Local Focus: Noyas Kitchen

Noya tells us about her history, her cooking, and her favourite spots in Bath

We love singing the praises of our destinations, but for a change we thought we’d start asking the people who live and work in the places we love. To start off, we interviewed Noya Pawlyn, owner of the superb Noya’s Kitchen in Bath.

Noya Pawlyn cooking. Photo credit Paul Gregory.

Tell us about yourself...

I was born in a small southern Vietnamese coastal town called Qui Nhơn. It was the early 1970s and, like tens of thousands of other southerners, we fled our home in boats. I looked after my siblings and prepared food for them. As the oldest daughter that was my role. I was seven years old. As refugees you have to work harder than most, take your chances and say yes to opportunities. It gives you a strength and dedication to succeed, something that’s helping me now!

How did Noya’s Kitchen Get Started?

I’ve always loved cooking for friends and family and saw an opportunity to run a one-off pop-up Supper Club in a local cafe. Word spread and soon I was running monthly and then weekly Supper Clubs. It worked well but I wanted my own place where I could create something special and, in 2017, I converted a gorgeous Grade II listed building on St James's Parade into a lovely restaurant space with the warm homely feel I was looking for.

A blue sign, with gold text. The text reads: 'Noya's Kitchen - Vietnamese - Café / Supper Club / Cooking Classes'

Noya’s Kitchen is a little bit different to a typical restaurant, as I have Supper Clubs on Friday and Saturday nights with lunch service throughout the week, and a special Pho Night on Wednesdays and run my Cooking Classes on Monday evenings. It’s hard work, but I love the variety of events and create my weekly menus depending on available ingredients and my inspiration that week.

Vietnamese food, in a bowl. Chopsticks are being used to pick some food up. Photo credit Anil Iltas

Since opening we’ve been doing well and were so thrilled to win Bristol & Bath’s Crumbs Award in 2018 for Best Newcomer, and were Finalists at the Bath Life Awards in 2018 and 2019. I’m so lucky to have a supportive family, great team and some amazing flavours to play with – thank you Vietnam!

What do you love so much about Bath?

The city is visually stunning and I remember pinching myself that I lived here! The Georgian terraces, squares and crescents with their cobbled side-streets are a beautiful backdrop to life in general.

Noya’s Kitchen
01225 684439
7 St James’s Parade,
Bath
BA1 1UL

Noya’s Tips for Bath Visitors

Bath Abbey

BA1 1LT
Our other favourite is the Bath Abbey Tower Tour. In a small group, the guide will take you through ancient passageways, up spiral stairs so you can explore the belltower, the tiny room behind the clock face and then to the top of the tower where the view over Bath’s rooftops is second-to-none.

The roof of Bath Abbey

Royal Victoria Park

Marlborough Lane, BA1 2NQ
When the kids were younger we spent hours in Victoria Park with its huge play area and open spaces, watching the hot air balloons rise on summer evenings.

A view of the Royal Victoria Park

The Fashion Museum

Assembly Rooms, Bennett St, BA1 2QH
If we went to the park and it turned into a wet day then we’d visit the Fashion Museum and play dress-up with the Georgian costumes on offer.

A view inside the Bath Fashion Museum. Exhibits in glass cases line both sides of a walkway.

Avoncliff and circular walk to Bradford on Avon

Dundas Aqueduct, Avoncliff BA2 7BL
The train journey from Bath to Bradford on Avon is one of the prettiest in the country, and right in the midst of it is Avoncliff Station. Hop off the train here to admire the aqueduct (circ 1800), enjoy the 30 minute canal walk to Bradford on Avon and back via the riverside path to Avoncliff’s Cross Guns pub with it’s pretty riverside gardens.

The Kennet and Avon Canal near Bath. A narrowboat is moored on the left.

Two Tunnels cycle and walking route

We love jumping on our bikes and cycling through along the Two Tunnels Greenway out to the Hope & Anchor pub in Midford. The path follows the track of the disused Somerset & Dorset Railway and the tunnels were reopened in 2013 – one is over a mile long making it the longest walking/cycling tunnel in Britain.

A cycle lane on the Two Tunnels route, looking down one of the tunnels. Image credit David Kennedy

The Roman Baths

Stall St, BA1 1LZ
The Roman Baths are still the clear winner in terms of beauty and they are so well-preserved. Even the kids will enjoy the visit as it’s so easy to imagine yourself as a Roman bather 2000 years ago.

Cycling to Warleigh Weir, Claverton

Warleigh Weir is a summer treat! A 30 minute canal-side cycle from central Bath and the perfect place for a picnic and safe swim in the River Avon.

Prior Park Gardens

Ralph Allen Drive, BA2 5AH
Bath is full of history, but not many places combine picture perfect city views with gorgeous National Trust gardens, lakes and the famous Palladian Bridge. Another pinch-yourself-that-you-live-here kind of place!

Alexandra Park

Shakespeare Ave, BA2 4RQ
Easily accessible from the city up a steep path Alexandra Park is easily the best view over central Bath. The city is spread out like a 3D model below, allowing you to pinpoint all the famous city sights. We’ve spent countless sunny afternoons there with friends and there’s a lovely kids play area at the crest of the hill.

A view from Alexandra Park looking over Bath

Parade Gardens

Pierrepont St, BA2 4AL
This is a gem, and central Bath’s loveliest spot. Beautifully tended gardens, a bandstand with frequent concerts, views of the Abbey and Pulteney Bridge with the River Avon running alongside. Gorgeous Bath!

A view of Parade Gardens

Bath Rugby Club

Spring Gardens, BA2 4DS
My husband has a season ticket and I’ve been a few times too. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and iconic ground, right in the heart of the city. You can certainly feel the match day vibe and excitement through the city.

A view over Bath Rugby Club at sunset

Green Bird Café

11 Margaret's Buildings, BA1 2LP
I rarely get the chance to eat out in Bath, as I’m usually the one cooking. Sunday morning brunch is another story though and one of my favourites is the Green Bird Café. A lovely vibe, fresh and tasty food and a warm welcome from Henry and the team.

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