'Completely blown away' - City restaurant in running to be named UK's best

Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts has sold out of his gourmet ready meals. Pic: Archant

Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts - Credit: Archant

The head chef of a Norwich restaurant has said he is "completely blown away" after being nominated for the regional section of an award for the UK's best restaurant.

Benedicts, on the city's St Benedict's Street, has been nominated for Restaurant of the Year at Food Awards England 2022.

The restaurant will first compete against local competition in the East region, including Jorge's Restaurant and Middletons in the city, where if it is successful it will then compete against other regional winners to be crowned the best in the country.

Following the nomination, Benedicts head chef and owner Richard Bainbridge, said: "I'm completely blown away by being voted best restaurant, I think the best thing about this is that it's voted for by the general public.

"So it's voted for by people who come to the restaurant and see the hard work that staff do.

"Because especially over the last few years, I think that a restaurant is there so that for a couple of hours people can forget about the world and be treated like a king or a queen."

He said it would mean a lot for the restaurant to win the award, which he said would be a great way to recognise the hard work of his team during a time when the industry was struggling.

Mr Bainbridge added: "After the last couple of years this would mean everything to us.

"We are a small independent restaurant in the heart of Norwich city centre with an incredibly passionate team for the hospitality industry.

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"When the hospitality industry has been suffering so hard over the last few years it would just be the icing on the cake and a great pat on the back for everybody who has stepped forwards and worked a day for Benedicts.

"Without them we wouldn't even have a restaurant."

Also nominated is Jorge's Restaurant, in Orford Place, whose owner Jorge Santos said it was 'amazing' to be nominated just three years after opening.

While the manager of Timber Hill steakhouse Middletons, Lauren Stanley, joked she 'thought it was a prank' when the nomination arrived.

The winner of the Restaurant of the Year award will be decided at an awards ceremony in Manchester on June 6.