Noya's Kitchen - Bath
Food with soul, the kind that really tastes like it has been cooked from the heart. You can be sure you won't stumble across it every time you dine out in your local town or city. But, when you are lucky enough to discover it, and taste the chef's passion through their careful, subtle balance of flavours and thoughtfully considered presentation, you know you've struck gold! Such was our recent dining experience at Noya Pawlyn's utterly charming Noya's Kitchen.
Find it on St James's Parade, and I can guarantee that you will be planning on when to revisit the moment you put down those chopsticks!
An exquisite, delicious, unmistakably authentic taste of Vietnam awaits. Expect nothing less from this talented, home-taught Vietnamese chef.
Noya first discovered her love of cooking from the tender age of seven. She would buy the family's food shop and learn the art of boiling rice to perfection for her four siblings in a Hong Kong refugee camp, whilst their parents went out to work. Although Noya then latterly moved to the UK, her roots in Vietnamese food still runs deep, she says she loves nothing more than to share her favourite dishes with friends...
Prior to launching Bath's first ever Vietnamese café, Noya hosted popular supper clubs, featuring five course menus, at the Bear Pad Café in Bear Flat (they'd sell out months in advance). For four years, Noya built up an esteemed reputation with her pop-ups, serving the good people of Bath with her fresh and vibrant, mouth-watering comfort food. As well as this, Noya held Vietnamese cookery classes from her home, but now she has the location of Noya's Kitchen to host the classes in the relaxed setting of her private dining area.
So, last December Noya took the decision to open the doors of her new Vietnamese café at 7 St James's Parade - a venture that caused much excitement among all of us!
Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed building in the centre of Bath, Noya's Kitchen is a cosy, warm, inviting space, with the familiar feel of dining at home.
Scott and I stopped by for lunch last Saturday...
Once seated, our waitress pointed out the menu which hangs from a blackboard on the wall behind the bar. We were informed that the lunch-time menu changes on a weekly basis and is announced via Noya's social media platforms every week. Lunches are held from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12-3pm. In addition, Noya's supper clubs run on Fridays, Saturdays and selected Thursdays from 7pm - 10.15pm.
We couldn't wait to sample Noya's highly sought-after cooking. The experience was truly exquisite from the moment we picked up our chopsticks to the second we put down our dessert spoons! Let me share with you why...
We began with our drinks order; I opted for a speciality Vietnamese lotus tea - a type of green tea produced in Vietnam. A delicate, aromatic tea that helpfully balanced out the gentle kicks of spice that I discovered in some of our starters and mains later on. Meanwhile, Scott tried a homemade elderflower cordial. A refreshing beverage charged with ice cubes, lime and fresh mint - a wise choice of drinks on such a blazing hot summer's day!
The very reasonably priced starters all sounded delicious, so it was a "one of each for this table, please"!
From 'Crispy Turkey Dumplings' (£6.00), to 'Aubergine Batons' (£7.00) and 'Chicken Summer Rolls' (£6.00), we soon realised we were on a seriously tasty culinary journey...
Each perfectly sized starter arrived with a colourful, crunchy salad of raw cabbage, onion, carrot, coriander, mint and sesame seeds.
The aubergine batons were a particular favourite of mine. Coated in a light cassava batter, they were melt-in-the-mouth moreish. I think I'd travel long and far to get my hands on these, but luckily I don't have to!
The meaty summer rolls were packed to the max with so many gorgeous ingredients, and were surprisingly filling too.
Next, a 'Pork Bun Salad' (£7.00) and a 'Tofu Bun Salad' (£7.00) which were lick-the-bowl kinda good!
See what I mean?
We ended our Vietnamese feast with a 'Coconut Pannacotta' (£4.50) to share.
A delicate, fragrant, creamy and outrageously delicious dessert that we hope will feature on Noya's menu again, as we would order it in a heartbeat. Needless to say, along with every other dish above too!
Now I am left feeling hungry after writing this post, and I hope you are as well! :)
There's just one thing for it then...
Visit Noya's Kitchen to book a table, or to find out more about her lunch and supper clubs, plus her wonderful cooking classes, pop over here.