Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Restaurant review: Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

This place oozes ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’. A 17th century converted watermill in a tiny village not far from Cambridge, where pig farms appear to be the only sign of industry for miles.

It describes itself as rustic chic. Whilst this is an admittedly well-worn concept, Tuddenham Mill does it very well.

It does it with a bit more capaciousness than you might be used to.
We had a room of massive proportions in a spick and span outbuilding, with a lovely terrace and complimentary sloe-gin.
You have to love a place that encourages you to check in and drink sloe-gin before dinner time (or at least that’s how we interpreted the freebie).

Courtesy of Tuddenham Mill
The gorgeous exterior made me think of Grand Designs. "Today, we're in Suffolk meeting the couple who gave up lucrative careers in the city of London, to come to the sticks to do up this 17th century watermill."

The restaurant here used to be presided over by Paul Foster, who trained under Sat Bains. Paul Foster recently moved to Mallory Court in Warwickshire – another chocolate box hotel in a rural setting - and the kitchen is now run by Lee Bye, who was his sous chef.

The staff were pleasant throughout but there was the odd service bum-note that gave the impression the hotel had only just opened (it hasn’t).
For pre-dinner drinks we sat in the bar next to the mill’s water-wheel. Whilst highly pleasing to the eye, the bar smelt a little damp and our cocktail waiter didn’t know what a Negroni was, which raised an eyebrow.

I had the glazed monk cheek with coppa to start followed by the Dingley Dell pork chop.  
Sartre had the beef shin carpaccio to start followed by duck breast and roasted chervil roots.
The food is presented on plates that are clean and pretty, and the ingredients were expertly handled and tasted local and delicious.

Although there were about ten other tables that night, the dining room’s downside is that it’s serious and hushed.

The food’s well worth the trip and Tuddenham Mill is a pleasing little bolt-hole to discover.

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