The Cookhouse is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the Suffolk Food Hall in Ipswich. All dishes are made on-site using locally sourced ingredients, however the team decided to revamp their menu with a succulent new grill. I caught up with Head Chef Stevie Robson for a nice cuppa to find out what’s occurring.
Chef Stevie Robson commented:
“The restaurant has been open for four years. The business spent £3 million converting the old silage clamp which used to be here when this was a working farm.”
And what a building it is! The restaurant itself is set in a well-designed barn overlooking the river with an open view of the kitchen and vegetable boxes and milk churns carefully positioned around the place. The rest of the complex offers cookery courses, Pilates lessons, a butchery selling their very own Red Poll beef, a from scratch bakery, home and garden centre and an artist’s studio. All set under the beautiful Orwell Bridge – everything good your soul needs all in one place.
From The Cookhouse restaurant Stevie heads up the kitchen which looks out over the River Orwell, the landmark Orwell Bridge and nearby paddocks where the cows graze. To the right sunlight glitters on the river, tiny white sails balanced on top of it as they head to the river mouth and into the green hills on the horizon. It’s not a bad spot for a restaurant and their ethos is pretty cool too:
“We’ve got our own cows and pigs. We want to cook really good quality meat that’s either our own or locally sourced, cooked really simply.”
As well as being a family destination during the daytime, The Cookhouse’s new grill and burger nights open up their premises so new groups of gastronauts can make the most of the beautiful food and soak up the views during long summer nights.
Stevie explained, “We had the idea for our new grill and burger nights but when we started cooking beautiful meat on our old grill, it didn’t do it justice.”
Charcoal vs gas
There are so many things I like about the Synergy Grill such as the ease of turning it on and off. When you compare that to lighting charcoal every morning, it seems ludicrous. Because it is only one consistent temperature all the time, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the temperature of the charcoal.
In addition to all that work you’ve got to adhere to much stricter fire regulations and it pushes your insurance premiums up.
It saves a lot of money
Synergy Grills save so much money in gas. Gas and electricity are our two biggest overheads so anything we can do to save on that is a massive bonus.
Now we’ve got the gas savings, we’ve got the ease and we always knew were going to get better results because we’d seen them for ourselves already.
The perfect caramelised steak
The one thing we couldn’t get on our steaks with our old grill is a slightly caramelised, almost golden crust on the outside. When you cut through it, you want it to be really soft in the middle with an almost crust on the outside. That was the one thing our boss, who is a steak fanatic, was really looking for. I purposefully cooked a steak on the SG630 at the demo and it was exactly what he had hoped for.
It’s so easy to clean
We come in and give the Synergy a quick hoover, put the shelves on and we’re good to go. Within 10 minutes of arriving to work, it’s ready to put on. The kitchen porters absolutely love not having to clean the fat tray.
Burgers are much juicier
There haven’t been any negatives about the Synergy Grill. We have burger nights once a month and a few people have even asked if we’ve changed our burger recipe because they’re so much juicier.