Urban Jungle Blogs, News and Press Releases

The Kitchen Garden Diaries 2: One Man's Rubbish...

17 May 2018 - Posted by Niamh Mullally

The Kitchen Garden Diaries 2: One man's rubbish, is Urban Jungle's treasure...

Here's Propagation Manager Niamh's second instalment of the Kitchen Garden Diaries. This entry is about working with the elements, including the weather, and up-cycled and recycled materials in creating a beautiful, environmentally friendly space to grow salad and vegetables . Read on to find out what, where and how Niamh sourced incredibly useful, interesting and unique features for the Kitchen Garden...

Kitchen Garden Team
The Kitchen Garden Team - Tracy, Niamh and Carl 

It wasn’t the smooth, planned organised start I wanted. The severe cold snaps delayed the start of the new Edible Jungle by many weeks. Finally, when construction began, further complications ensued when the foundations of the Costessey car park were discovered to be mostly concrete rather than rich Norfolk topsoil. A frantic ring round of all the soil suppliers for replacement compost proved equally tricky as the cold spell had delayed their production also.

The flip side of all this kerfuffle was unexpected time to sow more vegetable seedlings. I gladly obliged and continued to sow chard, spinach, leeks, spring onions, salad, herbs, edible flowers, kale, radicchio, kohl rabi, spigarello and broad beans. 500 square meters is a big space to fill.

seeds ready to be planted

Ready to be planted...

Eventually the right amount of compost was sourced. The first step to prepare the heavy clay was a generous, even sprinkling of calcified seaweed. This would in-time help to break down the clay. The next step was to construct the south boundary fence so that critters would not be able to enter. Chicken wire was sunk below ground for the on-site rabbits, and a simple two metre fence was constructed. The March snow had allowed us to identify many, many small footprints tracked around the poly tunnels at night. Evidence that there were indeed deer in the area.

So, at this point in construction the only costs involved were soil, some new wood and some chicken wire.

Scrap metal was donated and collected all winter from our neighbour, and local metal sculptor Paul Richardson. We've made unique trellises and climbing structures, gates and fencing with Paul's discarded sheets of steel, originally used for punching out sculptures.

Scrap metal

Scrap metal used to make gates and trellises

The very talented Tracie was able to put her considerable skills to use and within hours a gate was made.

The chicken wire whilst necessary is an eyesore. With all year round colour, interest and winged creatures in mind the climbers Akebia quinata ( chocolate vine), Lonicera tellmanniana, Clematis armandii and Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) were planted.

climbers for wildlife


We rarely throw anything away here at Urban Jungle so lots of cardboard collected from Cafe and Nursery deliveries was laid before the soil was evenly distributed. An effective weed suppressant.

Cardboard base

Creating the beds was straight forward. A template was cut, and an agreed width of paths decided. Wood-chip donated from local tree surgeons was laid on the paths and the beds emerged.

The beds are taking shape

The beds are taking shape

Like a rat up a drainpipe, I was in there with a seed tray and a dibber. Granted it was more a personal psychological need rather than real urgency to plant broad beans, but it felt very satisfying whatever the reason.

Scrap metal gates

Scrap metal gates

The entrance to the garden also needed a boundary. Pallets were used to make a giant raised beds connected by another up cycled gate. The width of the beds will provide a secure entrance whilst allowing extra planting space, because obviously 500 square metres isn’t enough! These pallets will be filled with the contents of our winter Cafe composting bins and topped with fertilised new compost. Artichokes, climbers, and nasturtiums have already been planted, these with time will cover the free, (but let’s be honest) unsightly pallet beds.

Abandoned barrels weren’t safe either. Ben is a talented young sculptor and using his skills they were transformed into giant planters with extra planting pockets for herbs.

While all this was going on, progress was being made in other areas too. The heritage potatoes are in the process of being planted. Up-cycled compost bags are ideal for this, luckily, we have an endless supply.


Heritage potatoes

Chillies and peppers are all growing well in the heated propagators. seaweed fertiliser was added at the pricking out stage to give the seedlings a taste of things to come. This week I pinched out the tips, to encourage bushy growth and larger yields.

Chilli tips

Chilli tips

The tomatoes are very happy. It won’t be long now before they are planted into containers in the poly-tunnel. Hanging baskets are planned of ‘Tumbler’, along with nasturtiums to make the most of the poly-tunnel space.

Honestly, construction is nowhere complete yet, but progress is steadily being made and so far, up-cycling is at maximum and costs are at a minimum. Once the weather improves, growth should be rapid and the first harvests from our new garden will begin.

Happy growing.


The Kitchen Garden will be open to the public mid-summer, keep an eye on our newsletters for more information. The Cafe is open everyday serving fresh produce harvested from the Edible Jungle. Book a table at beccles@urbanjunglecafe.uk.com.

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Get Your Garden Summer Ready...

30 April 2018 - Posted by Liz Browne and Uhi Millington

At Urban Jungle, we're determined that summer is finally on it's way. Nursery Manager Uhi and Owner Liz have some fabulous ideas to help you prepare...

