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Two Norwich vegetarian restaurants named among best in country

PUBLISHED: 17:27 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:23 19 February 2020

River Green Café in Trowse, run by Chris Avey, is one of the finalists in the best restaurant category at The Vegetarian and Vegan Awards 2020. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

River Green Café in Trowse, run by Chris Avey, is one of the finalists in the best restaurant category at The Vegetarian and Vegan Awards 2020. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Two Norwich restaurants have reached the finals of The Vegetarian and Vegan Awards 2020, adding to the city’s reputation as one of the best places in the UK for meat-free meals.

Falafel mezze at the River Green Cafe in Trowse Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANFalafel mezze at the River Green Cafe in Trowse Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Wild Thyme in the city centre and River Green Cafe in Trowse have both been named as two of the 11 finalists for the national best vegetarian restaurant category.

The awards, which are taking place for the first time this year, feature a further two Norwich nominees with The Tipsy Vegan in St Benedicts Street in the best bar category and Trio's Catering for vegetarian and vegan-friendly caterer.

The River Green Cafe, which first started in 2011 in the former Trowse Bakery, is run by Chris Avey, who is also the head chef, and he was delighted when he found out they were a finalist.

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The River Green Cafe opened in 2011 in the former home of Trowse Bakery. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe River Green Cafe opened in 2011 in the former home of Trowse Bakery. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mr Avey said: "We got an email out the blue and it was a pleasant surprise as it is always nice when you are nominated by a customer.

"Everything we make and serve in the kitchen is made from scratch using local and seasonal produce and we are also members of the Proudly Norfolk scheme.

"I'm a culinary magpie and take inspiration from all around the world and we have dishes at the moment such as a Mexican burrito, pad Thai, Moroccan platter and even a version of a Wellington which is our most popular dish."

Mr Avey has been a vegetarian for 30 years, which was a decision for environmental reasons, but decided to make the full leap as a vegan three years ago.

Owner Chris Avey has been a vegetarian for 30 years and a vegan for three. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANOwner Chris Avey has been a vegetarian for 30 years and a vegan for three. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Over that time, he has seen a huge increase in the meat-free options available in restaurants and in no place more so than in the city.

Mr Avey added: "When this place opened in 2011 there was only a handful of vegetarian places in Norwich and now there is a dozen and every other chain or independent offers at least one or two vegan options.

"Norwich is one of the best places in the UK to be a vegetarian or vegan and there is a lot of creativity in the restaurant scene."

The River Green Cafe serves a completely meat-free menu and uses local and seasonal produce Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe River Green Cafe serves a completely meat-free menu and uses local and seasonal produce Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Building on his success, Mr Avey is launching a new Supper Club on the first Thursday of the month, launching on March 5, where up to 14 diners will enjoy several sharing dishes and you can book at rivergreencafe.co.uk/cheftable

The winners will be revealed on The Vegetarian and Vegan Awards Facebook page on Monday, February 24.

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