An invitation to review Giraffe in Bury St Edmunds solved my Wednesday night supper dilemma last week. It's in a part of town that I don't really go to, by the muliplex cinema. I prefer the Abbeygate Cinema with its' arty films and live streamed National Theatre performances. Anyway, I digress ... Giraffe was extremely quiet and to be honest a little chilly but Ben and Lauren who were serving kept it lively and upbeat and chatted to us, providing a great, without being overbearing, service. Well done to them, because it's hard when you are working in a quiet restaurant to keep some pace going. I'd taken Mr SuffolkFoodie so I thought that a steak would be inevitable; he always hones in on meat, being a South African. I actually think South African food will trend at some point soon, so was hoping that the menu might reflect this part of the world, especially with a name like Giraffe, but no Bunny Chow on this occasion. Mr SF chose a Chilli Beef Burrito, which he enjoyed. I had the Lamb Tagine which was a very generous portion and not shy with the meat. It arrived with some ceremony as the lid of the tagine was lifted, tah dah, revealing the dish scattered with tasty pistachios and pomegranate seeds. The blend of meat, spice and apricot was excellent, with a great depth of flavour and assured by Ben, had been made in house. For pudding, as I always enjoy something sharp and fruity, I went for the best option which was a white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived with a fresh passion fruit drizzled across the top and not a smear of coulis in sight. A good meal, and definitely worth taking a look at if you want to take children out for a meal (kids eat free) or want a good breakfast before noon. I've been hearing good things about their £5 breakfast deal.
We love the Rural Coffee Caravan. For the past 14 years it has been touring villages across Suffolk offering tea, coffee and company to people living in rural isolation. The charity visits more than 70 villages, some where there is no where to meet anymore and where the more elderly villagers just find it hard to get out and about. As well as refreshments it offers an information service, a bit like a CAB on wheels. You can imagine how sad we all were to hear that the caravan has been stolen. Fundraising is well on the way to help with a replacement caravan. Here is the link if you are able to donate.
We are loving the look of the new café at Framlingham Castle which has opened following a major revamp by English Heritage. The menu includes Suffolk Grumbly, a regional dish made with sausage meat and a mustard and cheese sauce, and a Tudor Tarte Owte of Lent, made with ingredients you’re not allowed to eat during Lent – cheese, cream and eggs; cooked in a light pastry case. Lots of other local produce too, including Maynards juices, milk and cream from the Marybelle Dairy in Halesworth and beer from St Peter’s Brewery.
- beautifully incorporated modern facilities in the castle
- family friendly cafe
- delicious home made cakes
Actually it doesn't need to be ice cream weather to enjoy a visit to Hadley's Parlour in Lavenham. We went on rather a chilly day but enjoyed tasting a selection of the handmade icecreams that really do offer satisfying, smooth and creamy flavours using locally sourced Fen Farm milk and cream, Elmsett Game Farm eggs, Maldon sea salt and Pump Street chocolate, to name a few. You can get very good coffee and mini cakes as well, if you are greedy like me.
Is this the best pub in Ipswich? An astonishing range of craft beers from around the world, a beer sommelier, gorgeous gins, street food on a Friday and the friendliest staff.
It's lovely to see a children's menu with mini portions from the main menu and not a breadcrumb, nugget or chip in sight. The Giggling Squid asked me to review their new children's menu which includes a selection of mild curries, finger food, noodles and rice dishes designed especially with "little people" in mind. I found a couple of little people (thank you Grace and Logan) and took them out for supper at the Bury St Edmunds branch. For £5.95 children get to choose two dishes each which come with free plain or sticky rice. Logan, who declared fussy eater status on arrival went for the Grilled Pork Skewers and Chicken Fried Rice, having first tucked into a bowl of the spicy prawn crackers. Grace with a more adventurous and self assured palate chose Spring Rolls and a Pad Thai with Prawns, which she declared as yummy. Sadly the roti pancakes were not available for pudding (an extra £2.00) but the icecream was, and arrived with some colourful slices of fresh fruit on the side. Portions are very generous, in fact possibly too large for smaller children, but parents can always help out!