Liz and Uhi
[Left to right] Liz Browne (Co-owner) and Uhi Millington (Nursery Manager)

1. Bringing the indoors out 
Put your cacti and succulents outside to get the most of the summer sun - June through to September. Conservatory and houseplants also love being outside in summer as much as we do, so give them a holiday in the garden too. Be careful to gradually acclimatise them to the brighter light. Succulents, surprisingly, can suffer sunburn, so cover them with fleece for their first few days outdoors. Even if you don't want to leave your houseplants outdoors all summer, try to get them outside in showery weather - it's amazing how it perks them up.

Cacti and Succulents at Urban Jungle
Cacti and Succulents at Urban Jungle

2. Plants for wildlife 
We're not the only ones missing the sun -our precious bees and butterflies rely on it. Help them out by providing Veronicastrum 'Red Arrows', Sambucas nigras 'Eva', Salvia and Hebe rakaiensis. The bees also specifically love Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlett' and Nectarscordum siculum. Butterflies in particular love Echinacea 'Hot Summer'. Echium pininnana is a total bee-magnet. Every garden, no matter how small should have a tree. Trees provide invaluable habitat for birds and other wildlife. We have a huge range of trees for any size garden. 

Sambucca nigras 'eva'

monarda cambridge scarlet

salvia hot lips
Salvia 'Hot Lips'

3. Get the wow factor 
Cannas, gingers, Dahlias and bananas all make a wonderful impact and provide a real talking point for your BBQ and summer party guests, and they carry the garden in to late summer and autumn, when other plants are fading, and the weather is often at its best. They can remain in flower right through to the first frosts, when the summer flowering perennials are but a distant memory.

Hedychium elipticum
Hedychium elipticum (Ginger Lily)

Ensete ventricosum Maurelii

4. How does the sun move around your garden? 
Think about sighting benches or chairs in sunny spots in the garden. Take note where the sun hits the garden in the morning, afternoon and evening. If you have the space, make sure you have several resting spots around the garden. Think morning coffee, lunch, dinner, and that all important place to flop in the sultry afternoon sun on dog days.

5. Evening scent
Something nice to smell while the sun goes down is always a winner. All of our varieties of Brugmansia have gorgeous heady scents, that pump up the volume in the evening. And Trachelospermum jasminoides is a wonderful hardy evergreen climber with deliciously scented white flowers. Plant it with climbing roses over an arch or pergola and you have a winning combination

Angel's Trumpet Brugmansia Suaveolens Brugmanisa

Trachelospermum jasminoides

The Nurseries are open everyday from 10am until 5pm, including evenings and bank holidays. You can also visit our online store or contact us here.

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Where to begin with Kombucha...

24 April 2018 - Posted by Joe Enhari

Where to begin with Kombucha...

Urban Jungle Suffolk's Café Manager, Joe Enhari is a great believer in all things fermented. Not only does pickling and fermenting make great use of gluts from the Edible Jungle (The kitchen garden and field growing our salad and vegetables), but there are also incredible health benefits too.

Health benefits can include detoxification, improved digestion, and immune system stimulation. This effervescent, zingy beverage has also been attributed to preventing arthritis, and reducing cholesterol. It's said to enhance energy, positive moods and athletic performance as well as aiding weight-loss – why wouldn't you share Joe's passion for this seemingly magic cocktail?

Joe's Kombucha

Read on to find out all about Joe's Kombucha...

Kombucha, like several other interesting and delicious things on foodie radars at present, is an antiquated beverage. It's produced using beneficial yeasts and bacteria to ferment a base item, in this case sweetened tea. It's a hot topic at work as Head Chef Chloe, Supervisor Lily and I are all home brewers.

Chloe and Joe Head Chef
Head Chef Chloe and Cafe Manager Joe

There is sadly a great deal of speculation on its origin and specifically the time period. It is however mostly agreed upon that China and The Eurasian Steppe is the most likely place.

Being a fermented beverage, Kombucha contains beneficial micro-organisms that can boost the health of your gut flora, and lactic acids which have been attributed to the relief of lots of gastric ailments.

As if that sexy explanation wasn't enough to get people queuing at the door, it's also really delicious and, once you start playing around by adding natural flavours, more or less infinitely original. I think of it as a tasty and nutritious probiotic iced tea.

All you need to start brewing Kombucha is a jar, some sweet tea and a SCOBY. The SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts) is an odd thing to behold for the first time, a weird celestial jellyfish that's going to eat your tea before you drink it.

SCOBY Kambucha

The method

1) Brew 2 tbsp of loose tea (Assam is nice) with seven pints of boiling water, and 1 cup of sugar. Let it cool to room temperature.
2) Clean and sterilize a big Kilner jar, the large ones with the tap at the bottom.
3) Strain your tea into the jar and add your SCOBY, with a cup of tea from a previously successful brew. 
4) Leave for seven days, out of direct sunlight and at room temperature.
5) On the seventh day, taste your brew. Everyone likes their 'booch' at different levels of sweetness. Taste every day from then on and when you're happy, it's ready.

