Top honour for Suffolk restaurant

A SUFFOLK restaurant has won a prestigious competition to find the east's best place to eat.

Dave Gooderham

BORN in France and trained by top Swiss chefs, it was always restaurateur Regis Crepy's dream to introduce a European flavour to the cuisine of his adopted home in Suffolk.

Now, with three renowned restaurants helping him achieve that aim, his success has been further rewarded with a prestigious prize in the newly-published Which? Good Food Guide.

Staff at The Great House in Lavenham, near Sudbury - famed for its French-style dishes and stunning cheeseboards - are celebrating after Mr Crepy's flagship establishment was named East of England Restaurant of the Year.

Coming just 12 months after the Swan Inn, in Monks Eleigh, won the regional prize, Mr Crepy spoke of his delight and his hope that the honour might attract more people into his restaurants and the historic setting of Lavenham.

He said: “When we found out about the award, I was both extremely pleased and proud. I relate this honour to the whole restaurant and it is an award for the whole team as everyone works hard.”

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The award comes just a few months after major refurbishments to The Great House, in Lavenham's market square, which saw improvements to the dining area and each of the five bedrooms.

Mr Crepy, who runs the restaurants with his wife, Martine, was born in Lille and learned his trade at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, before running prestigious restaurants in both countries and later moving to Suffolk and The Great House,

He bought the restaurant in 1992 and then followed it up with the floating Il Punto, moored at the Ipswich waterfront, and seafood eatery, Maison Bleue, in Bury St Edmunds.

He said: “This is a massive honour and makes all the renovation work worthwhile. I hope it will encourage people to come to all my restaurants, as the quality and professionalism is the same throughout, but also encourage people to use the various shops and businesses in Lavenham.”

The award recognises excellence and good service at independently-owned restaurants, pubs and cafés.

Elizabeth Carter, the book's editor, said: “The Great House is a well deserved winner of the regional award.

“Just yards from the magnificent timber-framed Guildhall, on the corner of the Lavenham's historic market square, Regis and Martine Crépy's smart restaurant with rooms gives a French twist to impeccable local produce.”

The Great House will feature in the 2009 edition of The Good Food Guide and will now compete with nine other regional winners for The Which? Good Food Guide - Restaurant of the Year award, which will be presented at a ceremony on June 17 at the British Museum.

A typical menu at The Great House:

Poached green English asparagus

Ratatouille and red beetroot & dill vinaigrette (v)

Roasted 'Gressingham' Duck breast

Olive concassée, Cognac sauce

Strawberry soup and summer fruits

Fresh raspberries, blueberries, redcurrant

Vanilla Ice cream

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