent! I went for breakfast lovely pot of decaf tea, and cracking food, I was so impressed I reorganised my family gathering to there and had cake! The macaroons are so good I got extras to give as presents, I also had their baklava with rose and cardamom, I normally avoid wheat so I made a special exception I was glad I did!

    The very short of it, I'll be looking for an excuse to return and any excuse will do!

  11. FABULOUS !!!! been there today after an couple of hours at the Lanes Fayre...... what a delight my husband and myself and 2 children (10yrs & 5yrs) found a lovely table and ordered coffees, drinks for children (the owner even gave me the time why i looked at labels as daughter is a diabetic and the chef gave us help on food...Thanks !) kids had some books to look at while we relaxed .... such a cute cafe and we left with brownies and breads !!!....

    1. Glad you enjoyed your visit, it is indeed a fabulous place. I can't wait to return for another breakfast again soon!

  12. tried it today, absolutely fab, all food well cooked and nice atmosphere!

  13. Quality of food really good, had the bigger brekkie and at first thought that the pot of beans dominated the plate!, but when I had eaten the sausages, bacon (very good quality)gorgeous tomato cooked just right and superb home made hash browns (worth the visit on their own)there was a second breakfast of beans on toast the posh way LOL

    Tea good, coffee nice and strong what more could anybody want.....yep, of course a cola macaroon! somehow it works.

    Only niggle was that the mushrooms were button rather than a nice field mushroom, but I had asked that for an extra mushroom and got 4 swing and roundabouts.

    Only slight pedantic niggle is as with others ..put a bit more colour on the bangers!

    having tried most frying eateries in Norwich I would have to say this was better than any other that I have tried, and would be my top choice.

  14. Thanks for your comments always great to hear, unfortunately the change in mushroom has come about due to not being able to obtain a regular standard size in the portobello they were getting to be half the size of the plate and I would rather not have to start cutting them as a costings measure.
    Apologies to anyone expecting the portobello.

  15. Thank you House Cafe for your updates and responses to customers comments. You are a top cafe that clearly cares about your customers and that is an excellent quality that many places overlook. Keep up the good work, you are one of Norwich's finest and I can completely see where you are coming from
    on the mushroom situation. Cheers!!

  16. Wow. Thank you, we really appreciate that Mr Inspector. See you soon :))

  17. Another excellent visit here,

    Beautiful tea, (nice and strong and decaf!) the Eggs Benedict were delicious, the the hollandaise was smooth creamy and had a hint of mustard, the poached eggs were perfect, whites cooked, and the strongly orange yolks burst beautifully and the bacon was a delicious thick slice!

    once again, I'll be looking for excuses to visit!

  18. The french macaroons looks tasty. Beautiful pictures by the way.

  19. The vegetarian eggs benedict at House is the best plate of food I have eaten anywhere, I work nearby so the temptation to go every day can be overwhelming.

  20. Rob 23 October 201323 November 2013 at 14:37

    We went for breakfast this morning after reading your great review. WOW what a breakfast. This is by far the best breakfast in Norwich by a country mile. All of our breakfasts came with lovely potato slices 10 out of 10. My Wife loved her tea with a tea strainer and a china cup.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Rob and thanks for your feedback. My favourite too!

  21. Just had brunch with the family here. Food was excellent great place would recommend to anyone.

  22. One of these days I'm gonna jump on a really big boat and visit England. I need this in me! Cheers from Canada!

  23. First comments ... " everything is bRought over ..."
    "They took our order and bought the hot drinks ..." that's nice, it's usually the customer who buys the drinks ... and the meal.

  24. This place looks spot on. Certainly plan on giving it a try.

  25. Not sure where my first try went..
    I passed House on Saturday - no time to go in - and saw a 'business for sale' sign in the window! Anyone know more?

  26. I recently visited for breakfast, which was superb as usual. Sadly the service was bad to the point of comical, until i was folllowed out and questioned over paying, then it wasnt comical anymore. Saturdays and staffing next to be looked at, I won't be going back, which is a shame for me

  27. Sat in here now, awaiting food. So far the service is (as described previously), at best studenty: it's not offensive and is friendly but my god a wee spark of... Anything would be a start! Food looks gorgeous so await with (extremely patient) bated breath :-)

  28. Posted a moment ago - the food arrived!! And despite being served AT THE TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN (my god my mouth is sore) that was a glorious breakfast as promised. I think generous salted butter on that ciabatta really nailed it. Though whilst sat here, I have seen the feckless staff turn more business away than sense - tip: ask the female staff for things, approach the male staff as you would a highland cow; expect little sensible response.

  29. My wife & I had a great breakfast there Sunday 7th June but noticed a "For Sale" notice on the window. The lady owner told us they were selling because they had found it too demanding . Very sad !

  30. Your comment about Bentalls really took me back too...the Silver Cafe and an ice cream in a silver dish...this would have been an immense treat in the lat 50s. And they had escalators, too!! Always remember the old Bentalls with affection...the Christmas display of toys...the arrival of Father Christmas with a parade through the town. The simple joys of boyhood....

  31. Just went this morning, can't be bothered to post a big write-up here. Suffice to say after 1 hour 20 minute wait for my food and then being basically called a liar by the new owner, I wont be returning!

    On the food front, some of the ciabatta (my favourite) was stale and the sausages seem to have changed as they tasted gritty. So disappointing.

  32. Anymore recent reviews anyone ? Trip advisor is giving me cause for concern !

  33. Now reopen and under new ownership and management. Not the same style as before but clean, fresh and bright. Have had a complete refit and now have 5 stars from the food agency. (It was a 2) The "quirky" (Dirty chipped plates and cups) have gone and been replaced with new clean ones.