Chef reopens historic Norwich coffee shop with roasts on the menu too

Chef Richard Ellis has taken on the Britons Arms in Elm Hill, Norwich. 

Chef Richard Ellis has taken on the Britons Arms in Elm Hill, Norwich. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

A chef has taken on the Britons Arms in Norwich and he is hoping to build on the success of two sisters who ran it for more than 40 years.

Richard Ellis, 42, reopened the business on the corner of Elm Hill on November 29 this year. 

Before that, it had been closed for a year after its previous tenants and siblings Gilly Mixer and Sue Skipper decided to retire.

Richard Ellis previously worked in restaurants around north Norfolk. 

Richard Ellis previously worked in restaurants around north Norfolk. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

During lockdown, Mr Ellis worked at The Redwell Vault Pizzeria in Trowse and before that at restaurants in north Norfolk including The Wells Crab House and The Ship in Brancaster.

He has been careful not to alter the winning formula that kept the business thriving with the sisters at the helm and there will still be a range of teas and coffees, sausage rolls, sandwiches, toasties and soup.

However, he is adding his own touch with a range of small plates such as cured venison, beer and mustard rarebit and potted crab.

Customers are happy they can visit the Britons Arms once more after it was closed for a year. 

Customers are happy they can visit the Britons Arms once more after it was closed for a year. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

There will always be a heartier dish available too, which is currently pulled lamb belly, Jerusalem artichoke and celeriac stew.

There are also cooked breakfasts and Sunday roasts, with one meat and a vegan option each week for the latter.

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Mr Ellis said: "We've tried to stay pretty much true to what was here before as part of what made it was its sense of history and it is an iconic building.

A Sunday roast from the Britons Arms in Norwich. 

A Sunday roast from the Britons Arms in Norwich. - Credit: Instagram @britons_arms

"The people who ran it before had such a pedigree and they had run it so consistently.

"If something has worked that well for so long then it is something people want - taking that away from people seems mean." 

The building was built in the 14th century and was taken on by the Norwich Preservation Trust in 2011, which embarked on an extensive restoration project.

Mr Ellis is delighted to be a part of the thriving community of independent businesses in Elm Hill.

The counter is packed with treats including breakfast rolls, sausage rolls and cakes. 

The counter is packed with treats including breakfast rolls, sausage rolls and cakes. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

He added: "We have had a really nice reaction from other businesses who have popped in for a coffee to find out what we are up to." 

The Britons Arms is open 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 3.30pm on Sundays - pre-booking is advised for roasts on Instagram @britons_arms