Thursday, 31 July 2014

Smash & Grab at The Chilli Farm in Suffolk

I just had a meeting with a prospective client at the brilliant Chilli Farm in Suffolk and in addition to gaining a new client I also grabbed some smashing hot sauces and ephemera.



Left to right:

  • Cottage Delight - Naga Chilli Sauce
    This is a stock item / must have in our house.  Pizza, curries and a whole bunch of other meals are rendered pointless without a lashing of this brilliantly fruity naga sauce.
    Full review...
  • Pickled Jalapenos
    Hmm, maybe I put these in the wrong order, this is just another stock item that life without would be just too dull.
  • The Cambridge Chilli Company - Smoky Chipotle
    I had to consider this purchase for an embarrassingly long time while in the store, the reason being that the Chilli Farm themselves make a very good hot chipotle ketchup, so I wondered if I ought to buy local.  In the end I decided Cambridge was local enough.
  • La Preferida - Chipotle Peppers in spicy adobo sauce
    Bit of an impulse purchase this one, I'm a sucker for any chilli-related product I've never seen before.  Hopefully if the sauce isn't too potent I can sneak this into a chilli con-carne.
  • Professor Phardpounder's Colon Cleaner
    Well it was a toss-up between this and another humorously bum-titled hot sauce, in the end this one won out, partially because this is a hot sauce that leans heavily on mustard in the ingredients, so could be a good candidate to replace my Rectum Ripper once that runs out (no heinous bum-pun intended). 
  • Koren rice crackers
    Because I can't just drink these chilli sauces, what kind of sicko do you think I am??

Just a tiny selection of the chilli sauces on offer at the Chilli Farm.


Monday, 28 July 2014

East Coast Diner - INTERVIEW

A few weeks back I gave a bit of a rave review to an astonishingly good burger I had from The East Coast Diner in Woodbridge (Suffolk).  Well one thing led to another and after getting in touch with brains behind the operation I secured an interview in an attempt to find out the what, why and who behind what is one of the most promising restaurants for hot food fans in the whole of Suffolk, possibly East Anglia!



Hello!  Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your lovely diner.

First up can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration to start the business?  What made you choose Woodbridge?

My partner is originally from Woodbridge which is why we're here. We were both living & working in London when we decided a career change was in order. We had never owned a restaurant before & thought Woodbridge would be a good place to learn the trade. We have had several restaurant concepts before the East Coast Diner.

The ECD basically came about from our love of the single minded trend of new restaurants like Burger & Lobster, Bubble dogs, Dirty Burger, Shake shack & 5 Guys, where they keep the menu fairly small so all the emphasis is on quality & doing a simple dish exceptionally well.

We also wanted somewhere that was family focused during the day & naturally turned into a more grown-up vibe in the evenings.

Plus a Diner should have an element of fun from the decor, the staff & the dishes whilst appealing to a wide range of people. What's not to like? We went over to Brooklyn to research what was new, vibrant & exciting and took elements of what we saw there back to Woodbridge. As you've seen, we are definitely not a caricature of a 1950s diner. We try & maintain an element of cool right down to the music we play (though sometimes the staff sneak some guilty pleasures in there).





Well that's a great answer, and you've given us a nice list of other new restaurants to investigate!  Guilty pleasures with the music hey?  We'll have to keep our ears peeled next time we visit.

One of the aspects of the East Coast Diner that really interested us was your link-ups with local food producers.  Who are you currently working with and how did these collaborations come about?  Was it always your intention to make the most of local talent, or did these relationships develop organically?  What are the biggest positives keeping things local have brought you?

The selection criteria for our suppliers requires their product to be of the highest standard (preferably award winning) as well as meeting the highest levels of service. We do not necessarily require our suppliers to be local, however we are blessed with many superb food & drink producers in the county of Suffolk. We currently work with the following:

-Sutton Hoo Chickens. Free range, organic & multi award winning chickens, grown within 2 miles of our front door. Dishes include marinated BBQ chicken wings & drumsticks, Cajun chicken burger, Crispy fried chicken & bacon burger, whole rotisserie chicken and many more.

-The Cake Shop, Woodbridge. Recently awarded 'Britain's best bakery' & featured on ITV's recent bakery series. 3rd generation baker David Wright has formulated unique 'semi brioche' burger buns & hotdog rolls for us.

-Black Dog Chilli company. Makers of Howlin' Hot chilli jam relish for our burgers & dogs as well as Howlin' Hot syrup for our cocktails.

-Hellhound brewery. Fantastic, local craft beer. We currently stock their Thunderstruck wheat beer.

-Adnams distillery. Multi award winning spirits from Southwold including 'World's best Gin' 2013. Head distiller John McCarthy has inspired us to create a special list of cocktails using these amazing spirits.

Working with local suppliers has added so much value to our brand. We love the creative, collaborative working process that always results in an improved product.



HUGE thanks to both Julie Officer & Lex Quinn for taking the time to talk to us. If you're in Woodbridge I heartily recommend you visit the East Coast Diner.