How can I find a good place to eat in Suffolk?

A view across the lawns to Kesgrave Hall. Picture contributed

A view across the lawns to Kesgrave Hall. Picture contributed - Credit: Archant

What makes a good place to eat a great place to dine? We asked the experts at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich, to share the secrets of choosing the best place to eat, every time.

Welcoming, comfortable surroundings give a good feeling about a place to dine from the start. Pictur

Welcoming, comfortable surroundings give a good feeling about a place to dine from the start. Picture: Kesgrave Halll - Credit: Archant

What makes a good place to eat a great place to dine? We asked the experts at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich, to share the secrets of choosing the best place to eat, every time.

A varied menu that offers something different as well as favourites you know and love, is one top tip from Sarah Oliver, assistant general manager at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall in Ipswich and a busy mum who appreciates good food served in a relaxed atmosphere.

“It is good to see items that you are familiar with, but also something new,” she said. Value for money is another essential and a restaurant that serves food with provenance is another plus point.

This means, she explained, a chef is creating dishes from scratch using locally produced quality ingredients where possible. They are not serving food that could be found anywhere in Britain, or accompaniments simply picked up from a supermarket.

Beautiful presentation adds to the sense of occasion when dining out. Picture: Kesgrave Hall

Beautiful presentation adds to the sense of occasion when dining out. Picture: Kesgrave Hall - Credit: Archant

“It’s about the best local food, knowing where the ingredients have come from – and it’s probably not from very far away,” she said.

The restaurant should be proud of its dishes and its support of Suffolk produce and locally-grown seasonal treats. It may have bread rolls specially baked by a local baker (The Cake Shop, Woodbridge) to sausages which have been developed specially for Kesgrave Hall by Lane Farm, Brundish.


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The eggs for the timeless favourite smoked haddock fishcake with soft boiled egg inside should come from local, free range hens. The club sandwich should be packed with the best local ingredients - and the diners should be reassured that everything on the menu has been selected for its quality.

The place to eat needs to be welcoming too. At Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, for example, which earnt its second rosette this year, the restaurant is open all day.

Interesting dishes created from locally produced ingredients make for a good place to dine. Picture

Interesting dishes created from locally produced ingredients make for a good place to dine. Picture Kesgrave Hall, - Credit: Archant

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“You should be able to eat what you want when you want. You don’t want a restaurant which stops serving lunch at 2.30pm if you can’t be there until 3pm.

“We are all busy, life is busy, you need a restaurant that can fit in with you so you can be impromptu if you want to,” Sarah added.

A chef team that can meet any dietary requirements without making the diner feel difficult is essential, and a welcoming atmosphere goes without saying.

A relaxed, well maintained setting, with parking, helps from the start, said Sarah.

A taste of something different is often exactly what we fancy. Picture: Kesgrave Hall.

A taste of something different is often exactly what we fancy. Picture: Kesgrave Hall. - Credit: Archant

“You need somewhere you can get to easily. There is nothing worse than struggling to find somewhere to park,” she said.

And the restaurant team should be welcoming to all, whether you’ve arrived for an early breakfast from 7am, brunch, afternoon tea, or lunch and dinner anytime from 12 noon to late evening.

You may be dining solo, with parents, children, partner, friends or a large group – plus dogs. Wherever you visit, you should be treated as welcome guests whether you want to dine in the bar or restaurant, outside on the terrace or in a private dining room just for your party.

“We ask our staff to be merchants of happiness. You don’t want to pay to be served by someone who is miserable. It’s like being on stage for the staff and they are putting on a show, which starts with a welcome smile,” said Sarah.

Fresh food, served well is what we're looking for in a good place to eat. Picture : contributed

Fresh food, served well is what we're looking for in a good place to eat. Picture : contributed - Credit: Archant

If you’re dining with children – or dogs – space for them to play and stretch their legs while you relax, knowing they are safe and happy, adds to a successful dining experience.

Thanks to Sarah Oliver of the award-winning Milsom Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich, offering family friendly, all-day dining (indoor or outdoor) in the relaxed setting of the restaurant and bar. www.milsomhotels.com/kesgrave-hall

Space to relax and stretch your legs is often appreciated when seeking a place to dine with the fami

Space to relax and stretch your legs is often appreciated when seeking a place to dine with the family. Picture: Kesgrave Hall - Credit: Archant

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