Reviewer Mark Heath returns with his monthly food column, featuring trips to Lark in Bury St Edmunds, Restaurant 22 in Cambridge and the newly-opened Roots Cafe on the Rougham Estate...

Hello friends, and welcome to November. I hope October was kind to you, and featured plenty of good food.

I'm currently on a bit of a hot streak with my dining destinations, so I thought I'd kick off this month with a recommendation or two.

Firstly, I finally made it to Lark, in Bury St Edmunds, at the start of October.

Much excited prose has already been penned about what has fast-become Suffolk's hottest new restaurant - including from the likes of celebrity reviewer Jay Rayner - and I'm happy to say that all those reports are spot on.

Ipswich Star: We had a wonderful meal at the diminutive Lark, in Bury St EdmundsWe had a wonderful meal at the diminutive Lark, in Bury St Edmunds (Image: Mark Heath)
We had a wonderful meal, with the Angel Hill all lit up and twinkling outside. Hopefully you saw my review, but if not, I'm here to tell you that Lark is a special little place.

Housed in a former bus shelter, it might be the smallest restaurant I've ever been to - but James Carn and his team have got it punching well above its weight.

Get yourself down there, order the cacio e pepe and the parmesan fougasse and thank me later.

Having dined like a king at Lark, I headed to Cambridge's newest Michelin-starred eatery, Restaurant 22, on Saturday.

Talk about keeping the hits coming! This, too, was sensational.

Ipswich Star: Restaurant 22 in Cambridge is exceptionalRestaurant 22 in Cambridge is exceptional (Image: Mark Heath)
Sam Carter's food is beautiful to look at, exciting and interesting, while the restaurant itself is verily cosy and inviting, akin to walking into someone's house.

That's because 22 is essentially just that, a house - the main dining room is where you'd expect the living room to be, with a smaller secondary dining room upstairs in what one imagines was once the master bedroom.

They only offer one sitting and if you go in the evening you're getting the full tasting menu, which means you have plenty of time to really enjoy the night and let it wash over you.

We booked for 7.30pm and were the last to depart at 10.40pm, which gives you an idea of  the experience which awaits.   

Highlights for us included the monkfish with Thai chilli, the squab pigeon main course and the almost too pretty to eat Bramley apple dessert.

Ipswich Star: Look at this Bramley apple dessert! Look at this Bramley apple dessert! (Image: Mark Heath)
As you'd expect for Michelin-starred dining, it's serious coin - £130pp for the tasting menu - but as an experience it's hard to fault.

Part of that was the unbelievable service, often the thing which sets a great restaurant apart from the merely good.

The team at 22 work with an almost telepathic co-ordination and understanding, as well as being super friendly and knowledgeable - demonstrated when, upon hearing we were from Bury, one of our waitresses exclaimed 'Ah, that's where Lark is!'

We felt looked after and valued every step of the way, which is exactly what top tier hospitality is all about.

To cap my month of epicurean escapades, I trundled to the newly-opened and hotly-anticipated Roots Cafe at the Rougham Estate with my parents on Monday.

Delighted to have finally secured a table at the fourth time of asking - Roots is so popular in the early going that wait times have been up to an hour so far - it's fair to say our initial impressions were mixed.

Ipswich Star: Roots Cafe looks crackingRoots Cafe looks cracking (Image: Mark Heath)
It looks great, very modern and stylish with a chic outside seating area which will be lovely in the spring/summer.

But were were disappointed to be told initially that there were no gluten-free options for my mum and frankly baffled when informed that we could only have whole milk or oat milk with our drinks. For health reasons, my old man is on a low-fat diet and thus asked for skimmed milk.

Had things remained like that, it would probably have been our first and last trip to Roots but - in another reminder of the importance of service - a waitress saved the day.

She disappeared into the bowels of the building to find my mum a gluten-free brownie - which she then knocked off the bill - and explained that they've been recommended to only use whole milk with their posh coffee machines.

While I'm not entirely sure of the logic for the latter, it was a great example of good service turning round an otherwise negative experience.

So thank you, Carla - I hope you have a cracking birthday in Iceland!

Ipswich Star: My Victoria sponge and cappucino at the Roots CafeMy Victoria sponge and cappucino at the Roots Cafe (Image: Mark Heath)
For the record, my cappuccino was good and Victoria sponge delicious. I'll be heading back to Roots next year for a proper review, once they've had time to sort out their teething issues - which are to be expected with any new venture.

Tasting notes

- More exciting occurrences in Bury, Suffolk's foodie capital, with news that pub group Gusto Pronto - which already owns five watering holes, a brewery and a wine shop in west Suffolk - has taken over the town's Damson & Wilde restaurant.

Housed in the iconic former Cafe Rouge building on Abbeygate Street, D&W only opened last September.

David and Roxane Marjoram, who own Gusto Pronto, said: "When offered the opportunity to add Damson & Wilde to our established hospitality group, we jumped at the chance

"We’re taking the reins from mid-November and you will immediately see the Gusto hospitality you know and love." 

Good luck, team.

- Ever wanted to have afternoon tea created for you by a star of the Great British Bake-Off?

Well you can at the Swan in Lavenham until November 26 - Andrew Smyth, who got to the final of the British institution in 2016, has teamed up with head chef Jon Ellis to offer the exclusive experience.

There's even a 'showstopper', which sounds tremendous. The afternoon tea will be served Monday to Saturday from 12noon until 4pm, and between 2.30pm and 4pm on Sundays.

- I've waxed lyrical previously about top talent Adam Spicer taking over at the Greyhound in Pettistree, which makes the Inn a must-visit.

Well, now they've launched a Sunday feasting menu for four guests - you can choose from things like a roast pig's head, whole braised lamb shoulder and lobster pie, with prices from £80-£120.

As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, that sounds absolutely perfect.

- If you want to be featured in tasting notes, or just talk food/drink with me, email me at