David Hunter and the team at Fakenham Racecourse are always looking to develop their raceday experience offering and the latest addition has really added some extra flavour to a day’s racing at the East Anglian track.
At the start of their 2019/2020 season, the Punjab Cuisine Restaurant at Fakenham Racecourse was born, bringing an authentic taste of the Punjab region to Norfolk. In partnership with local business Currylicious, run by Fakenham based couple Rajan and Rita Verma, the new restaurant is the first of its kind on a British racecourse. The dishes introduce racegoers to an authentic taste of India with delicate spice blends taken from traditional recipes that have been passed down the generation ladder. The offering caters for everyone with vegetarian and vegan choices alongside the meat-based dishes.
David Hunter, Chief Executive of Fakenham Racecourse, said of the partnership
“Raj and Rita are a joy to work with and they provide a local, friendly, seasonal and fun service, along with the very best of Punjab flavoured food. They have adapted what they do to fit the racecourse model really quickly, offering reserved seating, walk-ups and take-outs to ensure that everyone can enjoy the cuisine regardless of their raceday schedule”.
Fakenham regular Malcolm commented:
“I go racing all over the country and I can’t remember seeing authentic Indian food anywhere else. I was so impressed with my food that I ordered take out so my family at home could enjoy it too!”
Situated alongside the parade ring bar the new restaurant has quickly established itself as a must-visit destination on the course.
The local partnerships don’t stop there at Fakenham, in fact, it is at the heart of everything they do. Dotted around the racecourse are a plethora of concessions offering a range of delicacies from Thai cuisine to fish & chips. All of the on-site concessions are run by local businesses and residents, and the bars are operated by The Crown Inn pub which is situated 5 miles down the road in East Rudham.
“We want the racecourse to continue to be at the heart of the local community which is why we involve them in everything we do. The team and I want every racegoer to have a memorable experience, from the welcome they receive to the food offerings they get to enjoy. Our local suppliers ensure that warm service and great food are provided in spades and they are a key part of the Fakenham team”.
Over at the Owners & Trainers facility in 2019 saw Fakenham retain their ROA Gold Standard, proving that they are continuing to provide an excellent experience to those with a runner at the track. The facility, fronted by Rachel Hunter, offers a friendly experience with complimentary meals, afternoon tea and freshly baked cake, so it is no wonder that Owners who visit the Norfolk course are invariably keen to return. For winning connections, the experience is made that much more memorable having celebratory drinks and food with the racecourse chairman and mementoes of a bottle of locally distilled Archangel Gin and a handmade glass from Langham Glass in Fakenham.
Rachel Hunter, Owners & Trainers manager and David’s wife, said:
“We strive to make the Owners & Trainers area feel like a home from home for all our visitors. All of us who work in the area are good friends, and we keep it relatively informal with no uniforms and casual seating. We use local suppliers for our food and drink offering and it is all served by local people, we like to think that our Owners & Trainers area encompasses all that is good about Fakenham Racecourse.”
Upon receiving the Gold Standard David Hunter said,
“We are delighted and proud to have retained the ROA Gold Standard Award once again. Credit goes to the entire Fakenham Racecourse team who have worked very hard to make our Owners and Trainers experience an enjoyable one.”
Not a racecourse to rest on their laurels David and the team already have big plans for next summer when they’re looking to create a new public bar in the grandstand and course enclosure. On the horsemen side of the operation, there are plans to create new saddling boxes and a new horse walkway. Away from Fakenham Racecourse, there are plans afoot to head to Holkham coastline for a Laytown inspired beach raceday!
Originally published by the Racecourse Association