There are foodie places that people talk about and you’re like ‘yeah, I’ll probably go there someday’ and then never will.
But Coral Bay in Baker Street, Gorleston, was on my radar from the start. I was going to go there as soon as possible.
Everything I had gotten from the original stall in Great Yarmouth Market had been ridiculously tasty, so imagine my horror when I rushed into the office at the first lock sniff to find it closed.
Simply put, too many people had loved it and the owners had moved to open a real restaurant away from my home.
Come on May 17th, I was on the phone. It was a reservation that just couldn’t wait.
So one sunny Thursday, with my husband and a reluctant 15-year-old in tow, we made the advertised long journey to Gorleston and Baker Street – the playground of my youth.
I had worked in Cozies (across from Coral Bay) when I got home from college (it’s not Cozies anymore, when did that happen?) So for the first few moments after finding a parking space, I was surprised at all that had changed.
At the door there was a bit of trivia because in all the excitement (I had a different handbag for the occasion to go out) I did not have a mask but the lady in the restaurant was able to provide one.
Inside, it’s not a luxury affair, but the Caribbean island vibe is fun and feels clean and organized.
We were shown to our table and given menus. Around 6 p.m. there were a few other tables with people eating, and there appeared to be a busy take-out trade.
The menu isn’t huge which is a good thing, and we had to look around for a few items to be sure of our choice.
I opted for the ackee – a type of fruit – and the salted fish (£ 13), presented as a classic and traditional dish, while my husband had Mama D’s jerk chicken (£ 12) and my daughter the sweet potato and vegetable curry (£ 11).
We also ordered plantain (£ 2.50) and dumplings (£ 1) on the side.
You can choose your main course and we have opted for skin fries and sweet potato fries.
This turned out to be a bit of a mistake with my dish as I expected it to be drier, but the ackee and salted fish were quite delicate, and I could have made it with rice for sponge it up.
Having said that, it was super tasty without being too spicy and not too much fishy either. The ake has a scrambled egg texture and there was also a lot of peppers and veg.
It was fresh and healthy and very, very filling. All the portions were huge.
The jerk chicken was good ol ‘brisket, chewy and plump and apparently spicy – my husband said it was hotter than anything he had ever had in our curry house on the road, and that says something when even he declares that his mouth is on fire.
The veggie curry was also very tasty and extremely generous in size.
We all enjoyed the plantain – a cross between a potato and a banana, nice texture. The meatballs were heavy and bready enough and good for dipping in the curry.
Two out of three of us have been overcome by the generous amount of food.
The couple next to us, who had valiantly cleared their plates, said they were too full for anything else.
But in the name of research, we had to try a dessert. There were only two options: a salted caramel cheesecake with a honeycomb crunch or a hot chocolate brownie (£ 6).
We decided to share the first one and it was big and excellent – as expected – with a bit of mint to garnish which I loved because mint goes with everything in my book.
With Gorleston being the perfect place for wine and dinner, it feels like Coral Bay has found a good home.
The food is authentic and it was good to be introduced to some really unfamiliar flavors.
For the three of us the bill was £ 56 including drinks, and my husband had a beer.
The most expensive main course was the ackee and the salted fish which was still only £ 13.
The dumplings were only £ 1 each and a serving of plantain £ 2.50.
There is no mess on the portions and the food is fresh and authentic so great value if you want to refuel.
My daughter also enjoyed the Bigga Fruit Punch, at £ 2.50.
Our server was friendly and attentive, but not overly so.
We waited for about the right time between classes so we weren’t in a rush or left to finger drumming. Feels informal and relaxed.
The akee and the salted fish because it was full of flavor and novelty for me. The cheesecake was delicious too.
A great new addition to the city’s food scene, and with its mouth-watering cocktail menu, I can only imagine there’s a lovely nighttime vibe aided by the Jamaican soundtrack.
There is also a take out option.
Coral Bay is on 01493 650842.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on his experience of the place during his visit. The property is not aware of our visit, is not informed of our intention to write a review, and invoices are paid by the reviewer. The choice of locations reviewed is also independent and is not based on locations that may or may not advertise in our publications.
If you like it, try these
- Soul Café and Restaurant, King’s Lynn – This restaurant serves a fusion of Caribbean-influenced dishes blended with the best of British cuisine.
- Norwich Soul Kitchen, Norwich – A pop-up kitchen resident at Last Pub Standing on King Street, Soul Kitchen serves Caribbean-inspired cuisine.
- SW1 Restaurant, Gorleston – Not far from Coral Bay is SW1, a quayside restaurant serving steak, seafood and more.