Suffolk private members’ club opens restaurant to the public 

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen - Credit: Contributed

Did you know you can eat, drink...and chill...at Retreat East?

Originally launched as a private members’ club, with a spa, and accommodation across a series of beautiful converted barns, today the venue welcomes everyone to enjoy the fruits of its labour – offering menus filled with home-grown and local ingredients. You can even organise a spa day or treatment to tag onto your visit. 

“People can book seven days a week,” says Steph Jones from the Retreat East team. “It’s such a lovely place for locals to come. They can just walk in, but we do advise bookings, especially for lunch as we have a special offer running Monday to Friday of two courses for £20 or three for £25. On Sundays there’s always a Sunday lunch menu with a choice of roasts too. 

“It’s an idyllic setting and head chef Dan is incredible. He has such a passion and creative flair for putting together the dishes. They always look so impressive – everything I’ve tried so far has been amazing. This is much more than just a meal. People can come and have a walk here before or after lunch, and we have a farm shop too, serving cake and tea and coffee – lots of mums come in with their children for brunch.” 

A dessert at Retreat East

A dessert at Retreat East - Credit: Contributed

The kitchen garden at Retreat East

The kitchen garden at Retreat East - Credit: Contributed

Regular workshops take place at Retreat East from painting, to yoga, with a two-course lunch in the restaurant included. 

The Great Barn is a triple height space, filled not only with dining set-ups, but with sofas too – perfect says Steph, for bunkering down in the cooler months when the fireplace is roaring. There’s a bar, and an al fresco terrace, where you might catch a glimpse of the chefs carrying their own, freshly-picked produce back to the kitchen. 

Menus change with the seasons.  

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At breakfast, tuck into a full English (a vegan version is available), smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, or potato rosti with wild mushrooms and poached eggs. 

Lunch could be Suffolk ale battered cod with triple cooked chips, peas and tartare sauce, local sausages with creamy mash, peas and red onion gravy, or the Retreat East house salad of poached king prawns, crispy bacon, salt and pepper cashew nuts, sun blush tomatoes, sourdough croutons and blue cheese dressing. 

And dinner is served Monday to Saturday, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. 

Inside the Great Barn at Retreat East

Inside the Great Barn at Retreat East - Credit: Contributed

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen - Credit: Contributed

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen - Credit: Contributed

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen

A dish from Retreat East's kitchen - Credit: Contributed

Start with barbecued duck breast with purple sprouting broccoli, pak choi, mandarina and sesame dressing, or Colchester mussels in a light almond curry sauce. 

In the middle, options could include Suffolk lamb cutlets with lamb shoulder shepherd’s pie, pea and mint tartlet and wild garlic ketchup, or butter roasted monkfish with Jersey Royals, peas, leeks and caper butter. 

Round off supper with a banana and spiced rum baked Alaska with caramelised pecans and smoked caramel sauce, or white chocolate mousse with blueberries and passionfruit curd. 

Tempted to stay? 

“We’ve got a huge selection of accommodation,” says Steph. “It was originally a dairy farm and the owner converted the buildings. We’ve got a big farmhouse that sleeps eight, and lots of different barns sleeping between two and four.” New places to stay are being launched imminently on site. 

Prices start at £130 per night, including access to the facilities – from a steam room, sauna and outdoor jacuzzi in the spa area, to complimentary bike hire. 

“Everything the owners have done here is super-luxurious,” Steph adds. “It really is a stunning place.” 

Find out more and book a table for the restaurant, or accommodation (or both) at retreateast.co.uk