Take a first look at the new Black Lion hotel in Long Melford

The Black Lion,Long Melford before it's recent refurbishment by the Chestnut Group. Picture: Ronnie

The Black Lion,Long Melford before it's recent refurbishment by the Chestnut Group. Picture: Ronnie McMillan/Alamy Stock Photo - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

We were invited to a preview evening at the recently re-launched Black Lion hotel in Long Melford - take a look.

The Chestnut Group, founded by Philip Turner in 2012, this week unveiled its sixth investment - The Black Lion hotel in Long Melford.

The hotel, formerly owned by the Jarvis family for many years, was purchased by the group in July and has undergone an impressive refurbishment, bringing it in line with the comfortable, warm country feel the other Chestnut Group properties enjoy.

Five of the 10 bedrooms have already been converted, and the downstairs spaces are unrecognisable, with a once underused dining space having been transformed, with plans to add in an ornate lantern ceiling to flood the room with light.

Philip said he’s proud the group has been able to retain and restore many of the hotel’s original features, including 22 sash windows, and says he’s excited to be in Long Melford, offering something new to the local dining scene.

“I feel incredibly comfortable about our brand here,” he said. “I think this building suits the kind of hospitality experience we want our customers to have.”

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Head chef Nick, who’s worked at the hotel for nearly five years adds: “We’re trying to keep the food family orientated and relaxed so we have the classics like burgers and fish and chips, and a pizza oven, but we’ve also got local steaks and a nice a la carte offering as well. We’re just trying to hit all aspects of the market and make this a really good place to eat.”

Once the afternoon tea menu is introduced in the coming weeks, the hotel will pretty much be serving food all day.

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Pop in for a full Suffolk breakfast or bowl of granola in the morning.

The lunchtime menu offers filled brioche buns, salads, sandwiches and a changing set menu priced at £19 for three courses from Monday to Saturday.

The main menu, available during lunch and dinner service includes classic, traditional favourites such as fish and chips, the hotel’s take on a burger (served with mushroom ketchup) and stonebaked pizzas, while the a la carte section has fun with familiar ingredients.

So venison is sliced thinly into a carpaccio with celeriac and sourdough. Ham hock is doused in a sticky glaze and served up with spring onion creamed potatoes, cavolo nero and crackling. And Suffolk chicken breast comes garnished with braised squid, gnocchi, chilli, garlic and saffron.

Puds steer towards tried and tested classics, so you’ll currently taste white chocolate cheesecake with passionfruit, and apple tart with candied pecans.

Sunday lunch, like at the other businesses in the Chestnut Group, is a family affair, dishing up aged local rare breed sirloin of beef and roast loin of local pork with the trimmings, alongside vegetarian and fish options, with a set menu at £24 for three courses.

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