Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2019 winners announced
PUBLISHED: 09:54 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 10 September 2019
Copyright Simon Finlay 2019
Here are the people and businesses named the best in the county this year.
Hundreds of members of the local food and drink scene gathered at OPEN in Norwich last night where the annual Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards took place.
Headline sponsored by the East of England Co-op, the event began with a drinks reception and a delicious three course meal provided by Julie Abbs Catering.
Afterwards the evening's host David Whiteley of BBC Radio Norfolk took to the stage to commence proceedings, with 14 businesses and individuals from across the county honoured.
Eat editor Charlotte Smith-Jarvis said: "What a fantastic night. There was such a fabulous atmosphere in the room, and it was wonderful (as ever) to bring together so many people from the industry, all in one place, celebrating their successes. What I love about our awards is how they can shine a light not only on large businesses, but also on those smaller restaurants, cafes, pubs and producers, giving them deserved recognition and helping to raise their profile in the wider food and drink arena.
"The people of Norfolk are lucky to have so many amazing places to eat and drink on the doorstep, and to have access to truly some of the country's most delicious ingredients. I was delighted last night to raise a glass to them all. We must also say a huge thank you to the awards sponsors for every category, and to the businesses who provided the finishing touches to the ceremony, from La Belle Flowers, who provided the centrepieces, to Booker and Macro for prosecco and wine and Woodforde's for beer, as well as everyone who donated treats for our coveted goodie bags.
"Without further ado...here are the winners."
Field to Fork, sponsored by Easton & Otley College
Winner: Swannington Farm to Fork
Finalists: Algy's Farm Shop, Dereham, Old Hall Farm, Woodton, Norton's Dairy, Frettenham
Judges were impressed with the sustainability of Swannington Farm to Fork. The business is producing an outstanding product and has a vision for the future with very impressive environmental credentials. Swannington Farm to Fork has some good links to the community.
Best Coffee/Tea Shop, sponsored by Norfolk Magazine
Winner: The Sitting Room, Sheringham
Finalists: Crepes and Cakes, Cromer, Lime Kiln Kitchen, Thetford, The Willows Cafe Bistro, Drayton
The Sitting Room has a large outside seating area, which is nicely shaded by parasols and a charming and quirky interior with mixed comfy seating next to an adjoining art gallery. The staff are friendly and attentive. The breakfast and lunch menu has something for everyone, with a good mix of home-made or house prepared food and a good measure of local produce is used. The Sitting Room is open seven days a week.
Best Afternoon Tea, sponsored by Castlemeadow Care
Winner: The Crown Lodge Hotel, Outwell
Finalists: The Dial House, Reepham, The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich, The Norfolk Mead, Coltishall
The judges were greeted nicely and guided to a table in the lounge area. The table setting was pristine and the server was pleasant without being intrusive. The afternoon tea menu was impressive in both display and information. The tea arrived in lovely teapots and came with its own description on brewing times for the individual teas. When the cake stand arrived the judges were wowed; the balance of products from sweet to savoury, size and flavours were superb.
Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer, sponsored by EDP
Winner: Back to the Garden, Holt
Finalists: Jarrold, Norwich, Old Hall Farm , Woodton, Walsingham Farms Shop
The whole site - restaurant and retail are works together with beautifully laid-out retail areas, notably the butchery and deli counters. Back to the Garden works closely with suppliers and offers a wide range of local products, and non-local products to give a rounded shopping experience for its customers. It uses a lot of its products in the café which are available in the shop, meaning they showcase and support locally. It also provides a wide deli range for picnics and lunches and caters for different tastes and diets.
Beer Quality Award, sponsored by Woodforde's Brewery
Winner: The Norfolk Lurcher, Colton
Finalists: The Kings Arms, Shouldham, The Railway Tavern, Poringland, The White Horse Inn, Neatishead
Local beers where available and the team were extremely knowledgeable about not only the beer but the brewery it came from. They had a good process in place when ales were put on, from settling and venting through to tapping and monitoring the quality throughout sale. The cellar was clean, well organised, controlled to the right temperature and had a good rotation system and also a keen attention to detail and process when it came to line cleaning.
Family Dining Award, sponsored by The Resident
Winner: Rani's Indian Dining and Bar, Yaxham
Finalists: Netherton Steakhouse, Long Stratton, Saporita, Norwich, The White Hart, Swaffham
Rani's is a family-owned and run Indian restaurant located in the village of Yaxham. The cousins, who started the business 18 months ago, are proud to be part of this close-knit Breckland community. Their involvement extends to distributing food to the more needy residents in Dereham at different times of the year. The dining area is very spacious with a relaxed atmosphere and a warm, friendly service. Comfortable seating, with wheelchair and pushchair access, the restaurant feels well cared for and very clean. The menu is extensive and food is cooked to order offering authentic family recipes and healthy choices. The judges noticed diners of all ages from children to elderly people on their visit, and everything in between!
Pride of Norfolk, sponsored by Norwich Research Park
Winner: Flint Vineyard, Bungay
Finalists: Bullards Spirits, Norwich, Norfolk Saffron, King's Lynn, Letheringsett Watermill, Holt
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Ben and Hannah Witchell moved to Norfolk with the ambition of making amazing wines. Having studied the best areas in England to plant their vineyard they chose Earsham. With Ben's background in viticulture they are building a fine wine destination, with top wine merchants wanting to stock and market Flint's Norfolk wines. With their superb wines, vineyard tours, lunches produced within a five mile radius and Friday evening wine and music nights they are working hard to expand and develop this exciting business, making south Norfolk an important wine producing area.
Best Newcomer, sponsored by Archant
Winner: Shambles Cafe Bar Bistro, North Walsham
Finalists: Give It Some Beans Coffee, Mattishall, Soul Cafe & Restaurant, King's Lynn, VanVino, Marlingford
Shambles Cafe has a mixture of staff. They train and develop young people and the business has a real family feel. All of the profit is being reinvested; the space is being developed further to provide for events/ community groups. There is a real commitment to North Walsham. The different spaces in the café have a different feel - open modern café, external courtyard and quirky drawing room. The chef and team believe in the café and its ethos.
Home Chef of the Year, sponsored by The Richard Hughes Cookery School
Winner: Chris Payne, Thorpe St Andrew
Finalists: Kate Royall, Ross Cook, Sally Millsopp
The judges were very impressed with Chris at the cook-off; his beef was tender and perfectly cooked. The flavours of the dish were great and worked well together. The soufflé was a great accompaniment to the beef. His dessert of lemon tart was delicious, light, had crisp pastry and a soft creamy lemon filling that was perfectly cooked and at the right temperature; great presentation too. Chris is very confident in the kitchen and highlighted the local ingredients he used very well.
Outstanding Front of House, sponsored by Norwich Accountancy Services
Winner: Brasted's, Framingham Pigot
Finalists: Bishop's Dining Room & Wine Bar, Norwich, The Ingham Swan, The Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross
Brasted's provides an outstanding level of service from an effective team in a busy restaurant. The separate menus to meet dietary requirements provide clear and appropriate information for guests. The personable approach of all members enhances the experience. From the initial welcome to the final farewell, through discussing menu options and dishes with recommendations for drinks and food makes thisa pleasurable experience; the whole team is able to communicate with confidence.
Pub of the Year, sponsored by Foodcare
Winner: The Brisley Bell, Dereham
Finalists: The Hare Arms, Stow Bardolph, The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, The Globe Inn, Wells
This establishment is exceptional, offering a traditional bar with plenty of local ales on tap. The owners, Marcus and Amelia, have spent the last three years renovating the facilities to a very high standard with the bar retaining its character for the locals and those who just want a relaxing drink. Food ingredients for the exciting menu are locally sourced with plenty of seating both inside and alfresco. There are spaces for families. The gardens are beautifully maintained. The judges would highly recommend The Brisley Bell.
Chef of the Year, sponsored by City College Norwich
Winner: Fabio Miani - The Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross
Finalists: Daniel Freear, Strattons Hotel, David Lovett, The Honingham Buck, Sam Rush, Saracen's Head, Wolterton
Fabio demonstrated a range of technical skills with professionalism throughout his application. His working methods were exemplary in the kitchens, displaying his professional behaviour and attitude to his work. His signature dish stood out to all the judges, a visual delight, with exceptionally well cooked and balanced flavours. Fabio's signature dish, which he prepared at the cook off, reflected his Italian roots, presenting his extraordinary broad culinary knowledge cooking with fresh local, seasonal Norfolk produce.
Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Gerald Giles
Winner: Socius, Burnham Market
Finalists: Bishop's Dining Room & Wine Bar, Norwich, Market Bistro, King's Lynn, The Old Bank, Snettisham
The food at Socius was first class with lots of different choices on the menu, all of which were executed to a high standard. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly with a good management team - the owners - who were present. The building itself was very nice and well laid out.
Outstanding Achievement, sponsored by Hansells Solicitors & Financial Advisers
Winner: Nick De'Ath
Nick De'Ath is a food industry expert. A powerhouse behind The Lloyd Addison Moveable Feast and a mentor, encourager and supporter of Norfolk charities. He has been heavily involved in the Hotel School Norwich, developing links between education and industry, and was on the original Norfolk Food Awards steering committee. Nick, with his wife Briony, is also the force behind the De'Ath Hospitality Group. He loves local, from the produce he uses to the communities he cares about. The award reflects the work Nick has done to raise industry standards.