Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped presenter Kate Quilton will officially open the Garden Kitchen Cafe in the picturesque grounds of Hoveton Hall this Sunday (May 1).
The cafe is the latest venture by Norfolk chef Alex Firman and is housed in the old dairy barn. He said: “It’s real food cooked by real chefs using quality local and seasonal ingredients. It’s home cooked food with heart. We’re about flavour not flounce.”
Firman and his team, including front of house manager and former city florist Libby Ferris, grow their own produce in the nearby Hoveton Hall walled garden and source much of their ingredients locally including lamb from the neighbouring Hoveton Hall farm and locally caught fish.
“We want eating in the Garden Kitchen Cafe to feel like drawing up a chair to the best farmhouse kitchen table you can
imagine,” said Alex, who is catering for Kate’s wedding later this year. Kate will carrying out the honours at around noon.
The cafe has a diverse menu including Norfolk Plough Pudding, Tuscan-inspired Sunday roasts and classics like ploughman’s lunches with sour dough bread, Norfolk Dapple cheese and home-made bread and butter pickle. Signature ice cream sundaes will feature innovative flavours like rhubarb and custard ginger crumble.
Children can play in an enclosed field opposite which Alex plans to fill with a mini street of colourfully painted play houses and old wooden boats with sand.
New tenants have been found to take on the popular café in Eaton Park and it’s due to open at Easter.
Cellar Boy, which owns The Bicycle Shop on St Benedicts Street, will be opening the doors to Eaton Park Café as it takes on premises based in the Grade II listed building.
The company was chosen from nearly 150 applicants to run the venue and provide a high-quality facility for the residents, visitors and community groups that enjoy the park every day.
Councillor Keith Driver, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “The team from The Bicycle Shop has the passion and local knowledge to build on the park’s existing community and to establish the café as a thriving and vibrant venue for everyone to enjoy. I can’t wait to join them for a celebratory cuppa!”
Rob Howe, owner of The Bicycle Shop, said: “I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to run Eaton Park Café. I, and everyone who works at The Bicycle Shop are excited to start work within such an amazing space.
“I look forward to teaming up with Friends of Eaton Park and collaborating with the clubs and societies operating in the park. Also I hope that now, as someone working in the park, I might get discounted rides on the park train…”
Helen Mitchell from Friends of Eaton Park said: “We’re really looking forward to the café re-opening and think it will have been well worth the wait. Rob and David have fantastic experience and a great track record in the city already. What’s more, they are clearly entranced by the café building. They got the importance of the community side of the café and they’re already ahead of the game when it comes to using local suppliers, recycling and being energy efficient.
“As well as good food and a warm welcome we think Eaton Park Café will now have a real chance to develop a character all of its own and that it won’t be long before it comes to be seen as a destination in itself.”