'An incredible achievement' - City restaurant wins at national awards

Harvey Shaw, chef de partie, Isaac Evans, demi chef de partie, Essa Baldex, sous chef, Fox Fraser, c

Harvey Shaw, chef de partie, Isaac Evans, demi chef de partie, Essa Baldex, sous chef, Fox Fraser, chef de partie, Richard Bainbridge, owner, Louis Bailey, assistant restaurant manager, and Sam Wegg, production chef, celebrating Benedicts winning a national award. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A city restaurant has clinched the top prize in its category at a national food award.

Benedicts was named as Restaurant of the Year East at the Food Awards England 2022, beating off competition from other local favourites like Jorges and Middletons.

Chef patron Richard Bainbridge said it was "an incredible achievement" that helps cement the fine city's position as a foodie destination.

Benedicts wins Restaurant of the Year East at Food Awards England 2022

Benedicts' head chef Ashley Williamson and restaurant manager Luara Santos collecting their award for Restaurant of the Year East at the Food Awards England 2022. - Credit: Oceanic Events

He said: "What an incredible achievement for our independently owned restaurant to win this award.

"Our staff work so hard so it is lovely to get national praise and recognition for everyone's efforts.

"Everything we can do to put Norwich on the map as a foodie city is paramount to us.

"Over the past seven years, it has really grown into a destination with so many fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes. 

"A win for us is a win for all of the other hospitality businesses in the city."

Fox Fraser, chef de partie, Essa Baldex, sous chef, Richard Bainbridge, owner, Louis Bailey, assista

Fox Fraser, chef de partie, Essa Baldex, sous chef, Richard Bainbridge, owner, Louis Bailey, assistant restaurant manager, Sam Wegg, production chef, Isaac Evans, demi chef de partie, and Harvey Shaw, chef de partie, celebrating Benedicts winning a national award. - Credit: Danielle Booden

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Having honed his culinary talents at award-winning restaurants across the globe, Mr Bainbridge returned to his hometown of Norwich and started Benedicts with his wife Katja in June 2015.

That same year he also gained national attention after winning BBC Two's Great British Menu and his restaurant team have gone on to achieve several accolades.

The seventh Food Awards England ceremony was held on Monday, June 6, at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel.

The awards celebrate the nation's food professionals and the winners are chosen by the public.

A look inside the award-wining Benedicts restaurant in St Benedicts Street, Norwich

A look inside the award-wining Benedicts restaurant in St Benedicts Street, Norwich - Credit: Benedicts

Mr Bainbridge added: "Our head chef Ashley Williamson and restaurant manager Luara Santon went along to the event in our honour. 

"They do everything alongside myself and Katja so it was a treat for them to go instead.

"They kept us up-to-date with who had won what and when our category was finally announced they let us know straight away."

Benedicts was not the only food business to achieve success.

Wells Crab House Seafood Restaurant in Wells-next-the-Sea was named the Best Seafood Establishment in West Midlands.

Other award-winning restaurants in Norwich

Benedicts has certainly won lots of accolades but it is not alone in being recognised as among the best places to eat in the country.

Travel company Trip Advisor crowned Tipsy Vegan, in St Benedicts Street, as one of the best vegan spots in the UK in 2021.

It was named "Best of the Best" in its annual Traveller's Choice awards.

Spice Valley in Magdalen Street proved a hit at the English Curry Awards 2021 and walked away having won the Best Customer Service category.

Dhaba at Fifteen also won at the English Curry Awards in 2019, and was named Street Food Restaurant of the Year.

If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a cocktail or two, you would do well to visit Chambers Cocktail Company in Wensum Street.

It was named Best Cocktail Bar in the UK in 2020 by retail firm Misguided.  

A number of restaurants in the city are also included in the Michelin Guide 2022, which lists Benedicts, Benoli, Farmyard and Roger Hickman's.