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Norwich restaurant wins praise from renowned food critic

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:39 23 March 2020

Hannah Springham and her husband Andrew Jones pictured at their restaurant, Farmyard on St Benedicts Street. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hannah Springham and her husband Andrew Jones pictured at their restaurant, Farmyard on St Benedicts Street. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A world-renowned food critic has given a restaurant in Norwich a nod of approval.

Spelt & wild leek ‘risotto’, with chargrilled leekat Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily RevellSpelt & wild leek ‘risotto’, with chargrilled leekat Farmyard Restaurant. Photo by Emily Revell

Jay Rayner, a restaurant critic at The Observer, visited Farmyard on St Benedicts Street and wrote a review in the Sunday paper.

In it, Rayner, who is also a judge on Masterchef, described the restaurant as ambitious, noting their global menu, and said ‘for the most part it works.’

Farmyard restaurant in Norwich was praised by Jay Rayner in a review for The Observer. Credit: Simon Finlay PhotographyFarmyard restaurant in Norwich was praised by Jay Rayner in a review for The Observer. Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

Before dining, Rayner was open about his reservations due to the diverse offerings but concluded it was a restaurant we could all do with.

The review started: “Reading the menu makes me feel like one of those parents standing in the wings during the auditions for Britain’s Got Talent, watching my kids, Ant and Dec’s hands lightly on my shoulders for moral support. I am desperate for the kitchen to succeed.

“This is a grossly patronising thing to say to a crew of experienced chefs. But the menu is so ambitiously all over the place, is such a random, swooping collection of dishes, I can’t quite help myself.”

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The review summed up: “It is for restaurant goers who are happy to give the kitchen permission to try just a little harder and attempt just a little more. And really, couldn’t we all do with a restaurant like that?”

From the menu Rayner ate salt and pepper squid, ham egg and chips, spicy carrot wonton, shredded brassicas, a potato terrine, a roasted chicken leg with a deep-fried wing on a truffle purée and chicken jus as well as a vegetable ramen.

For dessert he tried a white chocolate bar which he described as a ‘re-engineered snickers bar.’ A steamed ginger pudding was likened to a ‘gentle all-in-one hug and back rub.’

A return visited could also be on the cards, in the review Rayner said: “I could imagine myself back here trying their version of a multi-layered mole poblano with BBQ lamb and blue corn tacos, just to see whether they could actually pull it off, or the roast hake with paprika chickpea stew.”

Farmyard, a bistronomy restaurant, was opened by Hannah Springham and Andrew Jones in 2017 but is currently closed due to coronavirus.

Mr Jones previously spent 12 years of working in high-end London restaurants for Michelin starred chefs such as Richard Corrigan and Claude Bosi.

The couple also bought The Dial House in Reepham from Iain Wilson in 2018.

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