Couple who fell in love at cookery school open new Suffolk pizza restaurant
PUBLISHED: 19:30 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 13 February 2020
The renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland is famed around the world for inspiring would-be and established chefs. But for Lucy Davis and Francois Pretorius, the Cork-based institution holds a special place in their hearts for so much more than that - it's where they fell in love.
And the duo have cemented their relationship further by opening a casual restaurant, dedicated to simple Mediterranean food, in Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds.
Lucy's, which opened just before Christmas, is a passion project for the couple, who are making every element from scratch, be it the sourdough base for their pizzas, to the smooth pasta dough, stretched and rolled into pappadelle.
"During our time at cookery school, every week you would get partnered with another student at random to cook with," says Lucy. "And during the week we learnt how to perfect pasta. Francois and I were actually partnered together and now we are using the same recipe and methods taught at the school in the restaurant.
"I'm from Bury St Edmunds and Francois is South African. He'd been a yacht chef for a few years and that really was what's behind the menu. It's inspired by his travels around the Mediterranean. And for me, Italian food has always been one of my favourite cuisines. It's one of real indulgence. Our food is fresh and very simple and what's really important is everything is homemade. That's what we pride ourselves on. "
The couple took on the premises that would become Lucy's at the beginning of 2019, spending months completely refurbishing them to reflect their concept, including adding an extension to improve the flow of the building, and re-designing what was previously the village's organic shop.
Key to the redesign was the inclusion of a pizza oven, bespoke made in Italy for the restaurant, and featuring a rotating base which cooks the pizzas to perfection. "It's the most beautiful feature," says Lucy. "It's a real showstopper already that people want to see and take photos of."
Diners can begin with creamy burrata, garlic bread or olives, before diving into the concise menu. Handmade tagliatelle with Wookey Hole cheddar and charred leek. Pappardelle dressed in their own prawn bisque with fresh prawns. Ragu of local beef.
Pizzas arrive smothered in a San Marzano tomato sauce and fior di latte mozzarella, boasting toppings of anchovies, Kalamata olives and capers, ham and mushrooms, and even carbonara.
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And there are seafood dishes too, from seabass with rainbow carrots and puy lentils, to tuna with salsa verde, samphire and baby potatoes.
It seems locals are feeling the love. "We're quite overwhelmed with how much support the restaurant has received already," Lucy blooms.
Lucy's is open Tuesday to Friday 5pm to 9pm, 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm on Saturday and 12pm to 4pm Sunday.