Our food reviewer Mark Heath and his wife Liz visited the Blue Fig restaurant in Bury St Edmunds for a Saturday lunch. Here's what they made of it... 

As I'm constantly telling folks, Suffolk's food scene is something we should be very proud of and excited about. Across the county, we've got restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels worth celebrating and shouting about.

The epicentre of that foodstravaganza has to be Bury St Edmunds, which is fast becoming something of an embarrassment of riches for good eating.

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From the Michelin star excellence of Pea Porridge to the multi-award winning Lark, the outstanding 1921, the long-revered Maison Bleue and even the likes of more affordable but still tremendous Ming's Oriental, Rustico, Wright's Cafe and Peck, Bury is bouncing.

East Anglian Daily Times: The dining room at Blue FigThe dining room at Blue Fig (Image: Newsquest)
It punches well above its weight and, one imagines, will already be attracting a goodly number of food tourists - it helps, of course, that Bury is beautiful and crammed with history too.

All of which brings me to the new kid on Suffolk's coolest dining block. Blue Fig opened in Bury in February, taking over the Grade 2 listed building in Abbeygate Street formerly occupied by Neal's Yard Remedies.

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If you go back as far as I do, you'll remember this spot for the excellent independent Italian La Vita Bella around two decades ago.  

Fig has got some serious culinary weight behind it too. Regis Crepy, formerly of The Great House in Lavenham, among others, and restaurant entrepreneur Lamen Reddy are the driving forces, having waited five years for the right opportunity to work together.

Since opening, it's been creating quite a buzz in an already buzzing town and, like a moth drawn to that foodie flame, I duly had to check it out for myself.

East Anglian Daily Times: Our sourdough bread at Blue FigOur sourdough bread at Blue Fig (Image: Liz Heath)
We rocked up at about 1.30pm last Saturday, having booked online, to be greeted by an almost full dining room. Always a good sign.

Fig is small - I counted in the region of 26 covers - but has a nice, friendly vibe about it, with a smile-laden greeting from the waiting staff and a warm introduction to the concept.

As is in vogue these days, Fig is all about small plates and sharing food, with a Mediterranean theme. 

We were told that five to six dishes from the menu - split across 'for the table', 'vegetable' and 'meat and fish' sections - should suffice, and thus we set about choosing our weapons.

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Armed with a draught pint of Estrella (£6.25) and a glass of Pinot Grigio (£8), we opted for the following: bread & butter (£4.50), white crab (£8), padron peppers (£6), pan-fried cod (£15), mojo chicken (£9.50) and beef short rib (£15). Phew.

Our waitress checked if we were happy to take the food as it comes, rather than the more formal structure of bread, starter, mains - answer: very much yes - and we were off and running.

First up, the bread. This was warm sourdough, crunchy and chewy on the crust and pillowy soft inside, served with a tasty salted butter. Excellent.

East Anglian Daily Times: Our padron peppers at Blue FigOur padron peppers at Blue Fig (Image: Liz Heath)
Arriving next were the peppers and crab. Side note: As much as I love the small plate sharing concept, be prepared to start fretting about space - or lack of - on your table as the food starts rolling out!

The peppers, served on a skewer, were drizzled with olive oil and hot honey, sprinkled with big flakes of salt and wearing a little char on the outside.

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These were spot on. Soft and sweet, lifted by the salt and the slight bitterness of the charred exterior.

The crab, meanwhile, was pretty as a picture. Combined with dill, shallots, creme fraiche and mayonnaise and served on toasted bread, it looked cracking.

East Anglian Daily Times: The white crab at Blue FigThe white crab at Blue Fig (Image: Mark Heath)
It proved a small challenge to eat, that big dollop of crab only gingerly resting on the bread, and in the end I adopted a remove and spread approach, which got the job done. That small logistical issue aside, I enjoyed the dish - fresh, light and sweet.

Next up to our table were the cod and the short rib. I was particularly looking forward to the former, a dish I've been hearing and reading a lot about since Fig opened.

It did not disappoint. Nicely-cooked fish with a crispy skin, sat atop and surrounded by mussels, white beans and chorizo.

East Anglian Daily Times: The pan-fried cod dish at Blue Fig - very impressiveThe pan-fried cod dish at Blue Fig - very impressive (Image: Mark Heath)
For me, this was dish of the day - and the genius of it was the inclusion of the mussels, which soaked up and absorbed all the character of the sauce and the smoky chorizo, adding little individual pops of flavour to each one and enhancing the whole experience. Really, really good.

The short rib, meanwhile, was also good. Not too fatty - as some can be - and bathing in a Worcestershire glaze, accompanied by a crunchy, crispy, meaty croquette and a nice earthy mushroom sauce. The meat itself fell apart to our excited forking, which is exactly what it should do.

East Anglian Daily Times: The beef short rib at Blue FigThe beef short rib at Blue Fig (Image: Liz Heath)
The final dish to arrive was the mojo chicken - marinated thighs served on a skewer with a spicy mojo picon sauce and a big hunk of baby gem lettuce.

In truth, this was our least favourite dish of the day. The sauce was excellent but we wanted more of it and, while the chicken was tasty, it was slightly overcooked and a bit chewy. The lettuce, clearly there to add crunch and freshness, felt a bit big and clumsy. A dish in need of a little gentle refinement, perhaps.

By now, with our parking set to expire and bellies full, we had to pass on dessert - which meant I didn't get to try the Basque cheesecake (£7.50) which I'd also heard a lot about. Next time.

Final thoughts, then. The service at Blue Fig was excellent - warm, friendly and attentive, without being too in your face.

East Anglian Daily Times: The mojo chicken at Blue Fig The mojo chicken at Blue Fig (Image: Liz Heath)
The space is small but buzzing, with plans to expand upstairs in due course.

I liked the vibe of the place, and the food was good - or great, in the case of that cod dish. All told, our meal came to £81, which felt like decent value.

Blue Fig has made quite the splash in a short space of time since opening. It feels - as with the space itself - like it still has plenty of room to grow, too.

I look forward to watching that process. A welcome addition to the thriving Bury food scene.