- add prawn crackers for £2
- crayons and a colouring competition
- Grace chose Spring Rolls, Pad Thai Noodles with Prawns and Sticky Rice
- Logan chose Grilled Pork on Skewers, Chicken Fried Rice and Plain Rice
- add pudding for £2, ice cream comes with fresh fruit slices
- the restaurant
Cradle has got a real Hoxton/Shoreditch look about it and also the kind of place you could imagine finding Gwyneth or Madonna. The tiny cafe/bakery was buzzing with activity when we went for lunch last week and it's obviously quite the meeting place for the yummy mummies and the cool vegans of Sudbury. Simple and stylish, it's completely plant based with everything made from scratch on site, including nut butters and an excellent rooibos based fermented kombucha (so hipster, so refreshing). Bread is baked on site, with house milled rye, wheat and spelt flour used in the proper crusty loaves. There's also some very tempting patisserie on display. A small blackboard menu offers an interesting and surprisingly fancy range of dishes with thankfully no fakin' bacon but just prime, fresh ingredients superbly cooked.
- the kombucha story
- a simple blackboard menu
- a glass of kombucha and juice of the day (parsley,kale,apple, lemon and coco)
- kombucha fermenting
- pan fried polenta, spinach, bechamel and toasted hazelnuts
- pear danish pastry
- mushroom a la grecque with dill cream cheese, herbs on toasted sourdough - the house tartine
- drum roll please for a classic brioche Tropezienne with a creme anglaise ( and yes, even without eggs and cream it tasted better than most creme anglaises we've been served elsewhere)
- walnut and caramel tart with vanilla icecream
- hummus of wild garlic, half a loaf, olive oil and beet balsamic
Why are all the decent pubs I've been to recently near Woodbridge? Last week I took Mr SuffolkFoodie to The Turks Head for a late Sunday lunch, as I'd been invited by Jemima the owner. Jemima was actually away on holiday, so I was sorry not to meet her. Still, I admire an owner who offers a review meal and shows such enormous confidence in the staff ... and the staff were brilliant, all quite clearly trained in their roles, and friendly, without hovering or being stifling. The Turks Head is a family and dog friendly gastropub with the Hasketon countryside providing some great local walks. (Handy PDF downloads for 11 guided walks are provided on the website). Even at 5pm, on an early April evening, the terrace was busy with families who looked as though they were stopping for mid walk refreshments. There's also a proper pentanque pitch, which has been added to my list of 'must investigate further, it could be fun' activities. The Sunday lunch is a set menu of 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses £24. I was hoping to try the Gressingham duck steamed dumplings which apparantly are a favourite of the regulars, but they had eaten them all, and so the replacement dish was an oriental duck salad with hoisin, which came garnished with wafer thin hot and piquant pickled ginger. A Caesar style, wild turbot salad had crunchy homemade croutons, whole anchovy fritters and with a very generous amount of wild turbot soldiers, a novel and very good take on the classic version. Spotted also on the menu was a foraged nettle soup which sounded tempting. The head chef, Mauri is a classically French trained chef who was born in India and has worked in many high profile establishments, the menu reflecting his eclectic range of cooking styles from around the globe. The highlight dish of our lunch undoubtedly being a local venison bhuna masala with rice, papad and raita. It is probably the best curry I've had between Southall and Leicester with powerful spicing providing the punch required of a great curry. Tender, pink roast sirloin of beef was topped by an impressive and very large Yorkshire pudding and was served with side dishes of tomatoey ratatouille, roasted carrots, celeriac and a cauliflower cheese. We finished with a banoffee pie (Birdy our delightful waitress telling us that the customers had petitioned when the pudding had been removed from the menu, so now reinstated) and Hamish Johnston selected British cheeses, which included a Perl Las, a Godminster organic Cheddar and Ellingham goats cheese. Behind the bar is a great range of local cask ales and my favourite Aspalls cyder and notably an excellent range of interesting soft drinks for the driver. There are three sittings for Sunday lunch starting at 12 midday with the last sitting at 5pm.
- Dogs are welcome
- Oriental duck salad with hoisin
- Caesar style wild turbot salad, croutons, anchovies
- Roast sirloin of Suffolk beef, Yorkshire oudding, red wine gravy with lovely seasonal vegetables
- Local venison bhuna masala, rice, papad, raita
- Banoffee pie, toffee sauce, caramelised banana
- British cheeses from Hamish Johnston
- Families are welcome
- the dining room
What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.
Bang on at Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Tom's Salty Shack ...four fabulously fresh Mersea Island oysters and a glass of Prosecco. £8.00.
- and a glass of Prosecco
- dancing with the Morris Men later
- a bamboo plate of four fabulously fresh oysters
Always the best, authentic Caribbean food and in typical West Indian style not always the full menu available. But if you go on Nyammings Night (Thurs 5-10pm) you get all you can eat for about £20 which always includes delicious dishes like this curry goat, Johny Cakes and plantains.