The menu doesn’t give much away.

Pared down, a reduction of words hinting at the wonders to come.

Courses were described as: Snacks. Onion, bacon, maple. Monkfish, peanut, coconut. Beef, swede, celeriac.

What they delivered was intense combinations of flavours, meticulously curated textures, small assemblages of art – and all absolutely delicious. The layering of tiny courses, beginning with ‘snack’ and progressing all the way through to ‘the last bite’ added up to a hugely engaging and enjoyable meal. It is exhilarating spending three hours experiencing the skill of someone at the top of their game.

Great British Life: Store at Stoke Mill.Store at Stoke Mill. (Image: Rowan Mantell)

Liam Nichols is the head chef at Store, in Stoke Mill, Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich. This spring he learned he had retained the Michelin star he won here last year.

It is a remarkable achievement and he is a good host – cheerful, friendly and, obviously, very talented. He cooks in full view in an open kitchen at the end of the room and joins the three other staff to bring dishes to the table, telling us exactly how he has turned ‘potato, beauvale, beetroot’ into sumptuously gooey fondant potato with mellow British blue cheese, topped with shavings of rosti, all on bed of succulent beetroot. His fairy dust, sprinkled across the courses is pinch of vinegar powder, a scattering of finely chopped leaves, a glaze, ingredients pureed, grated, crisped, delectable.

Great British Life: Potato, beauvale, beetroot, Store tasting menu.Potato, beauvale, beetroot, Store tasting menu. (Image: Rowan Mantell)

The open kitchen means the whole meal is on show, from ingredients to plated works of culinary art. There are just five tables, each with plenty of room for the procession of plates and bowls and sauces and special cutlery holders and hand-made meat knives. But the experience is intimate too with the chef happy to chat or answer questions between courses.

Great British Life: Snacks, Store tasting menu.Snacks, Store tasting menu. (Image: Rowan Mantell)

Liam is a local boy, a pupil at Hethersett Academy, and was just 14 when he won through to the finals of the national Junior Chef competition. He began his career just up the lane from Store, at The Wildebeest in Stoke Holy Cross.

He moved on to top restaurants in New York, Melbourne and London, and worked for Richard Branson on his private Caribbean island, and at the Michelin 2* Midsummer House in Cambridge.

Back in Norfolk he joined Store in 2021, creating the restaurant in a former storeroom through the main Stoke Mill restaurant.

The picturesque mill on the River Tas is where Jeremiah Colman launched his famous mustard business more than 200 years ago and there are nods to Colman’s in Liam’s eight-course tasting menu, beginning with the beautifully presented snacks, so pretty they looked like dainty desserts.

Great British Life: Beef, swede, celeriac, Store tasting menu.Beef, swede, celeriac, Store tasting menu. (Image: Rowan Mantell)

There was a choux bun with marmite bechamel. The melt-in-the-mouth mini pastry was topped with a wild blonde wig of grated cheese. A deep purple macaron was a deliciously fancy way to serve beetroot and a yellow cube was topped with a blob of gleaming mustard. Next came cod cheeks served in a tiny tureen.

Perhaps the simplest course, bread and butter, gets the most description. ‘Baker Tom’s malted grain sourdough’ is baked next door, so we are talking food metres rather than miles.

I was thrilled to see monkfish on the menu. It did not disappoint with the firm texture of the fish enhanced with the sweet spiciness of satay beneath and crunch of coconut gremalata on top.

Great British Life: Monkfish, peanut, coconut. Store tasting menu.Monkfish, peanut, coconut. Store tasting menu. (Image: Rowan Mantell)

It led into a particularly wonderful beef course involving swede prepared in two different ways, one a smooth and vibrant puree, the other more textured. The sirloin and the brisket stacked on celariac, was sublime and, again, ideal for a tasting menu which is an exercise in mindfulness where every taste and texture and combination matters.

Fine cheeses are brought out with suitable ceremony – the proffered tipple from an enormous bottle of port a theatrical touch.

Pudding (‘blood orange, creme fraiche’) is a beauty, a compilation of vibrant colours and flavours riffing on the familiar fruit. The last bite is Liam’s recreation of an Aero bar, a sweetly sophisticated confection of bubbly chocolate.

Store serves its impressive, intense and wonderfully satisfying tasting menu on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and Friday lunch time.

Store, Stoke Mill, Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich. stokemillstore

Great British Life: The last bite, Store tasting menu.The last bite, Store tasting menu. (Image: Rowan Mantell)