Leah Larwood is delighted by the restaurant in this charming hotel near Bury St Edmunds
Recently my Mum and I stayed at the All Saints Hotel for a mini spa break – and I must admit, the food took us by surprise. We were expecting hearty and tasty gastro grub but we didn’t bargain for so much of it though. If you’re in the area, regardless of your interest in golf, you must visit for the food.
The View Restaurant is located within the All Saints Hotel near Bury St Edmunds. As the name suggests, the restaurant is broad and spacious with far-reaching views of the hotel’s beautiful golf course. There’s an easy-going atmosphere throughout the hotel and the staff are very friendly. The dining room is modern and the décor in the lounge areas contain subtle steampunk influences.
First impressions of the menu and surroundings might lead you to expect a hearty plate of steak and chips and plenty of other comfort foods. Yet the actual menu is full of well-put-together dishes that are thoughtful, bursting flavour, made with fresh local ingredients and larger servings than you’d expect.
After checking in around mid-afternoon, we fancied something sweet while we read the papers. We ordered a pot of tea and one of the puddings from the menu. The Banana Tea Loaf with Homemade Toffee Ice Cream and Caramelised Banana £7 soon arrived and it was a very classy twist on a classic.
We expected something a little stodgy but plated up was something very different. “The best banana bread pud I’ve tasted” – my Mum’s words and my thoughts as I tucked into the light cake with a caramelised date flavour. The toffee cream piped topping really added a layer of creaminess and the flaked almonds and candid pistachios gave texture and complementary flavours to the dish. The home-made caramel ice cream was good and the perfectly caramelised banana was firm and full of flavour – delicious dipped into streaks of the toffee sauce. There was lots going on to keep us very interested!
After a walk in the grounds, twelve laps of the hotel’s pool and a rejuvenating treatment in the spa, we were ready for more food.
Take a look at the restaurant’s menu and you’ll spot classic dinner dishes such as Whole Grilled Suffolk Lobster (£32) next to more modern dishes with a local twist such as Blythburgh Pig Cheek Tagine (£16).
Each and every dish has something that elevates it to the next level.
Here, the attention to detail is second-to-none, which reflects our experience from other parts of the hotel: The rooms were spotlessly clean, as was the restaurant, and the food – we were impressed by the presentation here too. (I’m going to start a rumour and suggest that the head chef and general manager may both be Virgos!)
Back to the food…
We were actually ravenous and asked for some bread to go with our Prosecco. The Bread Platter For One: Homemade Focaccia Bread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic and Roasted Garlic (£3). Thick wedges of extremely fresh doughy bread, served slightly charred from the griddle, which gave it a smoky crust. Delicious!
My Mum opted for the Suffolk Asparagus: Parmesan Cream and Nettle Pesto (£8). She allowed me a taste. The asparagus was plump, slightly firm, full of flavour and local. The Parmesan cream was a very welcome accompaniment, the nettle pesto was rich and earthy. The ‘umbrella on top’ – a Parmesan crisp – added texture and flavour. A really well-rounded dish.
I chose the Heritage Tomato Chicory: Olive, Goats Curd, Basil Salad (£7). At first, I was concerned I’d chosen a conservative and potentially bland dish. I didn’t need to worry. It was a feast for the eyes and the ingredients were so clean and light yet packed with flavour – I could have eaten more. The fried black olives were creamy and rich and had beautifully bold flavour combined with the fresh curd and tangy tomatoes.
For the main, my Mum ordered the Denham Lamb Rump: Courgette Stew, BBQ Aubergine Puree, Potato Terrine, Broad Bean and Mint (£24). She reported that the potato terrine was buttery and dense, the broad bean topping, a nutty rich addition and the lamb was tender and full of flavour. The only slight hesitation was the sauce that was slightly too salty for her.
I really enjoyed the Cod Fillet: White Artichoke Soup, Brown Shrimps, Asparagus (£16). Flaky pieces of fresh fish and a subtle but slightly zingy artichoke ‘soup’ was really tasty with the brown shrimps that gave the dish a satisfying edge.
I’m surprised we had room after the generous-sized portions on offer, but we saw things to the end with a Dark Chocolate Mousse: English Cherries and Cherry Sorbet (£8). With a slightly bitter cherry edge, this worked very well with the richness of the sweet mousse. The highlight – not the cherry – the light-as-a-feather Aero-style chocolate on top. My only complaint, there was so much of it, I couldn’t finish it.
I was very envious of Mum’s Apple Tart Tatin: Vanilla Ice Cream and Calvados (£7). So she allowed me to dive in. The pastry was thick, flaky and delicious – the flavour of the toffee absolutely perfect and the apples were ever-so-slightly firm. Not mushy and over-cooked, which is sometimes the case with this dish. She considered this a little too sweet, but not for me.
We did, however, both agree this was our favourite dish of the day, second to the Banana Tea Loaf. What can I say, we are a family of sweet tooths!
Overall, we were mightily impressed by the food: For its thoughtfulness, freshness and perfect presentation. Not to mention such brilliant service from the staff. It’s the sort of place you wish you lived nearer to and a restaurant you could visit regularly without concern about quality or satisfaction. It’s certainly a spot for big appetites – no doubt part of the plan, perfectly designed for hungry golfers and spa goers!
The View at All Saints Hotel
Fornham St. Genevieve, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6JQ
Tel: 01284 706 777