Restaurateur Henry's Norfolk
Where is your favourite place to eat, and why? Well, unsurprisingly, I'd have to say Sugar Beat. I'm really chuffed with what we've created. It's absolutely unique and so far away from the chain approach you seem to get so much on the High Street today. We're all about relaxation. Everybody is so busy rushing around these days. They're constantly on the go, always connecting via the internet and with a million things to do, that we just want people to switch off and relax for a while. It seems to me that a lot of people have actually forgotten how to relax when they go out! Away from my own restaurant though, I really do love the Ingham Swan. Danny Smith is the owner there and he and I worked together for 10 years. His food and service is superb. On a quick visit to the city, I’d have to say there are few better places than the Pantry Restaurant at Jarrolds. The carvery is great quality and superb value.
What do you long for if you've been away? The Norfolk sunsets and the coast in general. I feel so very fortunate to live in a county like ours, and to have raised my children in such a great part of the world. I also love something as simple as strolling through the Norwich market. It's so full of character and always leaves me smiling.
What's your favourite Norfolk place and why? That's so very difficult when you love this county as much as I do. I think the beauty of Norfolk is the breadth of offering. If I were forced to be really selective though, I think it would have to be the city of Norwich itself. I feel it's so diverse and I love the way it's evolved over recent years, offering so much to so many. And it's the people that make it!
Where would you have a picnic and what Norfolk food would you have? Under a very special oak tree very close to where I live. It's over 500 years old and I have sat underneath it with all the children and wondered at what it has seen over the many years it has been there.
Your favourite Norfolk view? There are so many, but the one which springs to mind is when the tide is out at Brancaster. I could sit there for hours just thinking and relaxing. It's a world apart from my current busy schedule!
Where would you send a visitor to really appreciate Norfolk? I'd want to host them to be sure they got to see the county through my biased eyes as much as possible. I'd take them on a tour. We'd start at Sugar Beat Eating House for breakfast, then head into Norwich city centre, perhaps for some retail therapy at Jarrolds. After that I would take them to the Broads and on to the coast. We would visit the funfair and then finally enjoy fish and chips on the beach at Great Yarmouth. It would be a busy day – but I think a visitor really needs to appreciate the full Norfolk offering!
What piece of advice would you give to a visitor of the county? I'd probably tell them to give it time and get to know the people. We're blessed with some great people and some fantastic places, but it would be easy for a visitor not to give themselves enough chance to really get to see what it is that we all love so much.
What's your idea of Norfolk Big Sky Thinking? To me, that's about us being united in championing what Norfolk has to offer. Too often, I think there's a tendency for businesses and regions in parts of the country to operate separately or view others as a threat. I think the greatest things are achieved in Norfolk where a united passion for the county is celebrated and becomes the activator to great events, opportunities and enterprises.