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.
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.
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.
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.
7 St James’s Parade,
Noya’s Tips for Bath Visitors