The Soul Cafè & Restaurant
The menu is an explosion of taste and colour, mixing up African, Asian, European and Caribbean cuisine. Love the holiday vibe at this relaxed restaurant/cafe - great food and music into the evening.
Kings Lynn is having a revival and I’m so excited to see lots of new bars, restaurants and hotels popping up in this historic town in West Norfolk. The Soul Café and Restaurant is a breath of fresh air when it comes to Norfolk cuisine and I absolutely loved the French/Caribbean/African/Asian food fusion that chef Olivier Vati and his partner, Helen Payne have created.
It’s not on the square or by the old harbour but please don’t be put off by the location – the food is absolutely amazing and worth the trip to this pedestrian area of Kings Lynn. Nice hairdressers, cool cafes and independent businesses – watch this space, this could be the cool place to hang out in a couple of years.
Admittedly it was a quiet night when we dined and to be honest we might have been a little early (getting old). This place definitely has that holiday vibe – eat later and enjoy the regular entertainment which includes an in-house DJ and guest live music. Having said that I loved the chilled environment, the music switched between some awesome motown and reggae tunes and the staff were engaging.
It’s a large open space, with a simple decor which makes it welcoming to all. There’s a gallery showcasing an eclectic mix of local artists, a sofa area to enjoy a pre dinner drink and a small courtyard garden. I love an open kitchen – always instills confidence to be able to watch the chef and his team at work.
During the day, the chilled, relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for mums and kids looking for lunchtime tapas or afternoon tea. In the evening it’s a great place to hang out with friends for some fabulous food, cocktails and a dance. Keep an eye out for their social events which range from Flamenco to Soul to Havana Nights.
SCOFF & QUAFF
If you fancy tantalising your taste buds and having a slightly more adventurous lunch – try their Jamaican Patties or Caribbean Swordfish sandwich with a side of plantain chips. Beats a Boots meal deal!
You will find more traditional/European food options for the kids and those a little less adventurous. Plus there was a great vegan and gluten-free selection too. However, the creativity of the dinner menu (and the lovely waiter) happily pushed me outside my comfort zone.
For starter we had Jerk Chicken Wings with pineapple salsa and Crab & Sweet Potato Cakes with garlic mayonnaise. There’s always a danger of oversizing the starters, but these were perfectly proportioned. If I were a food critic, I’d probably suggest a little more crab in the cakes – however, both dishes were delicious.
For mains, the waiter expertly directed me away from the safe Chicken & Mango Skewers and suggested I might like to try the Pan-fried Parrot Fish in lemon, garlic and fresh parsley with Callaloo (a Caribbean vegtable dish) and jalloff rice.
We can probably all picture a parrot fish and it ain’t pretty. I checked it was filleted (yikes, wouldn’t want that looking up at me) and took a leap of faith. I’m so glad I did, this fish is beautiful on the inside – sorry veggies! I think it’s always worth chatting to the waiter to get their food recommendation, after all they’ve probably tried everything on the menu twice.
I did have a little food envy for Mr O’s Caribbean Mixed Grill, an explosion of colour and variety which included Jerk Chicken, Sticky Pork Ribs, Chargrilled Lamb Chops, Callaloo, Plantain, home-made slaw, pineapple salsa, jerk BBQ and Creole sauces.
At this point, my healthier light option had paid off and I had room left for dessert. Great selection varying from Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart to Passion Fruit Mousse on a raspberry and biscuit base. However, how could I resist the Gin & Elderflower Cheesecake? Beautifully presented and had a nice little kick to it.
OUT & ABOUT
King’s Lynn was once one of England’s most important ports and its rich past has left a wonderful heritage of buildings, museums and stories to be discovered. Great for history buffs, walk along the cobbled streets past the river Ouse and take in the Merchant House and The Bank House which is now a rather lovely bar/restaurant/hotel.
Don’t miss the night time illuminations on the impressive St Margarets Church in Saturday Square, they also have a lovely programme of musical events across the year. Or an outdoor market in the Tuesday Market Place – one of England’s grandest squares. Here you will also find the Corn Exchange, which has a fun and varied programme of events (see our Muddy Stilettos What’s On Guide for our best picks).
You’re also just a stone’s throw away from the North Norfolk Coast and I’d recommend The Goldings Rooms, if you fancy a luxury overnighter!
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Fun, relaxed and creative dining with friends and family.
Not for: Diners wanting a quiet, fine dine experience.
The Damage: Starters range from £4.50-£7, mains from £10-16 and desserts £5.50.
Address: Soul Cafè & Restaurant, 15-19 Tower Street, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1EJ
Tel: 01553 775 248
If you’re looking for an excuse to check out the Soul Café – on Sat 3rd August they will be celebrating their 2nd Birthday in style with DJ Zola playing Soul & Motown classic downstairs and DJ Scott playing 80s/90s disco & dance upstairs.