Our food reviewer Mark Heath and his wife Liz headed to Lark Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds for a Thursday night dinner. Here's what he made of it...

Better late than never.

Back in March, I went under the knife for ACL surgery, rendering me fairly immobile for months.

Aside from the usual frustrations associated with such doings, sitting on the sideline pumped full of morphine with my knee in the air also meant I could only watch on with envious glances as friends, family and foodie-types headed to Bury's newest eatery, Lark.

READ MORE: Why we must cast off the chains and support Suffolk's buzzing food scene

And boy were the early reports good. I couldn't scroll through social media - something I was doing a lot in those long, boring weeks on the sofa - without seeing a post gushing about the place, from folks whose views I respect.

The buzz even drew the really big hitters, with celebrity food opiner Jay Rayner rocking up and thoroughly enjoying himself for the Guardian.

Ipswich Star: Lark Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds is tiny - in a good wayLark Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds is tiny - in a good way (Image: Mark Heath)
So, when we finally made it to Lark last week, I was in a position which I don't really enjoy being in - last to the party, with thousands of words of breathless prose already penned about the place I'd be reviewing.

But that also meant I was more excited than normal to head out, chow down and tell you what I think about it. So let's crack on, shall we?

The first thing that hits you about Lark is the size of the place. Or rather, the lack of it.

Tucked away in the top right corner of Bury's beautiful Angel Hill, Lark occupies the building I most remember as being a bus shelter, but was most recently in use as a florist.

It's tiny - I counted 20 covers, but I understand they can push the boat out to 23 if required.

Those diminutive dimensions immediately give it a feeling of uniqueness. I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant quite so small.

Nathan Outlaw's outstanding Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac runs it close, and Lark shares that same sort of feel - cosy, relaxed and, by virtue of the small number of fellow dinners, a bit special.

The interior is minimalist, with bare concrete floors and few fripperies, save a collection of cook books on shelves high above the dining room.

Ipswich Star: Chef James Carn and wife Sophia own and run LarkChef James Carn and wife Sophia own and run Lark (Image: Charlotte Bond)
I noticed an Outlaw tome up there - so maybe head chef and owner James Carn, formerly of Bury's Michelin-starred Pea Porridge and the excellent Tuddenham Mill, has indeed taken a bit of inspiration from the Fish Kitchen.

To the food, then. Lark's ethos is all about small plates and sharing food. Dishes are nominally grouped into starters, mains and sides on the menu but there are no rules - order what you want, eat it how you like.

We were advised that three of each was a good number to start with, and thus we went to work.

To begin, we went for the Padron peppers (£5), Coppa ham (£7) and fougasse bread (£5).

Ipswich Star: Our starters at Lark (clockwise from left): Fougasse bread, Coppa Ham and Padron peppers Our starters at Lark (clockwise from left): Fougasse bread, Coppa Ham and Padron peppers (Image: Liz Heath)
You're warned when you order that food comes out as and when, which I liked - less formal and more fun than the usual structured meal out.

We splashed out on a bottle of Gran Cerdo Rioja (£34) and, supping good red wine in our cosy confines with the Angel Hill all lit up and sparking outside, I have to say life felt pretty good.

Things improved further as our food arrived, the trio of plates (plus dipping oil) adding colour to our little table.

The starters we chose are, I believe, reflective of the spirit of Lark - on the face of it, simple, yet somehow so much more.

The green peppers were sweet, with a hint of spice, cooked so there was still a crunch, but soft enough to bite them off the stem easily.

The ham was delicious, slice after slice of salty, meaty, peppery goodness. And the bread, so simple yet perfectly baked and enhanced with a plunge into the oil.

Side note: We saw the bread with parmesan come out while we were eating - we'll definitely be having that next time.

Three dishes did indeed prove a good number to kick us off, with all three blending well when eaten together.

Ipswich Star: The cacio e pepe at Lark - sensational!The cacio e pepe at Lark - sensational! (Image: Liz Heath)
Next up, our main course choices. We stuck with the trio approach and plumped for the sopressini cacio e pepe (£19), duck breast with beetroot and black pudding (£20) and the pork belly with octopus (£22). Feeling fancy, we added a side of hash browns (£5 too).

Our cacio e pepe came out first, a rustic plate of hand rolled pasta, topped with grated cheese and a generous amount of English truffle.

Goodness me, what a dish. All we could do was grin at each other after the first bite, sharing the same sentiment - this was top tier eating.

Pasta rolled slightly thicker than you'd normally see, nice and al dente, with that wonderful creamy, cheesy sauce, lifted by the spice of the pepper and the umami depth of the truffle.

Ipswich Star: Our hash browns at LarkOur hash browns at Lark (Image: Liz Heath)
I generally try to avoid christening something as 'the best I've ever had' because it feels trite and corny - but I can't recall eating a better pasta dish. Again, simple, quality ingredients, crafted into something exceptional.

The duck breast and pork came out together, just as we were pondering whether we could lick the pasta plate clean in polite company.

These were good too, if not quite at the level of the pasta. 

Ipswich Star: The duck breast main at LarkThe duck breast main at Lark (Image: Liz Heath)
The duck was, as you'd expect, cooked to a perfect pink, with the skin rendered superbly. The beetroot was perhaps a touch hard, but added a nice earthy element, while the black pudding added texture and depth of flavour, with a tasty, rich sauce and the fresh crunch of a few radicchio leaves rounding the dish out nicely.

Pork belly is always a dish I order with a degree of trepidation, given the fat is often not rendered enough to eat enjoyably.

No such issues here, as the tender meat was topped with a delicious layer of crispy, salty crunchy crackling.

The octopus felt tough to cut but ate well, while the accompanying peppers, chilli jam and fennel added sweetness, a touch of spice and acidity too.

Ipswich Star: The pork belly main at LarkThe pork belly main at Lark (Image: Liz Heath)
This was top notch, confident cooking, with the extra social element of sharing your dishes and cooing over food as you try it together. Great fun.

A word too, for those hash browns. Another example of something simple being elevated to sensational - crunchy, fluffy little carbohydrate clouds. 

We'd normally have stopped there, but ploughed onwards to puddings with you in mind, dear reader.

Liz went for the Tosier chocolate, olive oil and cocoa nib tuile, while I chose the custard tart with stewed nectarines from the specials board.

At £12 each both were perhaps a little expensive, though they capped the meal well.

Ipswich Star: Liz's chocolate dessert at LarkLiz's chocolate dessert at Lark (Image: Liz Heath)
Liz's chocolate was dark and rich, offset by the unctuous oil and crunchy tuile, while my tart was beautifully made, delicately flavoured and boasted just the right amount of wobble.

Final notes, then. The service was friendly and knowledgeable - as you'd expect from an eatery which clearly has lofty ambitions - and they managed to feel unobtrusive, a nifty trick in a space so small.

Our meal came to £158 - including a discretionary 12.5% service charge - which is clearly on the more expensive end of things.

But this is a special night out sort of place and the food, with the possible exception of the desserts, felt worthy of the price tag. 

So, where does Lark sit within the already fairly spectacular Suffolk food scene?

Ipswich Star: My custard tart at Lark - just the right amount of wobbleMy custard tart at Lark - just the right amount of wobble (Image: Liz Heath)
Well, I'd say it's right at the top, up there with the likes of the aforementioned Pea Porridge and Tuddenham Mill.

It's different, fun and - given its size - unique.

A special little place.