Fine dining restaurant unveils new kitchen worth £70k

Steve Watkin, head chef, and Roger Hickman, chef proprietor, at Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich

Steve Watkin, head chef, and Roger Hickman, chef proprietor, in the new kitchen at Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

A city centre restaurant has reopened boasting a shiny new top-of-the-range kitchen worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Roger Hickman's in Upper St Giles Street has been closed since the start of January for the facelift, estimated to have cost over £70,000.

A bold - and expensive - move as the hospitality sector has been hard-hit by the pandemic, the restauranteur said: "This restaurant has really thrived.

Roger Hickman, chef proprietor at Roger Hickman's restaurant on Upper St Giles in Norwich. Picture:

Roger Hickman, chef proprietor at Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

"The restaurant itself was entirely refurbished in 2015, but the kitchen has been here a long time.

"It's pretty small for a restaurant of this size. It depends on the table layout but we have between 35 and 40 covers, so it's pretty intimate.

"The kitchen's always been next on the list of things to do but then along came Covid and we didn't trade for 11 months. 

"When we reopened, the kitchen refurbishment was top of the list. It's a £70,000 investment, £60,000 of which has gone on our new range.

The new kitchen at Roger Hickman's restaurant on Upper St Giles in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The new £70,000 kitchen at Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich. The range (pictured) cost £60,000 - Credit: Danielle Booden

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"We stripped the kitchen right back to the plaster and the kitchen's been entirely ripped out. We've lined the walls, it's been a huge job and we've done it in a month."

He added: "We're a week late in reopening which in the grand scheme of things isn't that bad but we're back open today.

"It's a huge investment of a restaurant of this size."

Back in November, the restaurant was given a one-star food hygiene rating three weeks before the expensive refit, which owner Mr Hickman said was "really unfortunately timed".

Roger Hickman's restaurant on Upper St Giles in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

He said: "It's now completely modern.

"We'll be seeking an early reinspection and I'm pretty confident that we'll get a good rating back.

"These things happen and people have been quite understanding about it. Customers who know the restaurant recognise that it wasn't really a judgement of what was to come.

"We've been voted one of the most romantic places to eat in the country, we've been in the Michelin guide, we've made the Times top 100 - and this will help us bounce back.

Roger Hickman's restaurant on Upper St Giles in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Roger Hickman's restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

"Had they come next week, they would've seen a shiny new kitchen and gone 'Wow!'

"It's one of those things."