10 of the best places we ate in Suffolk in 2019
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 January 2020
Our reviewers have been out and about trying out your recommendations this year, as well as newcomers to the dining scene.
Here are just some of the pubs, cafes and restaurants which made an impression.
Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds
Well, what can we say? A multiple award-winning restaurant (including our Restaurant of the Year 2019) and deservedly so. Charlotte experienced fine dining service (with lots of little thoughtful extra touches) and inventive plates of refined cooking, from stuffed saddle of organic Shimpling Park lamb, to tiramisu. And that cheeseboard? Legendary.
Number 10, Lavenham
Charlotte fell in love with the cosy ambiance created in this ancient building by its husband and wife owners. Food was generous, beautifully cooked and unfussy, as well as being prevalent with locally sourced ingredients and priced keenly. Stand out dishes included devilled chicken livers with pancetta and Madeira, and an oozing chocolate fondant.
The Randolph, Reydon near Southwold
Nicola quite simply could not believe the value of this hotel's stonkingly good afternoon tea, which was just £12.50 per person. On her visit the beach hut stand included sandwiches, huge scones, sausage rolls, lemon mousse, strawberry shortcake, Victoria sponge, brownie and carrot cake. Her highlight? The lemon dessert - which she said almost gave her a When Harry Met Sally moment.
The Brewers, Rattlesden
This unassuming looking rural pub is putting out some of the best food in Suffolk and is one to watch in 2020. Mark declared it a 'culinary gem' during his visit, picking out favourite dishes of pork wellington with Parmesan and sage croquettes, textures of beetroot and a jus - "just plain sexy" - and a beef short rib with black garlic, charred onion and braised chicory. Benson the dog was welcomed nicely too.
The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds
Head chef Greig has done wonders with this restaurant says Charlotte, commanding a confident brigade in the kitchen, and winning diners over with food that is rooted in Suffolk, clever, seasonal and just downright tasty. She was wowed by a beef tartare with black garlic and chicory leaves, melting fillet of plaice with baby vegatables and a lobster nugget, and a seductive medley of chocolate and milk.
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Shillingfords at The Foragers Retreat, Pebmarsh
Mark boldly claimed this restaurant (where each diner is designated their own personalised menu) one of the most unique he's ever been too, and says he was served one of the best desserts he's ever eaten! Chef Carl uses seasonal and local ingredients, as well as edible bounty from Suffolk's hedgerows, meadows and woodlands to craft his menu. Mark was won over by tomato and mozzarella salad, Suffolk green curry, haunch of venison and the dessert of Suffolk Delights - a dish based on Turkish Delight. "It was exceptional".
The Black Lion, Long Melford
Charlotte and her family enjoyed one of their top roasts of all time at this pub. Choosing the family sharing roast, they were paraded a platter of chicken, belly pork, beef, stuffing, vegetables, parsnips, Yorkies, three types of gravy, a variety of sauces - everything but the kitchen sink. All cooked to perfection and with loads of leftovers to be boxed up and picked at at home.
Ocean Fish Platter, Ipswich
Nicola visited this newcomer to Ipswich recently and was really pleasantly surprised by what she found. Smiling service, and spanking fresh fish dishes, cooked in a variety of ways, from grilled to fried, and with a family-friendly atmosphere. Grilled salmon arrived with sides of rice and pan-fried vegetables, with a choice of sauces. And a fish pie was creamy, satisfying and ideal winter food fodder. It's currently the top ranking restaurant on Tripadvisor.
Jojo's Kitchen and Bar, Lowestoft
What is lacks in size, this seaside restaurant makes up for in flavour. A winner in the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2019, Charlotte was mega impressed by both the serving team, and the enormous portions of homemade, American-style food which was absolutely bang-on flavour-wise. Her absolute highlight was savoury cheese and chive waffles, topped with incredible fried chicken, honey hot sauce and bourbon maple syrup. One of her dishes of the year.
Vegetarian reviewer Emily couldn't fault her visit to this award-winning vegan café where she found the food interesting, wholesome and filling, with picks including spinach pancakes with roast pumpkin, black kale, red pepper and aubergine puree, and chipotle corn chowder with sourdough, declaring it all a feast for the tastebuds and the eyes.