Mark Heath returns with his July food column, featuring some top tier fish and chips, a couple of cracking tasting menu and the opening of two new eateries...

Whisper it quietly but summer, it seems, has finally arrived. Apologies in advance if I've cursed it and you're reading this with rain hammering on your windows.

But there are few finer places to be in the sunshine of summer than Suffolk. And few finer things to be eating than that all-time classic, fish and chips.

You will all have your favourite spots for fish suppers - and please do give me your recommendations - but I thought I'd start this month's column by sharing mine with you.

Firstly, what am I after from fish and chips? Well, for me, it's a balancing act of four things.

The Anchor at Walberswick is our favourite spot in Suffolk for fish and chipsThe Anchor at Walberswick is our favourite spot in Suffolk for fish and chips (Image: Newsquest)
One, the main event. The fish has to be plentiful, generous and chunky, cooked so it's still juicy and flakes apart to my excited forking. I don't want to be presented with a battered whale though, nor do I want the opposite end of the spectrum, a tiny fillet clad in clumsy batter which disguises its true proportions.

Speaking of batter, that has to be light, crispy and - most important of all - not greasy.

Next, the chips should be thick-cut, golden brown and - to use the biggest of food cliches - crunchy on the outside but fluffy in the middle. It's a cliche, but it is also true.

Finally, the supporting acts. I want mushy peas, please, and I neither want them runny or solid - somewhere in the middle is fine. If you want to get fancy and serve me minted mushy peas, I'll accept.

There must be a goodly dollop of tartare sauce too and again, if you want to show off a bit, you can chuck a bit of cayenne pepper or paprika in there as well.

Fish and chips is done consistently well at The AnchorFish and chips is done consistently well at The Anchor (Image: Mark Heath)
Serve all of this to me with a cold lager. I'm a man of simple pleasures when it comes to beer.

I don't want a tankard of Fusty Bogwater or Bishop's Ankle Biter, just a pint of cold, crisp, simple lager.

Oh, and ideally all of this will be consumed outside, in a pub beer garden, with the sun warming my cockles and a sniff of the sea in the air.

All of which brings me to my favourite spot for fish and chips in Suffolk, The Anchor at Walberswick.

My wife and I have been going there consistently for almost 20 years, we always order the fish and chips - and it never, ever lets us down. All of the four pillars above - fish, chips, supporting acts and cold lager - are done brilliantly, as confirmed by our latest trip at the end of June.

It's also a quintessential seaside pub - within a five minute walk of the beach, friendly faces behind the bar and always buzzing with a lively mix of locals and the salmon-trousered second homers who flock to Suffolk at this time of year. Dog friendly, too.

There is something soul-enriching and comforting about a good plate of fish and chips. And that will always call us back to The Anchor.

Tasting notes

- New restaurants opening are always exciting and there are two worthy of note since we last spoke. Firstly, as referenced a few times in this column, Masterchef star Hannah Gregory has opened her dream taqueria, TACOR, in Bury St Edmunds.

She sold out of two night's worth of food on opening night and all the early noises I'm hearing from folks who have visited so far have been very, very positive.

TACOR is open between 5.30pm and 9pm on Thursday and Friday and from 12.30pm to 9pm on Saturdays. I can't wait to go and check it out - I suspect it will soon be among the hottest eateries in Suffolk.

Meanwhile, down the A14 in Felixstowe, we've had another big opening with a celebrity chef attached - and they don't come much bigger than the iconic Marco Pierre White.

The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill has opened in Hotel Coco, the former Brook Hotel in Orwell Road.

General manager Andrew Vales at Hotel Coco with a photo of chef Marco Pierre White in the backgroundGeneral manager Andrew Vales at Hotel Coco with a photo of chef Marco Pierre White in the background (Image: Charlotte Bond)
It looks great, and I'll be fascinated to see how it gets on. Again, it's on my list and we'll endeavour to bring you a review soon.

- Regular readers will know that I love a tasting menu. Since we last spoke, I've enjoyed a couple of corkers.

Firstly, we ventured across the border to Morston Hall, Galton Blackiston's superb stately north Norfolk hotel and restaurant.

Some of our tasting menu at Morston Hall - the scallop (bottom left) was my highlightSome of our tasting menu at Morston Hall - the scallop (bottom left) was my highlight (Image: Liz Heath)
Dish of the day was an enormous scallop, served with crispy leeks and satay sauce. But in truth it was all top notch.

Galton himself brought out our pre-dinner nibbles - as he did for all of our fellow diners - and had a quick chat, which was a lovely personal touch.

This year marks a remarkable 25 years of Morston holding a Michelin star, a staggering achievement - and here's to the next 25!

Mark at Morston HallMark at Morston Hall (Image: Liz Heath)
A few weeks later we returned to one of Suffolk's great under-the-radar dining gems, The Peacock at Chelsworth, for a tasting menu to mark my descent onto old age.

The Peacock is really spreading its wings under head chef Sam Clover and general manager Jack Butler, and again this was excellent eating.

Dishes of the day were a superb marriage of halibut and lobster, plus a chocolate and cherry dessert which had me wanting seconds - and I'm not a pudding man.

The chocolate and cherry dessert at The Peacock - pretty and deliciousThe chocolate and cherry dessert at The Peacock - pretty and delicious (Image: Mark Heath)
If you've never been, please get it on your list. I want the whole of Suffolk to be proud of The Peacock.

- Finally this month, a couple of small updates from places I visited earlier this year.

The Bildeston Crown, site of one of our best meals of 2024, is launching afternoon tea.

Served between 3pm and 5pm on Saturdays, the Crown's team are aiming to rival top London hotels with their offering, boasting produce from Nedging Hall's Kitchen Garden.

Crown general manager George Bonwick said: "It was an obvious next step for The Bildeston Crown.

"Our dining offering is something special, and we trust that we give some of the best service in Suffolk.

"The afternoon tea is something we’ve talked about for a while, and we wanted to get right. "We think we’ve done just that."

Afternoon tea at the Crown will cost £29.50 per person.

The Bildeston Crown have launched an afternoon teaThe Bildeston Crown have launched an afternoon tea (Image: Bildeston Crown)
Meanwhile, Blue Fig, one of Bury's newest restaurants - which I reviewed in April - is apparently thriving.

I'm told bookings are now recommended at weekends, with set lunch menus and weekend breakfasts also now among the offerings there. 

We were impressed with the Fig, a buzzing little place with room to grow, and it's great to hear they're doing well.

- As ever, if you want to feature in this column or just talk to me about food, contact me at