Norfolk magazine gives Yalm the thumbs up in review

The New Year kicked off in a great way for Yalm with a fantastic review in Norfolk magazine. Here it is in full:

The attention paid to local history and local provenance is an excellent start for the restaurant (or eating experience, I’m not quite sure what to call it but whatever it is, the concept deserves to do very well.)

Set in Norwich’s beautiful Royal Arcade, several businesses run their own kitchens creating food and drinks which are served to customers in shared bar and restaurant areas across two floors. There are pizza, noodle, grill, North African, Mexican, brunch and ice cream specialists, plus bars and cheese and charcuterie by conveyer belt.

Alongside the range of eating options are a range of seating options including canteen-style long tables, smaller tables for four or fewer, bar stools to perch on and sofas to relax into.

So many choices!

Once you have found your ideal table (we headed upstairs to sit beneath the wonderful stained glass) you can browse the menus by scanning a QR code or going online (if your QR code scanning skills are as shonky as mine.) Each kitchen has its main offerings chalked above its hatch. There were also plenty of actual humans ready to help, and you can order direct from the kitchen of your choice if you arrive without the necessary tech (or know-how, or inclination).

Every member of staff (crew) we came across was lovely; smiley and helpful and with no hint of frustration when fat-fingered Mantell managed to accidentally order two drinks and needed one refunding.

And so to the food. We were both won over by the north African and Andalusian-inspired menu of Souk and ordered lamb kofta with sides of roast beetroot and humous, and spiced falafels with sides of slaw and tabouleh.

They were fabulous, my lamb meltingly tender, the hummus silky smooth with a little spicy kick. Both were served with flatbread, perfect for mopping up the last delicious bit of each dish.

Our meals arrived together but if you order from different outlets each dish will be brought to you when it is ready, so my tip is to eat with people who won’t insist on standing on ceremony and waiting until everyone is served. Yalm should work well for groups of friends and multi-generational families as there is so much choice, and it should be easy to split bills by ordering separately (or putting it all on mum and dad’s phone.)

For pudding we picked Nickers from Milk and a sour cherry and pistachio cake from Folks. Different kitchens offer everything from churros to tiramisu and crumble. My cake was wonderfully textured; the crunch of the pistachios and piquancy of the cherries perfectly countering the deliciously squidgy cake.

Milk’s velvety soft ice cream and dazzling choice was irresistible, even on a very chilly day. As the cheeky name suggests, Nickers, inspired by a certain chocolate bar, mixes moreish crunchy peanuts and caramel sauce, with chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

The regular kitchens include Eric’s Pizza (from award winning chef Eric Snaith) and Flying Saucers’ cheese and charcuterie conveyor, plus sharing boards, fondues and raclette, which has to be worth a visit or several on its own.

I’m a Yalm beginner right now but a New Year’s Resolution I could actually keep would be to become fluent in Yalm asap.

Opens Tuesday to Saturday 8am-10pm and Sunday 9am-6pm.

Rowan Mantell