You Unplugged

Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

A Lesson in Fine Dining at Tuddenham Mill Hotel

Eating a meal in the company of Tuddenham Mill's sous chef Stuart Drake is an education. He is a mine of foodie information and provides us with a running commentary throughout the three courses, which is both informative and amusing.

His narrative is full of anecdotes and tidbits of information, (such as the location of a vending machine, of all things, from which you can buy excellent Suffolk cheeses) and his passion for everything food-related is evident.

Exterior of Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

As we munch our way through one delicious dish after another, he explains where the food is produced (locally mostly, and much of it from the hotel's own allotment); how the menus are constructed (according to what is available each season); and how each of the dishes is prepared, including the hotel's famous 'Clem's Carrots' whose complicated preparation of peeling, polishing and marinating makes them exquisitely sweet and buttery.

Food at Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

I was invited to stay at Tuddenham Mill with a group of journalists taking part in Visit Suffolk's outdoor adventure itinerary: 48 Hours in The Brecks.

The four star boutique hotel, is about ten miles north east of Bury St Edmunds and is perfectly placed to explore nearby Thetford Forest and the surrounding area.

Our first day on the Brecks trip had been a good one, with an excellent lunch at The Leaping Hare restaurant at Wyken Hall Vineyard, followed by a bushcraft skills workshop and meditation walk through the forest at Brandon Country Park. After all that fresh air, the promise of a delicious meal and overnight stay in this luxury hotel was very welcome indeed.

Champagne at Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk (c) Tuddenham Mill

Under the leadership of Chef Patron Lee Bye, the restaurant at Tuddenham Mill has received a clutch of accolades, including an entry in the Good Food Guide for 2018 (having won their Editor's Award for 'Best Set Lunch in the UK' in 2015) and is one of their highest scoring eateries in Suffolk. It has also been given three AA rosettes; a highly coveted award, currently held by only two restaurants in the county (the other is The Great House Hotel and Restaurant in Lavenham).

Lee is justifiably proud of these achievements: “It is great for the team” he says, “ they are being recognised for their commitment and hard work; it is a very special team we now have here at the Mill.”

Dinner at Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

Lee joined the hotel as Head Chef in 2014 and was promoted to Chef Patron in June 2017, with responsibility for managing the hotel and restaurant. His plan is to keep developments at a steady pace. “We want to continue to build the customer base, while continuing to strive for excellence, and nurture talent through the business.”

Growing their own produce is important to Lee and he loves being able to step outside to pick vegetables from the allotment. “It adds more layers to what we can offer at the Mill” he says, “and it gives the guys [in the kitchen] a real purpose with their ingredients. It really is special to be able to pull veg off the allotment and prepare and cook it at lunchtime and dinner.”

Lee Bye, Chef Patron at Tuddenham Mill
Lee Bye, Chef Patron at Tuddenham Mill

The restaurant is the star of the show, but the hotel accommodation is pretty good too. The bedrooms are a pleasing mix of different styles and there is an emphasis on luxury throughout the business.

I stayed in one of the five stand-alone, pod-shaped nooks, which are a new addition to Tuddenham Mill's bed stock. They sit in the grounds of the hotel, with a view through their French doors of the neighbouring meadow. One of the nooks has a wood-fired hot tub on the deck, and all rooms in the hotel have access to a range of spa treatments; massages, manicures and facials.

Nooks at Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

A decadent cup of tea in bed the following morning meant I only had time for a quick breakfast, before heading off to Thetford Forest to continue with our Brecks adventure. I chose a bowl of home made muesli (delicious with seeds, nuts and fruit) followed by poached egg on toast and a pot of good, strong tea.

Had I managed to prise myself from my cosy nook a little earlier, I might have enjoyed a leisurely cooked breakfast with kippers and all sorts of treats. Ah well, maybe next time...

Luxurious accommodation at Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk
One of the luxury bedrooms in the main hotel

Tuddenham Mill has a variety of menus, including decent choices for vegetarians and vegans. A set lunch menu is £22.50 for three course, or £17.50 for two.

Nooks are priced from £205 for two which includes breakfast and a £30 allocation per person towards dinner. Prices for other rooms start at £145.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Suffolk?

Let us know via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram