History on the menu of Moveable Feast

Rachel Buller After its success last year the Heritage Moveable Feast is back, writes Rachel Buller, giving diners the unique chance to sample fine food in some of Norwich’s most fascinating historic buildings.

Rachel Buller

Since it first began in 1999, Norwich's gastronomic experience - the Moveable Feast - has become a permanent and very popular fixture on the Norfolk calendar.

Last year for the first time, a second event was launched to further promote the city's food scene and to coincide with the Heritage Open Days events, where thousands of notable properties across the country open up to the public.

The Heritage Moveable Feast proved so successful that organisers are doing it all again this year which means people will get the chance to enjoy a dining experience with a difference in three of Norwich's most beautiful and historically important buildings - Dragon Hall, the Grade 1 listed medieval trading hall built in 1430 by Robert Toppes; The Great Hospital, founded in 1249 by Bishop Walter de Suffield and The Assembly House, a Grade 1 Georgian House.

Not only that, but the bright red City Sightseeing double-decker buses will ferry diners from venue to venue between courses.

The event on September 11 will be followed by the traditional Moveable Feast on October 14 which once again will include around 20 eateries around the city.

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Both events will be particularly poignant this year, after the death of founder Lloyd Addison at the weekend after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Mr Addison, a former Labour County Councillor and leading restaurateur was the driving force behind the Moveable Feast when he launched it in 1999. He wanted to raise the profile of Norwich's growing restaurant scene and in the very first year, his determination saw more than 600 diners enjoying the culinary variety of nearly 30 different eateries.

It was his idea to do a second moveable feast linked in with the Heritage Open Days, combining his passion for food with his fascination with the city's history.

Stephanie Potts, general manager of Dragon Hall, said: “Lloyd approached us about doing the Heritage Moveable Feast and we thought it was a great idea. It wouldn't have happened without him, what I will always remember about him is his passion, not just for food but for local history.

“It is something really different, dining in these wonderful historic venues, and it attracts people who might not normally visit. And the menus for each place are meant to give a flavour of the history of the buildings in which they are served,” she said.

“Last year's was a real learning curve, but actually it went really well and we are really excited about this year. There will be around 180 diners split into three groups, each having a starter, main and dessert in one of the three venues so you get a course in each of them. Listening to the feedback, one of the highlights for many people last year was the chance to get the double-decker bus between courses.”

The proceeds from the events will go to the Parkinson's Disease Society. The menus include Norfolk game terrine, Braised silverside of beef with Norfolk dumplings, Sweet cured herring served with a potato, crisp bacon & Waldorf salad and Bramley apple and cinnamon pie with fresh vanilla custard.

At this year's usual Moveable Feast in October, all 600 feasters will start in The Forum for a complimentary drink and a greeting from the city crier before picking up their maps and setting off for dinner.

Starter, main course and dessert will each be eaten in three different restaurants all offering different types of food, from traditional British to fine dining, Japanese to Indian. The evening will end with a party at The Forum.

t Tickets are still available for the Heritage Moveable Feast priced £38 and the Moveable Feast in October for £30. Call 01603 617269 for more information. Tickets are also available from the three venues for the Heritage Feast. For details of the menus at each venue and information about the different routes see: www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk; www.dragonhall.org; www.greathospital.org.uk.