8 Suffolk restaurants offering ‘date night’ at home
- Credit: Archant
From tasting menus, to artisanal French dishes, and handmade pasta - even though you can’t eat out this November, you can still eat well locally.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a second national lockdown on October 31 (beginning on Thursday, November 5) has once again thrown multiple businesses into a spin – including the hospitality sector.
But if 2020 has taught cafes, pubs and restaurants anything, it’s to be prepared, and many spots across the county are stocked, ready and poised to fulfil takeaway collection and delivery options.
We could all do with a little treat right about now, so if you’ve had to cancel those lunch or dinner date plans, intimate birthday or anniversary celebrations, here are just some local businesses you can turn to which can really help ‘make your day’.
Earsham Street Café, Bungay
Throughout the summer this popular café has been offering collections of takeaways from 12.30pm to 1.30pm Tuesday to Saturday, as well free local deliveries.
Earsham Street has also been selling its six-course taster menus to enjoy at home and is beginning to take orders for its next set dinner, available on November 19, 20, 26 and 27 at £19.95 per person.
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Owner Gemma Parker says: “Since re-opening in July we have been overwhelmed by the support and warmth shown by our customers. Some were visiting us every day to show their encouragement.
“We had doubts over whether people would come out again. Maybe they would be scared and not want to be near others in a hospitality setting. It has proved the opposite and it didn’t take long before we were turning people away as there wasn’t space in our half capacity café-restaurant. The phone sometimes hasn’t stopped ringing. To compensate, we began feeding people at home instead with our collection and delivery service and monthly takeaway tasting menus. The themed six-course menus are growing in popularity – before Covid in the restaurant they were often fully booked. Last month saw us cooking up a Lebanese storm and supporting a charity in Beirut (Beit el Baraka) by donating a percentage from each meal sold. We raised over £350, which will go towards helping with re-building work after the explosion in August and supporting families with such things as healthcare.
“From the end of November we will only be offering our take away taster menus and the theme is festive food. It’s one of my favourites. Customers have the opportunity to enjoy the six courses on four nights. Food is collected with full instructions included. Although we are sad to be closing our doors again, our thoughts turn to those who won’t be able to afford to re-open again in December. We are definitely one of the lucky ones.”
The menu includes potted ham hock with pineapple chutney and garlic crostini, sweet potato, chestnut and cranberry filo parcel, savoury cheese and chive choux bun with horseradish dip and pickled cucumber, local venison sausage with roasted fennel, root vegetable mash and mulled wine gravy, Italian Christmas pudding cake, and amaretti cookies. Bottles of house wine can be added at £10 each.
The Unruly Pig, Bromeswell
The multiple award-winning pub and kitchen has been carefully honing its takeaways during the course of the year and has several options available to recreate a special dinner a deux at home. Takeaways and collections are available from Thursday to Sunday, as well as deliveries from 5pm to 9pm Thursday to Saturday in Woodbridge and Rendlesham, with a minimum spend.
Takeaways include the spicy nduja, chorizo and taleggio arancini bites, head chef Dave’s silky smooth duck liver parfait with brioche, grapes and walnuts, the ubiquitous Unruly Burger, and handmade pasta with Mersea crab, served with chilli, spring onion and brown crab emulsion. If you’re trying to impress, there are DIY hampers to cook yourself at home too, from a three-course dinner at £25 per person, to the Unruly Burger Box, containing all the elements you need to compose the perfect burger, a Caesar salad kit and ready-to-bake mac and cheese at £12.50 per person.
The Bildeston Crown, Bildeston
Chris and Hayley Lee came to the rescue of locals at the height of the earlier lockdown, putting together and selling boxes of essentials for families, and making ready meals for the village shop, as well as initially offering takeaways. The takeaways are now back, made using the best produce chef can get his hands on. Fans of the country inn can order gourmet burgers and fish and chips on Fridays, homemade curries on Saturdays and Sunday lunches throughout November.
The Galley, Woodbridge
Owner Ugur Vata did not re-open over the summer, but has continued to offer delivery and collection of three-course dinners, as well as introducing a takeaway window for hot and cold drinks and snacks from the restaurant on Woodbridge’s Market Hill.
The three-course meal menu changes weekly and is priced at £60 for two, including a bottle of wine, with the option to add extras such as local eggs, juice, handmade Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, breads and more.
Collection and delivery are available on Fridays and Saturdays, with deliveries arriving before 6pm on your chosen day, or collections from the restaurant between 12noon and 2pm. All dishes are supplied chilled with all the instructions you need and have included mezze, Ugur’s renowned Turkish lamb stew, baklava, spiced black pork, seabass in Champagne sauce, and sexy sticky toffee pudding.
Lea at Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds
Often cited as one of the UK’s best and most romantic restaurants, you can now bring the Maison Bleue experience home thanks to chef patron Pascal’s new concept – Lea.
A pick and mix choice of five starters, main courses and desserts, based on French brasserie classics, can be collected from the restaurant from 8am, Tuesday to Saturday. And if you return 24 of the heatproof glass cooking vessels, you’ll get a free Lea main course. Dishes include ham hock terrine, duck confit with potatoes and red cabbage, and chocolate mousse with salted butter caramel. Three courses will set you back just under £20.
The Fox and Goose, Fressingfield
This rural pub was one of the early adopters of ‘heat at home’ takeaways in Suffolk earlier this year, selling gourmet, restaurant-style food that’s definitely made to impress.
The three-course menu (with choices) changes weekly and can be collected between 12noon and 6pm, priced at £25 per person.
All instructions are included. Dishes so far this year have ranged from a salad of crispy duck confit with sweet and sour cherries, chorizo, goats’ cheese and celeriac, lamb fillet with fondant potato, tomato fondue, garlic puree, baby carrots, beet and mint jus, and chocolate mousse with marinated cherries, raspberry yoghurt, chocolate crisps and tarragon.
The George, Cavendish
This smart country inn is well-known in west Suffolk (and beyond) for its excellent food. Orders for heat at home takeaways are now being taken, with a full menu having been created, with a different meat and a vegetarian dish available each day until the end of November. Phone lines are open from 10am to 2pm for ordering on Wednesday and Thursday, with meals being delivered between 11am and 1pm. On Friday there’s crispy pork schnitzel or crispy polenta with roasted new potatoes and root vegetables, on Saturday a chicken or lentil squash curry, and on Sunday rump of beef or nut roast with the trimmings.
The Great House, Lavenham
The Chef’s Table at Home is a three-course dining experience from the French restaurant, available for collection on Fridays and Saturdays. The menu changes weekly and is set (ask about a vegetarian option), priced at £27.50 per person. This week you’ll be able to sample yellow fin tuna with tuna mayonnaise, carrot and vanilla concasse, citrus gel, black garlic puree and black sesame and coffee foam, confit Suffolk lamb shoulder, and an entremet of red fruit.