The winners of the Restaurant of the Year award, sponsored by The VENI Project, and the Best Coffee Shop/Café award have been announced at the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2024.

Here, we find out more about what makes these top businesses so special.

Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by The VENI Project

Winner: The Lion

The Lion in East Bergholt is a dining pub with five individually designed B&B rooms, renowned for outstanding food and customer service.

The pub prides itself on using fresh, local produce and is passionate about supporting local suppliers. Regular, seasonal menu changes and daily specials are accompanied by a weekly cost-of living set menu and a Lion Cub menu for children.

The judges said they enjoyed “a lovely lunchtime visit” to the pub, where they were met with “a warm welcome and a cosy, buzzing atmosphere”. 

Praising their “beautifully presented” dishes, the judges said the quality of the food was “outstanding”, adding that staff were “genuinely welcoming and attentive” throughout their visit. 

When asked how it felt to be a winner, The Lion’s owner Jonathan Peachey said: “Hospitality as an industry has been tough, after opening in the pandemic it has been a struggle, but to be recognised and to have been shortlisted in two other categories – we are delighted. Simple as that.

“It’s so important to emphasise how fantastic the team are, whether in the kitchen or bringing the food out. The innovation in the kitchen, and the fantastic service – it all matters.”

FINALIST: Ocean Fish Platter

Ocean Fish Platter in Ipswich offers a diverse menu of Mediterranean fish dishes – from classic fish and chips, live lobster and oysters, to the signature Ocean Fish Platter. 

The restaurant is warm and welcoming, with memorable nautical-inspired décor.

Sustainability is a priority, and the owner works closely with local fishermen and suppliers to ensure responsible sourcing.

Finalist: The Maybush

Perched on the banks of the picturesque River Deben in Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, The Maybush offers panoramic views over the river and beyond.

The varied selection of food includes influences from the waterside location, such as Felixstowe lobsters, but there is plenty of choice to suit all tastes. 

The Maybush caters for all ages and prides itself on offering a welcoming and friendly environment.

Finalist: Watson and Walpole

Watson and Walpole in Framlingham offers authentic Italian food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. 

The wood oven plays a key part in the cooking, as does the dedicated pasta room, where handmade pasta is made daily.

Favourite dishes include burrata with cherries and chicory, beef carpaccio, gnocchi with brown crab risotto – not to mention glorious tiramisu spooned out at the table.

East Anglian Daily Times: Left to right, Joseph Cordy (ambassador judge) and Alice Davies from The Greenhouse Café, which won the Best Coffee Shop/Café awardLeft to right, Joseph Cordy (ambassador judge) and Alice Davies from The Greenhouse Café, which won the Best Coffee Shop/Café award (Image: Matt Potter Photographer and Videographer)

Best Coffee Shop/Café

Winner: The Greenhouse Café

The Greenhouse Café is a plant-based café in Felixstowe. It serves a menu focused on local and seasonal produce that changes weekly.

Offering up a delicious spread of homemade cakes and daily bakes, including its legendary nossage rolls, the relaxed and welcoming café has something for everyone, whether you are a meat eater, vegan or flexitarian. And it’s ultimate aim is to change the way that people think about vegan food.

The judges said that the food on offer at The Greenhouse Café was “fantastic” and “amongst the best in the judging process”, adding that it is “great to see how frequently the menu changes”.

Commending the business for providing a wide variety of vegan food in contrast to “the standard vegan fayre you get in a lot of cafes”, they summed up their experience by saying that The Greenhouse has a “fantastic” offering, “served in a friendly and well-decorated space that feels unique and welcoming”.

When asked how it felt to win, owner of The Greenhouse Café Alice Davies said: “Its still sinking in that we are the winners!

“To call ourselves the best café in Suffolk is insane. We have had such a warm reception from everyone following our win and we are just thrilled at the result.”

Finalist: Chestnut & Rose

Chestnut & Rose is a plant-based café in Kesgrave that offers a range of homemade baked goods, locally roasted coffee and freshly prepared meals. 

Sarah Pearsons and her team have a real passion for bringing people together and have created a community focus to the café with regular events, including creative workshops, a weekly friendly faces table and monthly book club. 

Finalist: Suffolk Jungle Room

The Suffolk Jungle Room is a high-end café and house plant business with two sites in Metfield and Wissett. 

The cafés provide fresh food options that utilise local produce and suppliers as well as selling a range of plants. 

Great food combined with excellent, personable service and a beautiful décor has proven a hit with locals, holiday makers and destination visitors.

Finalist: Willow Tree Farm Café

Willow Tree Farm Café in Glemsford, near Sudbury, is a family-run venue showcasing the best of Suffolk produce, some of which is home-grown.

Carefully selected local produce is prepared from scratch in the busy kitchen, with the ever-changing seasonal menus bringing customers back time and again. 

Its themed evenings, wood-fired pizza and Sunday lunches are particularly popular. 

To find out more about all the winners, please click here.

For more information on the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards, please visit