We've been playing with flavours and brew times in the Café so that we are super happy before we launch it over the bar. Chloe and I are excited to use our home grown produce such as rhubarb, to enhance our future brews.

Joe cooking

It will be on sale in the Café in May, but we will be offering it to any one who wishes to try it for the first time free of charge in the mean time. We hope to see you soon!

The Café at Urban Jungle is open every day from 10am until 4.30pm, and Saturday nights from 6pm. Book your table on 01502 559103 or book here.

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Night Times in The Jungle - Opening Night Success!

23 April 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon

Saturday 21st April marked the first of many fabulous Nights in the Jungle. The Cafe at Urban Jungle in Beccles, Suffolk was fully booked, the atmosphere buzzy, and the food, cocktail and diners as beautiful as ever. 

Customers arrived to the house cocktail, 'The Bare Necessities' (a house made passion fruit and gin mix, with grenadine and lime - so popular it's going to stay on the menu!) and and took their seats at candlelit tables in the restaurant, choosing from a sharing menu featuring a selection of wonderful dishes from around the world. 

The menu included signature dips such as muhammara, labneh and hummus, Portuguese punched potatoes (with sell out success!), hake cerviche, and pulled lamb shawarma. 

Head Chef Chloe is busy working on this Saturday's menu so no two weeks are ever the same, keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram page for updates. You can take a look at our sample menu here

The Cafe at Urban Jungle is open every day from 10am until 4.30, and from 6pm on Saturday Nights, with food served from 7pm. 

Browse the gallery of pictures from our opening night...

dusk at Urban Jungle Suffolk

Table 4

Laying Tables

Table 8

Liz trying the house cocktail

Table 2

Junior chef Emma making flatbreads

Table 5

Hollie making cocktails

Joe briefing the staff

chef chloe making ganash


nibbles - charcuterie

house pickles


Chocolate Brownie

Saturday Night Cocktails

Table 7

Restaurant Urban Jungle Suffolk

Table 9

Table 1

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Press Release: Chloe Webb joins as Head Chef at Urban Jungle Suffolk

19 April 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon

Press Release: Chloe Webb joins as Head Chef at Urban Jungle Suffolk

This week, the Cafe at Urban Jungle Suffolk welcomes Chloe Webb as Head Chef.

Chloe trained on the job in London and Essex, with a background at high profile London events and supper clubs, including Stepney City Farm’s Mexican Fiesta in East London. Chloe takes a lot of her inspiration from travelling in Mexico and Sri Lanka, and hopes to bring this to the menu in Suffolk.

Chloe and Joe Head Chef
Left Chloe Webb, Head Chef and Right, Joe Enhari, Cafe Manager

"Chloe shares our passion at Urban Jungle Suffolk, we’re extremely lucky to have her on board. She respects and cares about food, and the industry in the same way that we do. It’s only her first week but we’ve got big plans. Plans to expand and grow an already totally unique and very special dining experience in Suffolk."
Cafe Manager, Joe Enhari

Chloe has already begun to take advantage of the vegetables available onsite in the Edible Jungle, and has been fermenting red cabbage into delightfully sour and crunchy Sauerkraut - a new addition to the Mezze platter - A selection of fresh and vibrant, Middle Eastern inspired salads.

Chloe Sauerkrout
Head Chef Chloe, with her Sauerkraut

Chloe enjoyed a a successful opening night for Night Times in the Jungle on Saturday 21st April. Find out more about Saturday Nights in the Cafe here. 
Restaurant Urban Jungle Suffolk

Meet Chloe, in seven bite-size chunks...

How’s your first week been so far Chloe?
Great first day! Lots to learn from the menu, processes, and where everything is kept. It’s always hard being the ‘newby’.

What do you really love to cook at home when you have the time?
Sharing food. I’m not about fussy, fine dining. I’m into beautiful, rustic and homely food. Food that makes people happy.

What’s your ‘death-row’ meal?
It has to be a block of butter and loaf of French bread. I just couldn't justify eating an entire block of butter at any other time!

What do you love to listen to?
Rock, alternative rock, metal, as far from Ed Sheeran as possible....

What do you like to do in your spare time…?
Cook, ferment, festivals, gigs and spending lots of time cuddling my amazing cat Darius.

Guilty pleasure…?
Dawson’s Creek! I’ve just started re-watching it…. Some of the characters are pretty embarrassing.

What’re you most looking forward to within your new role at Urban Jungle Suffolk?
Getting to play with all of the amazing home grown vegetables...

The Cafe at Urban Jungle is open everyday from 10am for brunch. Lunch is served from Midday until 4pm, and the Cafe closes at 4.30. On Saturday Nights, the Cafe opens at 6pm for drinks, and serves food from 7pm. Book a table on 01502 558103 or book your table.

Find out more about Urban Jungle https://www.urbanjungle.uk.com/aboutsuffolk.asp

Read the Night Times at Urban Jungle press release here

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