A MOMENT ON THE LIPS
Velvet falls in love with the talents of Tuddenham Mill’s new Head Chef, Lee Bye
Article by Georgie Campbell,
Taking a leisurely drive out to the country one afternoon last month, I couldn’t wait to arrive at our destination… the much-acclaimed Tuddenham Mill. Having heard so many fav reviews about the Mill’s new chef, Lee Bye, and his band of merry men, this was one review I was really looking forward to.
Driving into the tranquil car park that completely sums up the way of life in Tuddenham, it was great to see the wild swans that spend their summer’s nesting within its grounds had come out to welcome us.
Stepping inside the former watermill, the interior décor still impresses no matter how many times I visit. Mixing the bare brick styling of the Mill with a fresh, modern feeling, the combination really is a work of art.
Greeted by our afternoon host, Hannah, and shown to our table, I couldn’t help but smile. Seated outdoors, enjoying the sunshine, gazing over the river it was as though I was in a foreign land. The sun trap was exactly what I needed… a real escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
The perfect spot for a bit of lunch, a dinner for two, or even the whole family, I could already tell there was something different about the Mill. The tables were full of people laughing, enjoying the delicious meals prepared for them, whilst really relaxing in its surroundings. Local guests, overnight visitors and even families who had stopped off on a bike ride across the Suffolk countryside, the atmosphere was so enticing… and all on a weekday lunchtime.
Returning my attention to the job at hand, Hannah produced two menus for my guest and I to demolish… giving me the first task of the day, what to choose!
Opting for a delicious pork dish to start, followed by a fish main I knew I was in for a great journey. Renowned for his fresh menus and changing ingredients, Head Chef Lee Bye and his team had high expectations to meet… a level that I’m proud to say they sore passed with flying colours.
Bringing a tempting treat of crispy ham hock with mustard mayo and pork scratching out to whet our appetites, Hannah certainly knew how to get the party started! Biting into the soft, crisp ham offerings it was definitely a sign of things to come. Delicious...
Clearing our plates and returning with our starters, even Hannah was smiling as she presented two plates of caramelised pork with avocado and pickles… a dish that I was very excited about. A lover of avocado Lee and his team had let their imagination run wild with the fruit.
Creamed and presented as avocado emulsion, and sliced to perfection in a Carpaccio style, I’ve never seen avocado presented in such a way. Complimented by the caramelised pork… I was in heaven!
The floating on cloud nine experience continued as our main courses appeared at the table. Opting for the Cornish hake peperonata, with blonde beer battered mussels and onion chard, the dish was a complete work of art. A lover of all things fish I couldn’t wait to dive into the soft textures of the hake, watching as it melted onto my fork, and finally into my mouth.
Putting together the crisp sensations of the beer battered mussels and the soft fish was simply a stroke of genius, as they both presented a whole new world of textures and flavours in one mouthful.
Sneaking a quick forkful of my guest’s dish of Fordham shot pigeon, heritage carrot and spring greens, it was easy to see why a smile was stuck upon his face. The fresh tasting pigeon mixed with the spring greens was the perfect light meaty dish to enjoy in the sun.
Sitting back, unable to move from the amount of food consumed, I couldn’t believe it when Hannah returned once more, carrying a beautiful dish of dark chocolate mousse, covered in vanilla yoghurt and mandarin ice… I couldn’t wait much longer. Slicing my fork into the soft chocolatey goodness, the ice melted as if on cue as I lifted it to my mouth. The bitterness of the chocolate, matched with the sweet, citrus flavours of the ice was the perfect balance.
Unable to consume any more food, finally the creator behind the tantalising menu revealed himself. Sitting on the terrace, Lee’s passion for his cooking, his team and his new found home was beyond belief.
“I wanted to strip back the ingredients of the Mill’s menu to get back to basics,” he explained. “We may play with the ingredients and jazz them up a bit, but at the end of the day our menus consist of meal and two veg.
“I want to produce dishes visitors identify, that they enjoy. Pigeon that doesn’t bloat your belly out, seasonal vegetables that will give that fresh edge, and allowing us to transition the menu between the seasons.”
Taking over the restaurant on 17th February 2014, opening with a brand new team and 30 covers to cope with, Lee insists he couldn’t have done it without the team behind him. With him from day one, the team continue to develop the menu, working closely behind closed doors to bring about some of the best food in the region.
“I think it’s important not to be obsessive, the team effort is what counts,” he added. “Learning to let go of things and trying out new ideas is what being a chef is all about.”
As my guest and I thanked Lee for the millionth time for the enjoyable afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the array of food being enjoyed by other guests.
From afternoon teas to light snacks and even just a quick one course lunch, there was so much on offer… so much to keep you coming back time and time again. I know I will be.
The Mill celebrates 2 AA rosettes
Tuddenham Mill is thrilled to announce that the restaurant has been awarded 2 AA rosettes for culinary excellence. The Mill has recently welcomed new Head Chef, Lee Bye, who has re-launched the food offering to draw in a wider customer base and is delighted to receive the prestigious accolade only two months after the new appointment.
Lee is very proud and has said, “this is a great achievement by the team, we have a whole new kitchen team and the response to the menu since day one has been more than we could have ever hoped for. To get the 2 AA rosettes this quick shows the hard work and focus we have put in everyday and has now been rewarded. It is a real team effort and I am very proud of my boys.”
General Manager, Adam Dabbs, has added, “I am delighted with the recent report from our AA inspection. The report confirms that Tuddenham Mill is moving in the right direction and I am thrilled that Lee earned himself 2 AA rosettes only after eight weeks in his first Head Chef role.”
AA Rosettes are awarded solely by AA Hotel and Restaurant Inspectors with no influence from hotels, restaurants or other guides. The AA Rosette scheme is long established and recognises cooking at different levels nationwide.
The AA Inspector has described the Mill’s food as “the highlight of the stay, well-presented and sexy,” service at the Mill was also described as “attentive, well-placed and balanced with a genuinely friendly approach.”
Tuddenham Mill has also retained its 4 AA stars with a merit and has received a very high 81% score. Hotels must obtain between 70% and 84% score to be awarded 4 AA stars.