Chef Patron Richard Bainbridge opened Benedicts with his wife Katja in 2015, which was the same year he won the Great British Menu. It’s been named in the Times Top 100 Restaurants in the UK as well as awarded Norfolk’s Best Restaurant. In 2018 they were awarded 3 AA Rosettes. Benedicts is British modern dining at its best.
There is nothing I hate more than a restaurant that has quite bright lighting. For me, a restaurant’s lighting really helps creates mood and ambience and I’m happy to say the lighting was perfect. Fairly low lighting with candles on the dark wood tables and a little vase of fresh flowers created a rather romantic atmosphere. We also had a window table, which was perfect.
Benedict’s doesn’t do à la carte so you’ll be choosing between a five course menu and an eight course one. We went with the eight course menu, which was £70 per person. You can also add wine pairing for £45.
First up on the menu is ‘The Tease’, which consists of a salmon and cucumber tartlet, mini Cheddar and a BBQ pork ball. They were all delicious but I was surprised by which one was actually my favourite – the mini Cheddar!
Next was the ‘aperitif’ which consisted of a rice cracker with salmon roe and a sherry mousse. You could definitely taste the sherry! We were advised to keep the mousse for the next course, which was their homemade bread. I really enjoyed this course – the cracker was amazing.
We were then served the Benedicts glazed Parker House bread with seaweed and crispy caper butter. I must say it’s quite strange having bread as a third course but I see why as they encourage you to use up your sherry mousse. The bread was absolutely yum! I did find the butter quite rich though so alternated between the butter and the mousse.
The first three courses came quickly after one another so we asked them to give us a bit more space between the next courses, which they happily did. The next course was definitely the lightest of all the courses, which was very welcome as I was already starting to feel a bit full! This was my husband’s least favourite course but I really enjoyed it. It was chilled tomato water with beef tomatoes and garden flowers. Our server poured the tomato water at the table, which made it rather theatrical. It’s a very pretty dish!
The chilled tomato water also acted as a bit of a palate cleanser before the next course, which was a lobster vol au vent. I loved this course! The lobster portion was very generous and I was slightly concerned it may be slightly dry from the pastry but there was plenty of Marie Rose sabayon.
The Chalk Stream trout was next, served with a pea fricassee. Personally I found this dish a bit overpowering, particularly as it followed after such a light dish. It was very tasty but this was my least favourite dish. It’s interesting though how different people’s palates are as the couple sitting next to us said this was their favourite course (we overheard them when they were settling the bill).
For the main, there was a choice between Halesworth lamb and Suffolk sea bass. My husband and I both chose the lamb, which was served with elderberries and pickled cockles. I was pleasantly surprised that the cockles were lightly battered – delicious! The lamb was perfectly pink and it was a decent portion size too.
By this point I was pretty full but there’s always space for dessert, as they say. In this instance, there were two desserts! The first was a Gooseberry tart with elderflower and ginger. The sharpness of the tart and sorbet worked well as a palate cleanser after the lamb. And such a pretty plate!
The final dish of the eight course meal was the British Summer trifle. What a show stopper! Not only did it look incredible, it tasted gorgeous. A wonderful way to end a fabulous meal.
We had a fantastic evening at Benedicts. The food was wonderful, service was excellent and there was a lovely ambience. I highly recommend it if you’re visiting Norwich!