Housebound food lovers snap up fine dining New Year's Eve treats

Man in black t shirt outside farm shop

'Hospitality pays the price: Owner of the Blofield farm shop as well as the Oak bar and terrace, Marcus Pearcey on having to stay closed for New Year's Eve. - Credit: Archant

Restaurants across Norfolk are selling out of posh ready meals as people resign themselves to staying in on December 31.

But business owners say sales only account for 10pc of what they would take on what is usually the busiest night of the year.  

face of chef

Oliver Boon, who runs Benoli restaurant. - Credit: Archant

Oliver Boon, who runs Benoli Italian restaurant in Orford Street, Norwich, has sold out of £50 New Year's Eve meals, including crab bisque soup and venison. 

He said: "I do all the labour myself. We have sold all 40 meals and the truth is that this is not enough to keep us ticking along, but I've done it to get some money coming in and to keep our name out there."

meal of steak, potatoes and vegetables

A fine culinary 'dine at home' meal for New Year's Eve from Benoli. - Credit: Benoli

Marcus Pearcey, who runs the Oak Bar and Terrace, in Yarmouth Road, Norwich, has also shifted all of his high-end 'Dine with Blofield' meal boxes ranging from a beef wellington for £8 to an 'ultimate steak dinner for two' for £44.95.

He said: "Sadly it doesn't make up for losing one of our busiest nights and the entire Christmas period. Once again hospitality pays the price to keep our community safe and we receive very little compensation."

steak, vegetables and salad

One of the sold out meal boxes from the Blofield farm shop and Oak bar and terrace, owned by Marcus Pearcey. - Credit: Marcus Pearcey

Iain McCarten, who runs the Last Brasserie, in St George's Street, Norwich, also has no New Year's Eve meals left.

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His six course special for £32.50 a head includes miso-cured salmon followed by oxtail and oyster pie. 

But he spent Christmas dealing with flooding of the restaurant. "It felt like the year couldn't get any worse, we had a massive flood, the biggest I'd ever seen. The whole of our downstairs was flooded, some areas your foot was completely under water." 

someone mopping flooded floor

Iain McCarten mopping up at the Last Brasserie, which was flooded over Christmas. - Credit: Iain McCarten

John Potter, owner of Potters resort in Hopton-on-Sea, said it was 'heartbreaking" to have to stay closed. "The resort is silent and empty and it's heart-breaking.

man at resort

John Potter, of Potters resort, having to stay closed this New Year's Eve. - Credit: Archant

"As you walk around the cold, dark building you realise it's the community that makes Potters special. 

"Next year is going to be huge, the vaccine will stop this horrible virus and the resort will welcome back the community for some amazing memories to be made again."

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