Huge investment reflects ‘healthy appetite for quality independent establishments’
A long-awaited private dining room at one of Norwich’s top restaurants has finally been unveiled, following a £500,00 investment and a 16 month renovation.
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant, in Upper St Giles Street in the city, has launched its upstairs dining space, which has one large table seating up to 16 people, as well as its own demonstration kitchen.
The restaurant will offer private dining, small functions and cookery demonstrations in the first floor space, directly above the existing 38-cover, award-winning restaurant.
Having purchased the freehold to the ground floor of the listed building in 2012, Roger Hickman bought the remaining two floors in late 2017, giving space for the private dining room, as well as staff accommodation on the top floor.
Creating the new space has involved a major refurbishment, including a new roof, the installation of a full kitchen to serve the upstairs dining space, and even a bespoke hand-built front window designed to fit in with the numerous listed buildings on the street.
“The new dining room will enable us to offer tables for larger parties, as well as accommodate weddings and private parties, something we were constantly being asked to do,” said Roger Hickman, who opened the restaurant in February 2010.
“Building a second, separate kitchen will also enable us to put on cookery demonstrations, and ensure that we can give a great service to our private diners without compromising what we offer in the main restaurant.
“It is an enormous investment for a small, independent restaurant, but I am confident that in a city largely made up of chain restaurants, there is a healthy appetite for quality, independent establishments.
“The fact that we already have dozens of bookings for the new private dining room would seem to show that this is the case.”
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant has held the prestigious 3 AA Rosette award since 2012, and has also held the same organisation’s ‘Notable Wine List’ award since 2015 – the only restaurant in Norwich to hold the accolade.
Sunday 10th February marks the restaurant’s ninth birthday – quite an achievement in a sector which has seen a huge number of openings and closures during that period.
We opened our doors in February 2010, right in the middle of the biggest recession since the war! We have seen some changes since then, in particular a major refurbishment in 2015 to mark our fifth birthday, but the focus remains as it was at the beginning: top quality food produced by Roger and his team of chefs, and a relaxed, professional ambience created by the front-of-house team.
That we are still here is down to the amazing loyalty of our customers, who keep coming back, and we are extremely grateful to all of you for your continued support.
To mark our ninth birthday, we are offering all our newsletter subscribers a free glass of fizz when they come in for lunch throughout February. Just mention the birthday fizz offer when you come in, and everybody on your table will receive a free glass.
More than a year after we started work on converting upstairs to form a private dining room, we are delighted that it will be officially launched this month.
Seating up to 16 people around one large table, the comfortable room offers a really special atmosphere. It’s available to book every service, whether it’s a wedding reception, special dinner or simply a group of friends who want to enjoy the exclusivity of private dining.
The room also has its own kitchen, and we are planning a series of cookery demonstrations, followed by lunch, to enable you to see for yourself the awesome skills of Roger and his fellow chefs. Watch this space for more details.
If you would like to take a look at the private dining room, please just ask us; we’ll be happy to show you around.
- four partridges
- one chicken leg
- duck fat
- two parsnips
- rape seed oil
- two small or one large black pudding
- 400g maris piper potatoes
- A little chicken stock
Take the legs off the partridges and put them in a pan with the chicken leg. Pour over enough melted duck fat so that the legs are just covered. Cook on a low heat for two to three hours, until the meat is falling off the bones. Remove from the duck fat and allow to cool.
Shred the meat from the partridge legs and chicken leg, removing all skins, bone and cartilage. Season with salt and pepper, and add back in 2 tbsp of duck fat. Press the shredded meat into a plastic container, cover, and put some weights on top to compress the meat. When it comes to serving, reheat the pressed leg meat in the oven at 180°C for ten minutes.
Put a little oil into an oven-proof frying pan, and brown the breasts on the partridge crowns. Once they have some colour, put the partridges on their backs and transfer the pan into the oven at 180°C for six minutes. Once cooked – and they should still be pink in the middle, remove the breasts from the crowns.
Cut one of the parsnips lengthways into quarters, and trim off the woody stalk from the middle. Roast these four pieces in a little oil and butter in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, turning them every five minutes so that each side colours.
Halve the second parsnip and grate finely. Deep fry at 180°C until they are golden brown – this will take less than a minute.
Take the trimmings from the first parsnip, and the other half of the second parsnip, and chop finely. Put in a pan and just cover with milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until the parsnip is soft. Blitz in a food processor, and pass through a fine sieve to give a smooth puree.
Crumble the black puddings and fry gently in rape seed oil. You are looking to soften the meat, and give it no more than a slight crisp. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. Drain and add some melted butter and a little heated milk, and then mash.
To serve, put quenelles of mash and black pudding on the plate, lay the partridge breasts over the top. Cut the pressed leg meat into squares and put one on each plate. Add a piece of roast parsnip, some -parsnip puree, and a handful of deep-fried parsnip shavings. Spoon over a few drops of well-recued chicken stock to finish.
