The Assembly House in Norwich has been named winner of the Food/Drink Experience Award, sponsored by Chestnut Group, at the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2023.

The Assembly House is a Georgian gem located in the heart of the city. Owners Richard Hughes and Iain Wilson set out to create the kind of establishment they’d love to find in one of the UK’s most beautiful cities. 

With a restaurant that opens daily for breakfast and before-noon tea, lunch or one of its famous themed afternoon teas, the House hosts weddings, events and conferences, and is the home of The Richard Hughes Cookery School, the inaugural winner of The British Cookery School of the Year.

The judges said The Assembly House has an “amazing commitment to the food and beverage experience” and praised the “impressive staff culture and longevity within the team”. 

Richard Hughes said: “Receiving a Norfolk Food & Drink Award from peers who understand the industry and what it takes to be successful is a real honour and one we never take for granted. 

“We are so proud of every element of what we do and we love being part of Norfolk’s vibrant and exciting hospitality family.

“Times are tough for our industry but events such as the awards prove that we are a county filled with talent and inspiration and genuine love for the people we serve.”

Finalist: The Fox at Lyng 

Established in 2014 by Victoria and Gavin Hunt, The Fox is located in the Wensum Valley, popular with tourists, walkers, anglers as well as locals. 

It really is a pub which ticks all boxes. Renowned for its great food and drinks as well as the incredibly busy weekly summer events such as Street Food Mondays and Live Music Fox Fridays. 

The judges said The Fox stood out for its “early and innovative approach to collaborating with street food pop ups” as well as its “impressive support of small local businesses”.

Finalist: The Smokehouse Ormesby 

This southern style American diner has been open since September 2018 and has already established itself as one of the region’s go-to family smokehouse restaurants. 

The Smokehouse offers a range of in-house smoked meals using its signature recipe rubs. This insures that its succulent joints are packed full of flavour.

The judges were impressed by the attention to detail and said the restaurant and equipment “show a real authenticity throughout”. 

They also praised the “strong and obviously close-knit team”, which promotes a good 
working environment.

To find out more about all the winners, please click here.

For more information on the Norfolk Food and Drink Awards, please visit