City centre café offers hearty food and community vibe
- Credit: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP
Whether it’s for a quick caffeinated beverage on route to work, or somewhere to pick up something simple and filling, the impact of a café should never be underestimated.
And that is true of Norwich’s unassuming and welcoming Butterfly Café based on King Street in the city centre.
I have often used this place to grab a cuppa and sometimes a panini or cake as a quick pick-me-up while on the way to somewhere else. So, I decided it was about time I took stock of the place and sat inside.
We were instantly greeted with a pleasant smile and were told to take our pick of the remaining tables. We decided to sit close to the front window in order to watch the world go by.
The menus were already conveniently on the table, as you’d expect with a café, and it did not take us long to make up our minds.
Butterfly Café serves hearty breakfasts all day, but the options available venture further than your typical all-day choice. As well as different varieties of full breakfast choices – small, large, vegetarian – there is also eggs benedict, eggs and avocado, pancakes, omelettes, toast and baps. These complement the other non-breakfast choices which include paninis, jacket potatoes, soup of the day and various cakes and snacks.
Although there is a selection of drink choices, from smoothies and milkshakes to traditional teas and coffees, we opted for a simple latte (£2.40 for a large mug) and a brew for one (£1.75). The drinks arrived hot and steaming with a biscuit on the side.
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We then gave our food orders. I picked the large breakfast (£8.95) and was treated to two slices of bacon, two flavoursome sausages, two fried eggs that were fresh and tasty, two hash browns, mushrooms, beans in a pot on the side and toast. Everything was cooked as expected and it wasn’t too heavy considering how much was on my plate. It definitely filled a hole and made for a delicious brunch. My drink was included with this meal too.
My partner decided to select something from the meal deal menu – a spicy meatball panini with a regular hot drink (£4.95). This arrived with a side of nachos and was cooked throughout perfectly. The only thing missing was “a bit more spice” but I appreciate with spice it’s always difficult to accommodate everyone’s taste buds.
Overall this was a pleasant stop-gap before we headed out for the rest of our day and we would consider popping here again for a decently priced and nice tasting meal.
It is clear to see that Butterfly Café has really tried, and succeeded, in creating a community in its local area. As we ate, familiar faces to the staff would repeatedly pop their heads in the door to wish them a good day, as well as grab a drink and food to go.
The café itself is bright, clean, modern, and has a pleasant vibe.
The meal deal menu is especially good value for money. Less than £5 in the city centre for a small meal, which is freshly prepared, and a drink is extremely reasonable.
There are lots of options to pick from, and the smoothies at £2.75 sound delicious. There are also oat, almond and soya options for hot drinks as well as syrup shots. The milkshakes come in strawberry, chocolate, and banana flavour (£2.75), and vegan options are available too.
Clean, functional, and surprisingly spacious. A nice touch was having artwork created by customers old and young hanging up in a frame on the wall.
There are vegan options across some of the food and drink options. There is also a vegetarian option for the breakfast.
The café is small so it may be a squeeze to navigate a pushchair or wheelchair but that’s not to say it’s impossible and I’m sure the friendly owners would try to accommodate as best they can. The café is all on one level.
Friendly, efficient, and perfectly pleasant.
There is a real sense of community surrounding the Butterfly Café and it was a joy to see that as we relaxed with our drinks. They also serve a match-day menu for hungry footy fans.
For a quick and filling bite to eat that doesn’t break the bank but is tasty and fresh.
If you like that, try these...
The Street Cafe, Magdalen Street in Norwich - This café is known for its breakfasts and is always busy. It serves up traditional cooked options, as well as waffles and more.
No 33, Exchange Street in Norwich - No 33 has become one of the most popular cafés in Norwich, and a few years ago expanded to take over the neighbouring premises.
Lemon Tree Café Bar, Wymondham - The Lemon Tree is busy spot in Wymondham which serves up breakfasts, tea and cake and lunches six days of the week (it closes on Mondays).
Under new management
Although Butterfly Café has been based in King’s Street for a number of years, it was taken over by new management just over 13 months ago.
Posting to their followers on Facebook on their one-year anniversary, the management said: “Today marks my first year in charge, for what has been a very tough and strange time for all of us.
“A big thank you goes out to everyone who has helped me to build the cafe from the start to where we are now. I’m not mentioning names but you know that you are a big part of me achieving every day.
“Obviously, the cafe is nothing without everyone that visits time after time and certainly continuing supporting us throughout, you are all the main ingredient.
“There aren’t enough words to be able to say enough but thank you!
“Here’s to many more years to come.”
The team also recently held a Macmillan coffee afternoon that raised £170 for sufferers of cancer and their families.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.