A must-visit if you’re anywhere near Norwich, this local institution and bastion of the city’s restaurant scene has enjoyed a serious revival thanks to Richard Bainbridge – formerly head chef at Michelin-starred Morston Hall and a familiar face on TV’s Great British Menu.
The interior still has that familiar bistro look and cosy ambience (inherited from its days as the old St Benedict’s Restaurant), but the cooking has moved up several gears since Bainbridge’s arrival, with lots of thrilling modern ideas now on show alongside some nostalgic revivals gleaned from the annals of British cookery.
Doughty home-grown flavours shine brightly, although there are plenty of fashionable twists and beautifully crafted ideas along the way: pot roasted guinea fowl with pistachio rice, coffee roasted carrots and shellfish bisque; celeriac mousse terrine with baby onions, young leeks, carrot purèe and wild garlic sauce; ex Fen Farm dairy cow aged sirloin with roasted celeriac and truffle mousse; or hake clam chowder with broad beans and courgette. After that, take a trip down memory lane with the ever-popular ‘Nanny Bush’s trifle’ with milk jam (a winning dish on aforementioned Great British Menu), or plump for a plate of five different cheeses with seasonal chutney and homemade crackers. While not cheap at £39 for three courses, in reality it represents excellent value for money when you consider the quality of meal you’ll get for your hard-earned cash.
Service is unobtrusive but attentive, and if you find yourself hankering for a piece of the experience to take home, fear not: you can buy home-branded gin, pale ale and even mugs that feature the famous trifle (Nanny Bush must be proud).
With a whole slew of accolades – including featuring on the Michelin guide, being awarded AA rosettes, and having made the cut for our top 100 restaurants previously – this unassuming spot in the east of the country gets pretty booked up. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your table, before someone else pinches the spot that was meant to be yours.