There has been a mill at Tuddenham for around 1,000 years, but the present structure was built in 1775. It operated as a mill until 1954, when it became derelict, and was converted into a restaurant in 1972. A more recent and sympathetic refurbishment by Agellus Hotels has left the mill with a stunning blend of original features and modern design, delivering a stylish destination property.
But it is in the kitchen where Sat Bains protégé Paul Foster - who took up his role in March of this year and achieved a second rosette within days of installing his new menu - is hoping to cause a stir. "The beautiful setting first attracted me to http://www.manoir.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Tuddenham Mill](http://www.tuddenhammill.co.uk/)," says the 28-year-old chef. "I viewed it as somewhere I could showcase my food and I felt the surroundings suited the natural, seasonal style of my dishes."
In keeping with the 60-seat restaurant's natural yet contemporary environment, Foster's modern European food draws inspiration from his mentor, Bains. "He has been my main source of inspiration in terms of cooking and mindset; he challenges you intellectually as a chef and is a great motivator who draws the best out of people," he says.
Other influences include chefs Foster has conducted stages with, such as Thomas Keller (at the French Laundry in Napa Valley) and Wylie Dufresne of groundbreaking [WD50 ](http://www.wd-50.com)fame in New York. Foster also says he can still hear Gary Jones's voice in his head, from his early days as a commis chef at [Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.
Best-selling dishes this year have included a skate starter, which is lightly poached and stripped using its natural fibres, served with a pea mousse, raw peas, bacon and lemon. It proved to be the perfect summer course, says Foster.
Meanwhile, the most popular main course featured rump and shoulder of lamb. "This is my modern, quirky version of a lamb dhansak, a dish inspired by my love of Indian food, including some components I learned from Sat's Indian heritage," he explains.
The dish comprises lamb rump slowly cooked at 56°C and a slow-roasted lamb shoulder with cumin, cardamom and coriander. Foster serves it with his own version of dahl (based on a classic Indian recipe borrowed from Café Spice Namaste chef Cyrus Todiwala), fresh Goosnargh yogurt, salted cucumber, caramelised cauliflower purée, raw cauliflower, coconut gastrique and coriander cress.
Together with general manager Mark O'Reilly, Foster offers an exciting and contemporary restaurant proposition. "We're ideal for anyone looking for sophistication without too much formality," he explains.
"We're a popular choice for special occasions and people wanting a weekend away in a stylish, small, boutique hotel - they can get away from city life yet still receive the same standard of food and service you would expect in London."
SAMPLE DISHES FROM THE MENU
Pig's head terrine, chorizo, pear, soy - £7.50
Yorkshire hare roast and tartare, beer-pickled onions, leeks, toast - £8
Goosnargh duck breast, butternut squash, tea, chocolate £22
Denham Estate fallow deer, confit potato, carrot, Douglas fir pine £25
Cornish brill, Dingley Dell pork neck, pickled mushrooms, fennel £22
Bitter chocolate textures, lime, coriander £7
Egg custard tart, apples, yogurt, nutmeg £7.50
Sea buckthorn curd, chicory, blueberries, muscovado £7
High Street, Tuddenham, Suffolk IP28 6SQ
Tel: 01638 713552