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Hawaiian food hits Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:40 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:04 14 March 2018

Georgia Lewis and Ashley Linford, owners of the new superfood bar in St Giles Street called Pono. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Georgia Lewis and Ashley Linford, owners of the new superfood bar in St Giles Street called Pono. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A couple from Norwich are hoping to bring a ‘totally tropical’ vibe to the city with their new superfood bar.

The new superfood bar in St Giles Street called Pono. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new superfood bar in St Giles Street called Pono. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pono opened just a few days ago with Georgia Lewis and Ashley Linford at the helm, offering a unique experience to local food lovers.

At the core of Pono is a desire to nourish and delight diners with a range of mostly raw (and 90% vegan) bowls and plates, made with the best ingredients, with inspiration for the concept coming from Georgia and Ashley’s two-year hiatus from work, travelling the globe.

Both of them worked for an offshore company and in 2014 quit their jobs, seeking adventure. So began an expedition that took them all over the world, and it was in Sri Lanka, while assessing what the future might bring, that they decided they wanted to set-up their own business.

Taking cue from the healthy eating culture they found in California, Sydney and Hawaii, the seed for Pono was sown.

“We got back from travelling in October 2016 and started to look for a shop straight away,” says Georgia. “It took nine to 10 months to find the right shop at 15 St Giles Street.”

Pono is not a café, a restaurant or a bar (it’s not licensed) but is an experiential taste of what can be achieved by bringing together high quality raw ingredients.

“It’s all fresh and raw. And everything’s in its most natural form with no refined sugar,” Georgia adds. “Nothing’s processed. A lot of people think we’re vegan but we’re not branding ourselves as that. We’re not vegans but it just so happens that a lot of our dishes are vegan. We try to use as much gluten-free as possible too so we can cater for a wide branch of people.”

With its Scandinavian styling you might expect to find a smorgasbord on the menu, but the speciality says Georgia, is Hawaiian poke – a dish of raw marinated spicy salmon or tuna. But don’t mistake this for sushi or sashimi. “It’s got a totally different flavour. We’d never heard of it until we went to Hawaii. It’s their street food, you can get it everywhere and we ate it every single day we were there. To them it’s a traditional food.”

The poke comes with brown rice, fresh mango salsa, poke sauce and salad.

If raw fish isn’t for you, there are ‘build your own’ salad bowls at lunchtimes, based around a protein of falafel, tofu, chicken or smoked salmon which are added to with your choice of salads and dressing.

In the mornings pop by for smoothie bowls, layered with granola, fruit and superfood toppings such as energy-boosting cacao, coconut or chia seeds. There’s avocado on toast for all you avo-lovers.

And fresh, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, Strangers coffee and Wilkinsons tea from just up the road will help set you up for the day too.

Georgia’s excited about the raw hot chocolate (causing a bit of an Instagram stir) made with cacao and without refined sugar or dairy, and which would be perfect to wash down one of the raw cakes – from mint chocolate brownie, to coconut cacao bars and orange cream slices.

As well as committing to raw food, both Georgia and Ashley are passionate about being environmentally responsible. “We’re trying to reduce al our plastics,” Georgia explains. “All our coffee cups and lids are fully compostable, we’re using biodegradable paper straws, and all our takeaway packaging is biodegradable. We’re selling resealable cans of water rather than bottled water, and if you return your juice bottle from Pono back to us, you’ll get 50p off your next purchase, so we can make sure it’s recycled properly.”

Get down to Pono for opening week when there’ll be 20% off all food.

For more foodie news and events, join our Facebook group Eat Norfolk, here.

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