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Food review: Olives, Elm Hill, Norwich

Breakfast at Olives in Norwich. <i>(Image: Emma Lee)</i>
Breakfast at Olives in Norwich. (Image: Emma Lee)

Olives, Elm Hill, Norwich

Perched on the corner of cobbled Elm Hill, Olives was recently named one of the Guardian's top picks for breakfast. It was certainly my top pick when it came to choosing a venue for a birthday brunch with a friend.

I love this characterful place - the friendly staff, the vintage gig posters on the wall, the free jukebox full of 'old bloke music' (their words), the podcasts about bird calls playing in the loo - and, of course, the delicious food.

We booked ahead and were glad that we did, because even on a rainy Wednesday morning it was buzzing.

It bills itself as a breakfast cafe - opening hours are from 9am-2.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am-3pm at weekends - but they do now offer a tempting sounding menu of Gorilla grilled cheese toasties with fillings including pulled pork and slow cooked beef brisket served from noon, which will definitely need further investigation at some point.

But back to breakfast, where the options include Big Breakfasts, Smaller Breakfasts, Things Near Toast and Sandwiches. In addition to its meaty offerings, Olives' inventive vegan option, which includes chickpea scramble, maple smoked aubergine and bubble and squeak, also has lots of fans.

Suspecting that cake might feature on the agenda later in the day, we both went for variations on the (Relatively) Slim Breakfast (their words again) - poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, streaky bacon (or halloumi to make it veggie), beans and toast.

My friend plumped for halloumi with added bacon and I had some chipolata sausages added on to my order.

(Relatively) was the appropriate word - it was an ample plateful packed with beautifully cooked quality ingredients. The perfect way to start any day, not just a birthday.


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