Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stepping Stones Cafe - Norwich

Opposite Norwich Bus station

Opening Hours
Mon - Sat 
10am - 4pm

Breakfast served all day

 Stepping Stones Cafe is located directly opposite Norwich Bus station.

The interior is modern, clean and spacious.

 Pick a table or relax on the sofa.

The all day breakfast is excellent value for money.

 Collect sauces and cutlery from here.

 Salt, pepper and sugar can be found on each table.

 The filter coffee was really good and is included with each breakfast, I was delighted to be offered a second cup at no extra cost!

The breakfast had all the key items and tasted great.

 The fried egg had a nice runny yolk.

 There were plenty of beans and thick cut white toast served with real butter.

The mushrooms and tomatoes tasted excellent.

This was the veggie breakfast, extra hash brown and tomato replaced the meat.  When it arrived extra toast had also been included.

In 1987 just 2 weeks after leaving school I moved from Chertsey in Surrey to Norwich, I was almost 16 and moved into Norwich YMCA on St Giles Street. I lived there for 3 years and have very happy memories of the time I spent there. It was like moving from home straight into a hotel, I had my own room which was cleaned every morning and the communal areas contained video game machines, a full sized snooker table and a sports hall. I met some great friends there and loved living so close to the city centre. My fondest memories were meal times, you were issued with meal tickets each week which could be used in the restaurant on the ground floor. Breakfast at the YMCA was quite an event each morning and the selection available was amazing. A breakfast ticket could be exchanged for 5 cooked breakfast items and also some fried bread and toast, you could also have a selection of cereals, fruit juice and tea or coffee. I certainly ate well during my stay there and in 1990 feeling I wanted to do more for myself I moved out into a small bedsit on Connaught Road. 

A few years ago a new YMCA hostel opened opposite Norwich Bus station offering accommodation to 16-25 year olds. Last year below the hostel Stepping Stones Cafe opened its doors to the public, it's a social enterprise providing skills to young people in YMCA supported housing. Upon discovering a full English breakfast was now being served there I just had to go along and take a look...

Upon entering - The cafe is a decent size with plenty of natural light flooding in through the large windows. It is modern, clean and spacious with a counter on your left as you enter, behind that is the kitchen which was a hive of activity. If you were looking to eat a cooked breakfast here you may well turn away and search elsewhere having looked at the menu in the window as a cooked breakfast is not mentioned anywhere on it. The only place I spotted the cooked breakfast was on the blackboard by the counter, I think they are missing a trick here and should mention it on the menu and website. Place your order and pay at the counter and everything will arrive at your table a bit later, just remember to collect some cutlery and sauces before sitting down. I liked the feel of this cafe and it was certainly a big hit with the bus drivers too! 7/10

Service - The staff team here were working together nicely to create a decent breakfast and the chap serving was great. We enquired about the veggie breakfast and he talked us through what it contained, when it arrived extra toast had been added and I was offered a second cup of coffee at no extra cost. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, toast & butter and a hot drink. 7/10

Presentation - The plate was filled with the colourful selection of breakfast items and everything looked cooked nicely. 7/10

The food - The sausage may have been small but it packed a meaty punch and tasted really good as did the nicely browned bacon . The fried egg was piping hot with a lovely runny yolk which soaked into the thick cut buttered toast beautifully. A crispy hash brown, tomatoes packed full of flavour and a sea of beans with a nice thick sauce all lead to a really enjoyable breakfast! Special mention must go to the delicious fried mushrooms, although quite oily they tasted amazing and there was plenty of them. 8/10

Value for money - A decent breakfast served with toast and butter and 2 filter coffees was well worth £4.50. Incredible value for money! 10/10

Veggie option - 2 eggs, 2 hash browns, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, toast & butter and a hot drink for £4.50

Overall - I love what Stepping Stones Cafe is doing by teaching young people catering skills and it is clear that they are all doing a top job and creating a breakfast to be proud of! You won't find better value anywhere else in the city and the fact the price includes toast and a hot drink makes it an essential place to visit. 8/10


  1. Well this place certainly needs a visit, sounds excellent value for money & the ethos behind it is commendable.

    Definitely needs more marketing though e.g a decent sign outside saying cafe open, as it should be scooping up the passing trade from the bus station as the facilities there are poor.

    1. I completely agree, such a great place but it could easily be missed and way better than the bus station cafe.

  2. Do they get one of your stickers? Because the breakfast alone sounds great, and for what they're aiming to achieve, more people should know about them.

    I know City College staff like to have a Full English on Friday mornings - this is perfectly positioned for them.

    1. Hi Lucy, The minimum overall score for a sticker is 8.5/10. Great place though and I am sure the City College staff will love it.

  3. All points taken on board, breakfast on main menu now, also 2 tier, we now have big breakfast for £6.50, just as good value, thanks for the blog, has done us a lot of good but everyone thinks we should have a sticker, come and try us again

    1. I am a big fan of stepping stones cafe and would happily return! A minimum score of 8.5 is generally needed for a sticker, the big breakfast could just score you that bit extra, hope to visit again soon, keep up the great work!!

  4. I cant recommend stepping stones highly enough .The coffee is just great and my favourite meal there .Coronation chicken sandwiches come with chips and salad and is fantastic value