What a fan­tas­tic year

A year of ac­co­lades, awards – and happy cus­tomers who re­turn again and again. We catch up with the So­cius restau­rant team al­most a year af­ter it opened

EDP Norfolk - - PROMOTION -

It has been bet­ter than we ever could have imag­ined,” say Natalie Stuh­ler and Dan Lawrence, the cou­ple be­hind the restau­rant which has swiftly carved a name for it­self.

An open plan restau­rant set in a fresh and con­tem­po­rary Burn­ham Mar­ket space full of north Norfolk char­ac­ter, So­cius has been busy since it opened its doors at the end of last Fe­bru­ary.

Along with the ap­pre­ci­ated ac­co­lade of cus­tomers who re­turn, of­ten weekly, So­cius has been given some pres­ti­gious awards.

It was in­cluded in The Good Food Guide shortly af­ter open­ing, in­vited into the Miche­lin Guide and awarded two AA rosettes in the au­tumn.

A de­lighted Dan says: “We don’t set out to chase awards and ac­co­lades but we are very proud of what we’ve achieved in such lit­tle time.

“We just want to be the best we can. We want peo­ple to come through the door, have a nice time and come back, that’s the real show of suc­cess for us,” he adds.

So­cius din­ing is re­laxed with small tapas plates and masses of flavour. Din­ers usu­ally choose two or three plates, ei­ther each or to share. Ev­ery dish is cre­ated from fresh, in sea­son, top qual­ity lo­cal pro­duce with chef Dan chang­ing the menu ev­ery day de­pend­ing on the best in­gre­di­ents avail­able.

The only dish that is a reg­u­lar fea­ture on the So­cius menus is sticky king prawns, a firm favourite of reg­u­lar din­ers.

“Peo­ple do rave about them, I don’t dare take them off,” laughs Dan. With an open kitchen where guests are able to watch the chefs ev­ery move, there’s no won­der So­cius al­ways gets rave re­views about the at­mos­phere.

“Guests ab­so­lutely love be­ing able to watch Dan and the team and go up to the pass and quiz him on the dishes they’ve eaten!” says Natalie.

The food fo­cuses on top qual­ity pro­duce and sim­ple dishes mean­ing that flavour is the star of the show. The veg­e­tar­ian dishes are ex­tremely pop­u­lar too, say the cou­ple, with dishes such as lo­cal car­rots with beet­root and goats cheese and bur­rata with her­itage toma­toes and a wild gar­lic pesto.

So­cius, which raised al­most £3500 for Nel­son’s Jour­ney in its first six months and is now rais­ing money for the Wells Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion, is en­tirely owned and run by Natalie and Dan.

“It’s our in­de­pen­dent busi­ness. A lot of peo­ple are sur­prised that it’s just us and there’s no silent in­vestor be­hind us” said Natalie.

The hard­work­ing cou­ple have a busy cater­ing side to So­cius too, tak­ing the So­cius re­laxed fine din­ing style to in­ti­mate din­ner par­ties, wed­dings and other cel­e­bra­tions – big and small.

Along with the reg­u­lar Wed­nes­day to Satur­day lunch and din­ner and Sun­day lunch, ta­bles for events – such as the pop­u­lar monthly sup­per club on the first Thurs­day of ev­ery month - at the restau­rant are al­ways snapped up.

Sign up for the So­cius news­let­ter on the web­site to dis­cover what’s on the way, and don’t miss the cur­rent Fe­bru­ary of­fer of two plates for £14.50 and three plates for £19.50 each Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day lunch and din­ner.

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