Norwich’s thriving food and drinks scene includes a wide range of contemporary British and international restaurants. In 2015 one of the most exciting chefs in Britain joined this lively community when Richard Bainbridge left his role as head chef at Norfolk’s Michelin-starred restaurant Morston Hall to open Benedicts, a 30-seat bistro in the city centre. Benedicts has already set a new standard for creativity and quality of dining in the city.
At the same time as opening a new restaurant, Richard and his wife Katja have given the city a new way to enjoy fine dining – by making it accessible. Richard explains that their idea was: “to create a restaurant that we wished existed for our days off. We were quite selfish in our ideas and planning, but after being open a short time we realised other people enjoyed the same ethos of great food in a relaxed environment, where enjoying each other’s company became centre stage.”
The imaginative and detailed approach that has earned him industry accolades is relatively unusual in Norwich. This hasn’t concerned him, however, as he sees customers: “gaining trust” in his menus and allowing themselves to try new things. His success on the reality TV cooking competition The Great British Menu has also helped: “Since winning The Great British Menu, which was a great personal achievement for myself, it naturally has become a talking point, with the winning dishes on the menu here at Benedicts.”
NUA Course Administrator Rachel Catto loved Benedicts even before this seal of public approval had been given: “ The food is genuinely exciting to eat. Some things on the menu have to be seen – and eaten – to be believed. I can’t think of anywhere else in Norwich where the food is this creative and sophisticated. And it’s a welcoming place. The service makes you feel relaxed about asking questions, taking recommendations and feeling like you belong there.”
Luckily preparations for Benedicts’ grand opening weren’t yet under way when Richard was taking part in The Great British Menu. Although, he says he’d: “like to take credit for being able to juggle the two.” By the time the restaurant opened filming was over, and he could get on with the day to-day responsibilities of running his highly successful new business.
Find out more about Benedicts www.restaurantbenedicts.com
Rachel and Richard at Benedicts