Popular French pop-up restaurant to open at permanent home on Suffolk coast
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A popular French pop-up restaurant will open its doors at its new permanent home on the Suffolk coast this year.
In 2020, L'Escargot Sur-Mer opened at 152 High Street in Aldeburgh as a temporary restaurant as the London-based business looked to expand into the county.
After a successful launch, restaurateur George Pell revealed plans to open a hotel and diner at the site – and now an official opening date has been secured.
Reopening as The Suffolk from Tuesday, August 9, the historic building has undergone a "dramatic yet sensitive refurbishment" that diners will be able to experience when the restaurant flings open its doors.
Located in the heart of the seaside town, The Suffolk will become home to a 60-cover restaurant named Sur-Mer, a rooftop terrace complete with sea views, a bar, 12 and 24-seater private dining rooms and six "elegantly appointed" bedrooms.
Owner Mr Pell will be running front of house operations after spending the last 15 years working in some of London's most renowned restaurants, including Soho's L'Escargot.
Suffolk-based architect Charles Curry-Hyde and interior designer Kate Fulford have led the restoration of the former inn, which dates back to the 17th century, by creating an atmosphere that is "sympathetic" to the building's original details and is "reflective of Aldeburgh and surrounding areas".
Sur-Mer's menu will be seafood focussed and local producers such as smokehouse Pinneys of Orford and Sutton Hoo Chicken will provide ingredients for the dishes as well as local boats collecting fish and shellfish off the coast.
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Main course options will include lobster bisque with crab toast, razor clams with avruga and sorrel and barbecued monkfish tail with samphire butter among others.
The bar and rooftop terrace will also serve smaller plates designed for sharing and there will be a separate Sunday lunch menu featuring sharing dishes such as Gressingham Duck with plum sauce.
Head chef James Jay was born in Suffolk and ran the the recent pop up at New Street Market in Woodbridge as well as being head chef at The Anchor for ten years.
The "concise but thoughtful" wine list features mainly French wines starting at £24 for a bottle and £6 for a glass, with the cocktail menu serving local favourites such as a 'coastal martini'.
Mr Pell said: “I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring the sense of life and purpose back to this great building and make it, once again, the heartbeat of Aldeburgh.
"For me, this is the realisation of a childhood dream to have a restaurant beside the sea and the fact we’re opening in Aldeburgh is such a treat, there is truly nowhere else like it on the planet.
"The Suffolk will be a place for the locals to enjoy - to treat as their own; to read the paper and have a glass of wine in but it should also be special enough to make people want to travel to enjoy a long leisurely lunch with a lobster and chips.
"The team and I can’t wait to welcome our first guests in August.”
The Suffolk's six uniquely designed en-suite bedrooms will open to the public in early September.