Fire pit restaurant opens in Burnham Market
PUBLISHED: 12:48 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:13 27 February 2018
Twenty9 has its own butchery and is cooking locally-sourced meat over flames.
It seems like Burnham Market is the place to be at the moment with not one, but two restaurants having flung open their doors for the first time in recent weeks.
There’s been a lot of hype around small plate concept eatery Socius, which opened at the weekend, but have you also heard of Twenty9?
Chef Phil Milner (of Shuck’s at the Yurt, Drove Orchards) has joined forces with a local businessman to bring a truly original dining experience to north Norfolk.
The Grade II listed building is slick and cool, boasting a central wood burner in the lounge, unique lighting, a profusion of copper, leather, wood and exposed brick, and, most excitingly, an open kitchen where you can see the magic of fire come alive.
“I got approached by Tim Roberts who owns the building,” says Phil. “He’s a property developer and asked me if I wanted to have a crack at the restaurant. I was pretty busy at the Yurt but I thought Burnham Market would be a good location for me, and it’s gone from there. We now have 10 chefs, a large butchery section and a huge fire pit.”
Alongside the ethos of using local meats, fish and vegetables, the biggest attraction of this place has to be the fire pit, with Phil travelling to New York on a research mission before opening, learning how to use this impressive piece of kit in the best way, imbuing meat and fish with the unmistakeable aroma of char and smoke.
“The fire pit’s a real showcase for us. We do a lot of cooking on there. It’s like an intense barbecue but it’s all on winches so you can have it as high or low as you want. You’re essentially cooking over the embers, which gives an intense flavour.”
Only prime cuts make it onto the fire pit, all from the restaurant’s own in-house butchery, which allows Phil to keep costs down. For example, he says, cote de beouf could cost £60 in some restaurants, but the ability at Twenty9 to take in a whole animal, break it down themselves, and hang it in the dry age fridges, removes the middle man – and a lot of expense. The same cut here is just £38.
Beef is all from Norfolk (either Dexter or Dangus – a mix of Dexter and Angus), pork is from Tim Allen, and chicken and duck is from Goosnargh.
This is far from being a typical steak grill joint, however. There’s a sense of fun and experimentation in the menu, which will breathe fresh air into the local dining scene.
South Creake pork belly, for example is served with pineapple carpaccio, crispy pig’s head terrine and tempura soft shell crab. The kitchen smokes its own salmon and serves it with poached lobster, fennel jelly, cucumber juice, honey, apple and lemon balm. And there’s a bento box (meat, fish or vegetables) with kimchi, crispy won tons and Japanese pickles.
In the middle there’s a steer towards meat and fish, with beef, pork, bacon and black cod coming hot off the fire pit, served with your choice of butter or sauce. Lager and lime battered fish of the day arrives with pease pudding, crab tartar, burnt lime and triple cooked chips. And there’s the ultimate mixed grill, made up of rump steak, homemade beef and pork sausages, boneless chicken leg, home-cured bacon, mushroom, tomato, egg and triple cooked chips.
But vegetarians are well catered for too. Check out barbecued smoked squash ravioli with preserved lemon ricotta.
And the desserts are set to be off-the-charts good. Think ‘After Eight’ (parfait, mint moss, white mint ice cream and truffle), and old fashioned sticky toffee pudding with rum chocolate nemesis, banana sorbet, salted caramel sauce and Caramac.
The restaurant is open all day for food and welcomes children (who have their own menu) and even dogs.
An exciting element of the offering is the bolstering breakfast, available from 8.30am. “It’s all homemade,” says Phil of the restaurant’s take on a full English. “Homemade sausage meat loaf and bacon, our own baked beans, roasted tomato, field mushroom, a potato soufflé and Fruit Pig black pudding!”
That’s not to mention the array of cocktails and list of more than 100 rums!
“It’s been a lot of work but I’m really happy. We have an amazing team.”