Norwich bistro named best local restaurant in Good Food Guide 2020
PUBLISHED: 07:43 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:20 10 September 2019
A no-frills bistro in Norwich is toasting to success after being named the best local restaurant in the region in the Good Food Guide 2020.
At first they "stuck out like a sore thumb" in a residential area outside the city centre, but fast forward four years and they are at the heart of the community with their innovative menu, which once included termites.
Woolf & Social in Nelson Street, off Dereham Road, was the brainchild of best mates Felix Rehberg and chef Francis Woolf, and it is inspired by the traditional idea of a social club with all the dishes intended to be shared, with small plates such as ox cheek and bacon and beets with goat's cheese and blood orange.
The Good Food Guide by Waitrose & Partners has announced them as the winner of its annual reader-nominated best local restaurant awards for the eastern and central region, with the winners decided by a panel of experts.
The Good Food Guide says: "We loved this simple restaurant and applaud the owners' courage in opening on the periphery of Norwich in an area with barely any passing trade.
"Their stated aim was to bring life to this part of the city and provide locals with exciting food they could afford, something they've done in spades. You could easily spend just £15 and come away content."
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Mr Woolf said: "It is really humbling and a dream come true as we only opened four years ago and when I was a child my family would use the Good Food Guide to find good restaurants.
"We are in a unique location where, apart from the Fat Cat pub, there isn't much around and we have become part of the neighbourhood.
"When we first opened we stuck out like a sore thumb, but now lots of local people eat with us and our ethos is to make fine dining more affordable and cater for everyone.
"Being a great local restaurant means you need to adapt to the needs of local people and also use quality ingredients you have immediate access too and Norfolk has a plethora of them."
Mr Woolf had only recently moved back to Norwich after working in London for a while and brought many new ingredients to his kitchen, but admits that insects may have been a step too far for the Norfolk palate.
"I'd worked with black ants and termites but I've now taken them off the menu as a lot of people saw it as a gimmick but that wasn't why it was done.
"I see everything that tastes nice as an ingredient and nothing is out of bounds for us - good food is good food."