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Critically acclaimed chef to serve 'globally inspired street food' at Norwich pub

PUBLISHED: 08:07 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:52 19 July 2019

From left to right: Kevin Tweedy, owner of Golden Triangle Brewery, Jimmy Preston, owner of XO Kitchen at the Artichoke and Craig Maskell, general manager of the Artichoke pub. Picture: Neil Didsbury

From left to right: Kevin Tweedy, owner of Golden Triangle Brewery, Jimmy Preston, owner of XO Kitchen at the Artichoke and Craig Maskell, general manager of the Artichoke pub. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Get globally inspired street food, natural beer and wine, and even cocktails on tap from the new kitchen and bar at The Artichoke.

The new look Artichoke pub on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe new look Artichoke pub on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Chef Jimmy Preston, whose food critic Jay Rayner called "a damn fine mouthful", has bid adieu to No 1. Cromer, where he worked as head chef for Galton Blackiston for six years, and returned to Norwich where he's going it alone for the first time ever.

Jimmy, whose dishes draw inspiration from travels all over the globe, opens XO Kitchen at The Artichoke on Magdalen Road tomorrow, renting the space from the Golden Triangle Brewery, which purchased the pub last autumn, flinging open the doors in December.

The chef's tantalising menu replaces the series of food trucks which have visited the pub in recent months, and while he and general manager Craig Maskell are keeping their cards close to their chest on most of the dishes, wanting the opening to be a surprise, Jimmy can't resist throwing out a few hints.

"It's good to be back working in Norwich, I live just around the corner!," he says. "I worked here for many years, at The Last Wine Bar and 103 on Unthank Road and I'm kind of planning on doing something similar to what we did there," he says. "It was very globally influenced and that's my ethos really. Small plates, using great ingredients. If I get something in and I can only make eight portions so be it…and onto the next thing. We'll have a lot of Asian influence, so ramen and tacos, but things will keep moving a lot. We won't have a set printed menu. It will evolve. At the moment I'm working on new flatbreads, and developing ice cream sandwiches.

The new look Artichoke pub on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe new look Artichoke pub on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"It's nerve-wracking really, but very exciting."

Craig is delighted to have Jimmy on board and is looking forward to the pub bringing something a bit different to the city. "Me and Jimmy have been planning this for quite a while. We just want to offer something in Norwich that's not really been done. I'm very much into natural beer, wine and cider so people can expect to see a lot of those. We've got a partnership with Flint Vineyard in Earsham who are producing some fantastic English wines. And natural wine is a huge thing in London so I want to do a lot more of that. With beer, we have our own brewery and we'll have 20 lines on for beer and about 80 different bottles and cans from around the country and Europe. Plus, something we've not seen done, is we've got a deal with Metropolis Cocktails who are a Scandinavian brand. The cocktails are served out of the keg…almost like pouring beer!

"The pub's so big and beautiful and we're slowly slowly trying to take it back to what it used to be. We have a very vibrant pub scene here and Jimmy has a large following across the country so the feedback about the opening's been incredible. It's nice to see Jimmy getting out and getting a bit more recognition for himself. He's certainly deserving of it. He works really hard and puts out some very interesting food."

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