Eighth birthday celebration for iconic Upper St Giles establishment
An independent Norwich restaurant is bucking the economic trend by celebrating its eighth birthday – which it is marking by offering a special eight course tasting menu for the next month.
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant in Upper St Giles in the city is also looking forward to unveiling a new £500,000 expansion in the spring, which will include a 20-seater private dining room and a second kitchen.
The restaurant opened in February 2010 in the same building which was once occupied by the Michelin-starred Adlard’s – where chef-proprietor Roger Hickman was head chef.
Since then the establishment has established itself as the top eaterie in the city, winning a clutch of awards including three AA Rosettes for six years in a row, The Good Food Guide’s Best Restaurant in East Anglia, and the EDP Food Award for Best Restaurant twice.
From Friday 16th February until Saturday 17th March, the restaurant will be offering diners a special eight course tasting menu featuring many favourite dishes from the past eight years, with diners receiving a free glass of fizz to help celebrate the birthday.
“It is well documented how tough running an independent restaurant can be in the city, so to reach eight years of trading is worth celebrating,” said Roger Hickman.
“It goes to show that in a city largely made up of chain restaurants, that there is a healthy appetite for quality independent establishments.”
In October the restaurant announced a £500,000 investment to create an upstairs dining room and a second kitchen, increasing its capacity by 50 per cent. The new space will offer private dining, small functions and cookery demonstrations.
The celebratory eight course tasting menu will consist of:
- Jerusalem artichoke soup with crispy Jerusalem artichoke
- Heritage carrot salad, lemon yoghurt, dukkah crumb
- Scallops, caramelised cauliflower, raisins, burnt butter crumb
- Roasted partridge, truffle mash, parsnip, sprouts
- Braised short rib, roasted Jerusalem artichoke, shallot, cashew nuts
- Selection of cheeses
- Forced rhubarb, blood orange cake, custard, ginger ice cream
- Chocolate, honey, cashew nut, milk
The menu costs £70 per head, including a complimentary glass of fizz on arrival.
Huge investment reflects ‘healthy appetite for quality independent establishments’
Norwich’s highest-rated restaurant has announced a £500,000 investment to create a private dining room and a second kitchen, increasing its capacity by 50 per cent.
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant in Upper St Giles Street, which last month was confirmed as the only AA 3 Rosette restaurant in the city, will offer private dining, small functions and cookery demonstrations in the new first floor room, above the existing restaurant.
Roger Hickman bought the freehold to the ground floor of the building, where he was once head chef at the Michelin-starred Adlards, in 2012. Now he has bought the remaining two floors from former owners MJB, allowing him to create the new dining room and kitchen, as well as a staff flat on the top floor.
Work has already started on replacing the roof of the building, with the new dining room due to open early in 2018.
“Since we opened in 2010, we have been constrained by space, both in terms of numbers of covers, and in our ability to accommodate larger parties,” said Mr Hickman, who opened his restaurant in 2010.
“The new dining room will enable us to offer tables for larger parties, as well as accommodate weddings and private parties, something we are constantly being asked to do.
“Building a second, separate kitchen on the first floor will also allow us to put on cookery demonstrations.
“Half a million pounds is an enormous investment for an independent restaurant, but I am confident that in a city largely made up of chain restaurants, that there is a healthy appetite for quality independent establishments.”
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant was first given the prestigious 3 AA Rosette award in 2012, and has retained it ever since – the only restaurant in Norwich to boast the accolade. The award was reconfirmed at the annual AA awards in September.
Also last month, Hickman’s was announced as the highest-rated Norfolk restaurant in the annual SquareMeal Best UK Restaurant survey, as well as receiving a prestigious ‘Notable Wine List’ award from the AA for the variety and quality of its wine list, for the third year in a row.
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant in Norwich has been named as one of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants by the Sunday Times – the first time that a restaurant in the city has made it into the prestigious list.
Published on Sunday 8th November, the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants list is one of the most eagerly anticipated barometers of culinary excellence, and is produced in conjunction with leading restaurant guide Hardens, based on over 60,000 reviews by real diners. This year’s is the sixth to be published.
Entering the list at number 79, Roger Hickman’s Restaurant is one of only five restaurants in the whole of East Anglia to be included.
Chef-proprietor Roger Hickman said, “We are of course delighted to be included in the Sunday Times list for the first time, and to be the first Norwich restaurant ever to be named in the list. I am very proud to be representing the city; being included in such a prestigious list can only help Norwich build its reputation as a centre of excellence for food and drink.”
Editor of The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants, Karen Robinson, said: “The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants combines the opinions of thousands of diners to produce a definitive list. Basing it on the ratings of everyday restaurant-goers, who are paying their own money, means it is an honest reflection of the nation’s tastes, so chefs and restaurants should be truly proud to make the list.”
The accolade for Roger Hickman’s Restaurant, on Upper St Giles Street in the city, comes just weeks after it was awarded an AA Notable Wine List Award – putting the restaurant in the top 200 nationally for its wine offering.