New grazing restaurant opening on Suffolk high street this week
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
“I’m so excited but, if I’m 100 per cent honest, I’m so nervous as well,” says Silas Teixeira, just a few days before opening his restaurant, The Graze Kitchen, on Newmarket’s high street this Friday.
“I can’t wait to be open, and to have customers in. We’ve already had lots of bookings. It’s just a dream.”
Silas has been working as a general manager in hospitality for over a decade but has always yearned for his own place. “A few things set me back, like Covid, but now I feel good, it feels like the time is right to do something on my own and to be my own boss.”
The premises of the restaurant have been vacant for more than two years, and were previously a warehouse clearance shop, and before that an estate agent.
“It’s a prime position,” adds Silas. “We’re right in the middle of the town.”
Grazing boards have become big business. During lockdown many people ordered charcuterie boxes direct to their doors, and a whole new sector in the food delivery world was born. Yet, besides the odd pub cured meat platter, there hasn’t been an explosion of neighbourhood grazing restaurants, which Silas finds surprising.
“It’s a really sociable way to eat. When I go out for dinner, I’ll always order a grazing board if there is one. It’s a nice thing to share, and that’s what we want to do here. I like things that are a bit different and quirky. There’s nothing else like this locally.”
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The eatery is open from 12noon to 10.30pm, seven days a week, with covers for 36 in the downstairs dining room, eight outside, and more once the upstairs area opens in the future.
Every single part of the building has been refurbished, with multiple bespoke and handmade fittings and fixtures in place.
“We’ve gone for a soft approach with the design,” says Silas. “A lot of our colour schemes are off-white, which pairs with our branding, and we’ve got some lovely artwork coming in which tells a story and links to our dishes.
“A lot of work has gone into this. We took down a wall to expose the kitchen, there’s nice wooden cladding on the walls, industrial-style lights have gone up, and a good friend of mine made quite a few things to measure.
“I’m really pleased with our furniture, which just arrived. Brown leather Wolfgang chairs, custom-built oak tables with black hairpin legs. And we’re going to install in the front window a breakfast bar table with bar stools. It’s coming together nicely.”
A single menu spans the day, from lunchtime into the evening, starting with small plates, such as bruschetta, crostini and, Silas’ favourite – flaming chourico (chorizo), which he thinks is unique to The Graze Kitchen in Suffolk.
“It’s a traditional Portuguese chourico. It’s quite simple, but we bring it to the table in a clay dish with a bit of alcohol at the bottom, slice it (but not all the way through) and light it at the table. It cooks in a couple of minutes.”
Meat, cheese, mixed, vegan and veggie boards are the focal point of the restaurant – each coming with two types of cracker or biscuit, sourdough bread, dried fruits, olives, nuts and edible flowers, as well as hummus, chutney and honey (depending on which you’ve ordered).
“There won’t be any gaps on the boards,” Silas jokes. “They’ll be completely full up. If you go for the meat board that includes eight different meats, and the traditional sharing board will have five meats, and five cheeses.
“We’re working with a supplier who imports charcuterie direct from Italy twice a week. It's very high quality, and as far as I know, apart from one other business in Suffolk, they are almost entirely exclusive to us.”
The menus are refreshingly small, to allow the team to bed-in and get into the swing of service. This includes the dessert offerings of either Eton Mess with pistachios and cranberries, gluten-free brownies made by Simply Cake Co in King’s Lynn, ice cream from Saffron Walden, or peanut cheesecake.
“As we grow, the menu will grow,” explains Silas. “We want to make sure we’re consistent and everyone’s happy before we do anything else.”
A drinks list has been compiled in collaboration with Grape Passions in Essex, a company Silas has worked with many times before. From them, he has sourced bold, full-bodied wines that will stand up to cheese and cured meat – largely from South Africa, New Zealand and Spain.
He is also one of the only local stockists of Grape Passions’ new Coastal Reach gin, and Coastal Reach pinot noir rose wine. “It’s delicious.”
Diners can celebrate with a bottle of fizz, or order a cocktail, with classics such as the espresso martini and negroni sitting shoulder to shoulder on the menu with white Port and lemon, and an elderflower spritz.
Find out more in Instagram at The Graze Kitchen Ltd.