Is this the most unique brunch menu in Suffolk?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Coffee-spent smoked chalk stream trout. Goats’ curd with quince and porridge oat toast. Keens Cheddar and kimchi toasties. Hungry yet?
These are just a few of the dishes gracing the brand new Sunday menu at one of the county’s most interesting eateries – Canteen at New Street Market.
If you haven’t stumbled across this beautiful Victorian building on Woodbridge’s New Street (a short walk from the Thoroughfare and Market Hill) yet, you’re in for a treat.
Hidden behind the elegant curved façade is a world of wonders, curated by owner Sam Denny-Hodson. Her own fashion brand Homespun. Homeware from Pascale. Plants. Kitchenalia. Gifts.
And, at the back, Canteen. A newly rebranded concept café/restaurant that’s become quite the hot ticket on the local dining scene for lunch...and for a series of sell-out pop-up evening events, from Korean to Greek.
Originally opened as a café by Mark from Leo’s Deli, who says Sam, did a marvellous job, today the dining spot is in the hands of Sam and her talented chefs, who want to “make the menu very very exciting and very very different. We wanted to take things a whole lot further. Everyone says they work with local food that’s seasonal. What we wanted to do was to blend flavours in such a way as to create a real experience.”
Alongside homemade savouries and cakes, lunch dishes such as chicken livers with sage on toast, bone marrow, parsley and caper salad, roasted and pickled carrots with yellow split pea puree, and confit partridge leg with seared crown, quince, watercress, pickled red cabbage and gravy, have set out Canteen’s stall, with lunch served 12.30pm to 2.30pm Monday to Thursday and 12.30pm to 3pm Fridays and Saturdays.
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“We get a lot of people travelling here from out of town,” says Sam proudly. “Someone said recently it’s like Ottolenghi but better. Not only do we think what we’re doing is tasty, but we’ve kept our prices reasonable too because we’re aware we’re trying something different.”
The team, of Charlene Gavazzi-Smith and Robbie Grantham-Wise relaunched Canteen in April after spending months over lockdown trialling dishes.
“We spent a long time coming up with a concept,” reveals Sam. “Something no one else is doing in Suffolk. We’ve all travelled extensively and have brought our experiences to the table. We came from the point of wanting to be local, seasonal and sustainable. Neither of our chefs lacks imagination, they spark off one another, and I think they’ve come up with something really special.”
Especially when it comes to brunch, which has just launched, available from 11am to 3pm.
“We’re working with producers like Wakelyns for our bread, High House for our fruit, fishmongers in Felixstowe. I just don’t think there’s anything else like it around here,” adds Sam.
Alongside cocktails such as the Sapling Bloody Mary (made with Sapling vodka, which plants a tree for every bottle sold), you’ll be able to feast on buttermilk scones with Fen Farm raw butter, Rusty Pig black pudding with smoked apple ketchup and poached egg, oyster and field mushrooms with kale and toast, spent coffee smoked chalk stream trout with soft boiled egg, horseradish curd and toasted walnut bread, and grilled Keen’s Cheddar and kimchi toastie.
And that’s before you get to the cake counter, which changes regularly, to include joyful slices such as the very popular rich, dense chocolate cake, pumpkin curd baked cheesecake, tea boiled fruit cake and more.
“I think one of our USPs,” says Sam, “as well as the uniqueness of this menu and food, is customers being able to sit in such a fantastic building where they can shop for lovely things too. It's experiential. We have something truly different here. And we’ve got a really great clientele of regulars who love it. It's a bit like Cheers,” she laughs, “everyone knows your name. And everyone is very welcome.”
In addition to the new Sunday experience, Canteen has been selling out and creating waiting lists for its pop-up dining collaborations, which have included Korean evenings, and Greek food with chef Maria Elia.
“We should have had 40 people for the first one – we had 66! Hopefully we’ll have one or two a month going forward. It’s been phenomenal. We put out the dates and 10 minutes later we’ll be nearly full. It really is such a different atmosphere here in the evenings. When it gets dark it feels like a completely different place.”
Keep your eye on New Street Market’s social media accounts for details of up-coming pop-ups. And Sam invites chefs who’d like to collaborate on pop-ups next year to get in touch.
Reservations for brunch and lunch are recommended, by calling 01394 388668.
“We can’t wait to see what people think of our new menu,” says Sam. “It’s a bit surreal. Back in the day I invested in a restaurant of a friend’s in New York and I always wanted my own place, so this is a bit of a dream for me. I’m loving it.”