It’s time to give your tastebuds a mystery tour of Norwich’s independent restaurants, says Victoria Leggett, as the popular Moveable Feast returns to the city

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When hundreds of diners spent an evening wandering around Norwich from restaurant to restaurant last September, most would have been focused on what their next course would be.

But, unbeknown to them, 2011’s Moveable Feast participants were also helping to raise a record amount of money for the event’s chosen charity, Parkinson’s UK.

And, having collected an impressive £8,500 in just one evening last year, organisers are quietly hoping the generosity of Norfolk’s food lovers and local businesses could this time help them surpass even that.

Since Lloyd Addison launched the Moveable Feast in Norwich 13 years ago, the popular event has raised many thousands of pounds for Parkinson’s UK.

The feast, which is once again part of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, in association with Norfolk County Council, sees hundreds of diners eating a different course of their meal in three different independent restaurants around the city.

It is now so popular that dozens of diners had already sign up for 2012 by the end of last year’s event to make sure they did not miss out.

Nick De’ath, who organises the Moveable Feast alongside Lloyd’s widow, Cynthia Addison, says: “Nearly every year we have regulars who will straightaway leave a message on Cynthia’s phone saying they want to come again next year.

“We have a really hard-core group of followers who come along and embrace it for what it is – a really great night in some really great restaurants.”

Long-standing Moveable Feast supporters including Figaro’s, Brasted’s, which takes over Dragon Hall, and St Benedict’s Brasserie will once again host courses for the diners this year.

And among the new restaurants taking part are The Iron House and 20 St John’s, both on Saint John Maddermarket, and Lam Thai, on Upper St Giles Street.

The Moveable Feast is now so popular among restaurateurs, organisers have a waiting list of venues.

City publican Nick, who runs The Lawyer and Unthank Arms, says: “Unfortunately there just isn’t a place for everyone. We like to try to have a variety of restaurants so it’s not the same kind of dining for everyone.

“This year we have got everything from fine dining to British bistro and Asian food.”

In its early years, the feast’s main aim was to raise the profile of Norwich’s independent restaurants and support budding young chefs at City College, with any spare funds being donated to Parkinson’s UK.

But since Lloyd’s death in 2008, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, the money raised for the charity has increased considerably.

From about £2,500 in 2008, it had reached £5,800 by 2010 ahead of last year’s hugely successful event.

Cynthia says the big jump in the fundraising total was thanks to the support of both the diners and local businesses.

The Moveable Feast is now sponsored by Cozens-Hardy Solicitors with a number of other companies also lending their support meaning even more of the ticket sales goes to the charity.

Cynthia says: “The printing of the tickets is being done free of charge. Adnams are going to give us a glass of fizz for everyone at the start of the evening free of charge. We’re also got the use of the Forum free of charge for everyone to start off from.

“All of those things really add up. People have been very generous with what they have given. Fingers crossed, if we get the same sort of numbers as we did last year, with people’s generosity we should be able to add a significant amount more.”

Philippa Rudd, the company’s marketing principal, says: “We are delighted to sponsor the Moveable Feast for a second year. The event raised a staggering £8,500 last year for Parkinson’s UK – a record for the event – and we hope to push that total higher still. As a firm we have worked with many generations of Norfolk- based farming families and firms and we celebrate the fact that Norfolk is now one of the UK’s leading foodie destinations.

“The Moveable Feast is a terrific way to showcase the city’s impressive restaurant scene, while helping to raise vital funds for Parkinson’s UK.”

Lloyd Addison’s Moveable Feast, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, takes place on September 25 from 6pm to 11pm.

To book tickets call Cynthia on 01603 617269 or go to www.moveablefeastnorwich.org for more information.

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