A novel bistro in the heart of Suffolk

Georgina Wroe discovers an exceptional eaterie with a difference in Yoxford

Georgina Wroe discovers an exceptional eaterie with a difference in Yoxford

With internet sites doling out discount vouchers as fast as you can print them, the temptation to yield to Martin Lewis and his money-saving charms is high.But dine out for a quid at your peril, because in doing so you may be missing out on a truly remarkable dining experience. Mains, which specialises in Anglo-French bistro cooking, is not like any other restaurant. Not only is the quality of food produced outstanding, it doubles up as a pottery school, bread-making club and art gallery. There’s even a ‘stitch ‘n’ sip’ meeting on a Tuesday and, from September, embroidery lessons. Community (and outstanding nosh) is at the heart of everything Mains does.Former potter Nancy Mains, and her husband Jason Vincent – a professional chef from 16 who trained at Simpson’s in the Strand – took over the one-time drapers on Yoxford High Street in 2006. The couple, then expecting their third child, moved in December and opened a day later as a fish and chip shop. They carried on frying until October 2007, when they took the plunge and launched Main’s Restaurant.Since then growth of the restaurant, which takes inspiration from the trail-blazing Californian eatery Chez Panisse, has been organic in every sense of the word. Nancy said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have a huge range of produce right on our doorstep, where food is grown for flavour and caught with compassion. We like to support small independent businesses where love and care is shown for produce.”Fresh ingredients come from, among other places, the Reckford Farm Shop in Middleton, JR Creasey’s in Peasenhall as well as Thorpeness Leaves and Dunwich Leaves. Fish is line caught daily in Sizewell and Lowestoft.The menu changes daily depending on not just what’s in season but the surplus available from the village’s allotment. But don’t be fooled by The Good Life feel, this grub is both rustic and sophisticated – and of the highest order. Vegetables aren’t messed about with, they simply shriek freshness and flavour; while the meat is beyond succulent.Starters (we ate in August) included slow-cooked belly of pork with crackling and rhubarb and a deliciously delicate broad bean custard. The main meal comprised free-range chicken with garlic, tarragon and thyme or rump steak with caramelised onions (Jason is big on gravy – not jus – and this was one of the very best). Puddings included an exceptional chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice cream and silky smooth chocolate mousse with chantilly cream.Mains is what you hope modern British food is going to be – unpretentious, adventurous and bursting with flavour. And, from the number of diners at a midweek sitting, the Mains’ secret is starting to get out. The last Saturday of each month is often a ‘paupers' night’ with two courses for �12 and three courses for �15. Martin Lewis eat your discounted-voucher heart out. 

Dinner for two at Mains, with a bottle of wine, �60. Mains Restaurant, High Street, Yoxford IP17 3EU, 01728 668882.Open Tuesday - Saturday from 7pm

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