New brewery restaurant opens for tapas nights, afternoon tea and more
- Credit: Danielle Booden
There’s an all-round sense of newness at St Peter’s Brewery in South Elmham near Bungay.
Earlier this year the business was sold for an undisclosed sum to private investors, headed up by CEO Derek Jones.
And more recently, just last week in fact, a brand new restaurant has opened at 13th Century St Peter’s Hall.
Trio’s is an extension of Natalie Creegan’s catering business which, pre and post-Covid had been rapidly outgrowing its original premises.
“We’d been looking for a long time for a new space pre-Covid,” says Natalie. “I’d run it all from home before but we completely ran out of room. Obviously the pandemic hit, so everything went on the backburner. But as soon as I saw the brewery had new owners I got in touch straight away to say I was interested. I love it. It's a brilliant building I knew could work well for us.”
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As starting any new venture, there were a few details that needed fixing in the months before opening, with Natalie saying the venue needed quite a bit of TLC to bring it into the 21st century, while being sympathetic to the original features of the dining spaces.
“We just wanted to make it more appealing, and to highlight all the fantastic features. It’s not had much done to it for a long time and we completely refurbished. Every room has been redecorated. We went for strong heritage colours, and removed the heavy curtains. You couldn’t see the windows before, but now they’re beautifully on show.
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“It’s taken a lot of work and effort, but so far we’ve had a really really good response to what we’ve done. We were worried about what local people would think, but we had an open day before the launch and the feedback was good. Quite a few customers have already rebooked.”
Trio’s is not, adds Natalie, your typical, run-of-the-mill café. Harnessing the experience from her catering business, the aim at the restaurant is to bring a bit of playfulness and excitement to the dining room.
So, as well as serving tea, coffee, cakes, snacks and lunches from Thursday to Saturday, every Friday is tapas night, with a menu of Spanish and British inspired small plates –and live music.
There’s a five-course themed tasting menu on the first and third Saturday of each month.
And even desserts come with a genius twist. “All our puddings are miniature in size,” explains Natalie. “So you can order two, three, five or even all seven. It means you don’t have to pick just one.”
“Our expertise is events so we wanted to try something new here. Instead of just a normal restaurant in the evening, focussing on putting on some great events. We’ve already had a tapas and tasting menu night and everyone loved them.”
The novelty of these experiences doesn’t come at the expense of quality either.
“Something that’s really important to us is to use as much as we can from our suppliers nearby. We try to source all our meat locally. We have a big focus on using Norfolk and Suffolk cheeses. And we had to use St Peter’s beer in our menu. We have a St Peter’s beer bread we make. Also one of our pies is made with the brewery’s beer.”
Typical dishes served during the day at Trio’s (all homemade), include a range of freshly-made sandwiches, dirty fries, a St Peter’s pie of braised beef, shallot and Suffolk Gold ale with creamed leek and cauliflower, mash and green veg, spiced lentil moussaka, and Thai noodle salad.
There are also meat, vegetarian and fish grazing platters, portioned for one, or for two to share.
“We’re trying to adapt and cover a lot of bases,” says Natalie, “whether you just want a cup of tea and a sausage roll after a brewery tour, or a larger meal before you go on one of the walks from the grounds, which are lovely. The grazing plates are nice to share –I think they’re going to be popular.”
The meat grazing platter includes Suffolk cured meats, smoked duck liver parfait, quail Scotch egg, marinated chicken skewers and anti pasti.
As for those desserts – pick and choose between dark chocolate truffle tart, lemon and blueberry cheesecake, raspberry Bakewell and more.
On the tapas menu, expect morsels such as lamb croquettes with mint salsa verde, Suffolk Gold cheese wrapped in Parma ham with olive tapenade, Suffolk Chorizo sauteed in red wine, garlic and honey, and salt cod fritters with slow roasted tomato and red pepper coulis and anchovies. There are plenty of vegetarian options, and dishes range from £4.95 to £6.95.
Then there’s supper club. The October menu (£45) has been themed around the South of France. Highlights include fougasse bread with olives, sea bream with samphire, black olive and caper tapenade and bouillabaisse sauce, and pan-fried confit duck, with duck leg croquette, potato terrine and Savoy.
Trio’s offers afternoon tea too. Pre-bookable only, and served between 3pm and 5pm. Every item is made fresh for your visit, from neatly cut sandwiches, to homemade pastries, scones, cakes, a mini posset with shortbread, and your choice of tea or coffee.
“We’re really excited and positive about this move,” says Natalie. “We haven’t really promoted ourselves yet and the bookings are flying in!”
Trio’s is open from 10am to 5pm Thursday to Saturday (lunch 12noon to 3pm), tapas is from 7pm to 11pm on Fridays, and supper club is the first and third Saturday of the month.
For bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org