Cafe Britannia in the Guildhall re-invented into a modern day bistro

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture :

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

The building has been a part of Norwich's history for more than 600 years. But you may not know the hidden gem inside.

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture :

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Bistro Britannia sits inside Norwich Guildhall and has been relaunched with a new menu and up-cycled furnishings bringing the medieval building into the 21st century.

The bistro is a social enterprise that helps offenders get back into employment by offering them a place to work, earn money and build a strong CV before being released.

All profits that are made by the cafe are reinvested into prisoners' bursaries, charity donations and training.

Although the bistro has been open for a while, the 15th century building is grade I-listed, meaning what refurbishment work could be done was limited. But starting gradually, adding a dash of colour with paint and pillows, after six months of work the cafe has now been re-invented with a modern bistro feel.

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture :

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017


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Chief Issac Heffernan, who created the new menu, said: 'I've made subtle changes. We were doing simple jacket potatoes and sandwiches but I'm moving it forward. Keeping it seasonal and fresh with flatbreads for the summer and slow-roasted lamb shoulder with mint yoghurt.

'Before I worked here I walked past the building countless times and I never thought what's inside. We're up against medieval walls, you can't look in, we can't look out.

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'We're going to introduce some outdoor seating towards the market, that will attract people in, it will be nice to have people out there for the summer.'

Work was carried out to the cafe by offenders and ex-offenders, helping them get back working and build a new life.

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture :

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Supervisor Kerri Creasy said: 'Everyone is enjoying it, so hopefully once everyone is aware of it they can all enjoy it.

'We are helping a lot of people by being part of a social enterprise, we are offering more than just a meal, you're contributing towards something real.'

By helping offenders get back into work, those who have been through the Britannia scheme have a re-offending rate of five percent compared to the national average of 46pc.

Operations Manager Adam Davies urging people in the city to support the bistro saying: 'We save the taxpayer in the East of England £10 million [a year] worked out when looking at the average cost of a prisoner.'

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture :

Bistro Britannia Cafe at Guildhall. Head chef Issac Heffernan and supervisor Kerri Creasy. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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