"This is hands down one of the best breakfasts I've eaten in Suffolk"
PUBLISHED: 09:30 23 February 2019
Our food and drink editor was unsure what to expect of this new brunch and breakfast menu, but was pleasantly surprised.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m one of the first to hold my hands up and say I’m pretty rubbish at eating in the morning. The best I can do midweek is a pot of fruit grabbed from my fridge in the morning, or maybe a cereal bar.
Come the weekend though I want pancakes oozing maple syrup and salty, fatty bacon. I want blueberry muffins with marmalade. Thickly buttered rounds of toast. And sausage sandwiches. Joy. But not until at least 10am please!
Brunch has become a buzzword for many cafes, restaurants and pubs, and I’m seeing more and more spots expanding on their morning offering. In fact, I reckon brunch will end up being as popular as, if not more than, afternoon tea.
Last week I was invited to The Cookhouse at Suffolk Food Hall to try out their brand spanking new breakfast/brunch menu. Now this is the kind of place I’d expect breakfast to be a USP. They’ve got loads of space, a decent flow of customers through the morning, and all that great quality raw produce to hand.
We’ve got previous, The Cookhouse and I. I reviewed it a couple of years ago and gave it not such a glowing report. But since then the kitchen team has changed and I’ve had some pretty decent food in the restaurant. I admit though, to having mixed feelings about what to expect at breakfast.
First impressions were good. The bright, expansive dining area’s been made ‘cosier’ by adding in some bench seating, which breaks up the otherwise sparse space. It was packed on a mid-week morning at 10am. Families with young children. Couples. Even some business meetings.
The menu was impressive and it was encouraging to see they’ve finally put the provenance of everything smack bang in your face. A quick glance reveals the bread is made on site every day with Marriage’s flour, the beef is their own Red Poll herd, and eggs are fresh as a daisy from Gate Farm in Flowton.
There was something for everyone on there – steak and eggs with homemade potato cake, eggs and tomato, beef and sweet potato hash, vegan hash, veggie hash, pancakes, granola, eggs Benedict with the kitchen’s own ham. We were salivating.
Drinks-wise it’s nice to see some local additions on the listing, including several juices from Stoke Farm Orchards, proper lemonade from Appletree Hill, and even some quirky sounding guest beers – but it was way too early for that.
We ordered decaf tea and a latte which arrived quickly. My only gripe was the latte was served too hot (yes, that’s a thing) so some of its intrinsic flavour was lost. Suffolk folk are becoming keen coffee aficionados so that’s something they might want to look at.
When it came to the food however, I found pretty much everything faultless. Eggs Royale promised so much, but could it deliver? After all, there’s nowhere to hide when it comes to eggs and hollandaise sauce. It was excellent. A fluffy halved muffin, melting poached eggs, house made hot smoked salmon flaked into generous pieces with a delicacy to the smoke, and a near perfect hollandaise, all buttery, smooth and creamy, with a pinch of acidity.
The best way though to judge any breakfast joint is by that most classic of plates –the full English. A dish to drool over when done well, but one that, poorly cooked, can be one of the biggest dining disappointments of all.
Just shy of £13, the Farmer’s plate at Suffolk Food Hall is definitely on the pricier end of the scale, but I have to give them credit because it was one of the most memorable breakfasts I’ve had for a long time, anywhere.
So, what does the princely sum of £12.95 get you?
Well first of all there were top marks for nice presentation and the fact the plate was almost spotless. No vat of grease pooling around the eggs.
What I got was two rashers of the food hall’s own smoked back bacon, cooked just how I like it, with the fat all rendered down, golden and nommy. Added to those, two of the shop’s finest, meaty bangers, two sunny side up eggs, all dippy and runny in the middle, a grilled mushroom and tomato, baked beans, black pudding and the hidden delight of a homemade potato cake underneath. Oh, there was a round of toast on top too.
With a twist of pepper over the top I was away. A crackling little (large) breakfast that and it comes with my fussy seal of approval.
Breakfast/brunch is served every day until 11.30am.