Top chef has high hopes for Norwich café

PUBLISHED: 08:58 03 February 2011

Cafe manager Jonathan Curtis has high hopes for the King of Hearts in Norwich

Cafe manager Jonathan Curtis has high hopes for the King of Hearts in Norwich

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A well-known city-centre gallery and café is to reopen this month with a leading chef in charge of its catering.

The King of Hearts was forced to close on December 24, after losing its fight for funding. But after being taken over by the Anteros Arts Foundation, based in Bergh Apton, it has been saved for the city. The café is opening on Valentine’s Day, while the gallery will be ready for February 26.

The café will be under the management of experienced restaurateur Jonathan Curtis, who was previously head chef at Delia’s Restaurant and Bar at Norwich City Football Club.

In his 25 years in the catering industry he has also worked as head chef at Sprowston Manor Hotel and at the Greenhouse, in Mayfair, alongside television chef Brian Turner.

He said the emphasis on local ingredients is central to the re-opened King of Hearts café, and would include fresh fish from Howard and Son fishmongers next door, vegetables from west Norwich wholesaler Peter Easter and artisan bread from Pye Baker in Aylsham Road.

Customers will be welcome to come in for anything from breakfast to an early supper. Everything is home-baked and a take-away service will operate for those too busy to stop.

Following the closure of the unique building in December, he hopes to give it a new lease of life.

Mr Curtis, 45, who is married with three children and has lived in Thorpe St Andrew for 15 years, added: “I want a very busy, very successful restaurant and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to run this wonderful location.

“I have many plans for the café, including using the private hire rooms, bringing back weddings to the King of Hearts and eventually sourcing out into things like business-lunch deliveries and champagne lunches with canapés. I am a firm believer in affordability and in this time of recession, I want to use this venue to its full ability.”

The King of Hearts has been a centre of the arts for over 20 years in Norwich and is an important part of the city’s Tudor heritage, with two Norwich mayors among its former owners.

The café will be open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and in addition to the café, Mr Curtis will be offering a outside catering service and event hosting.

For more information contact Mr Curtis on 01603 620805, or visit

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