In Lavenham, In Suffolk
Our New Gallery Menu: The Perfect Five
OUR NEW MENU
Interview with Head Chef Justin Kett
What is the inspiration behind the new menu?
We wanted to give a snapshot of every season. Seasonality is very important to us and we really wanted to showcase the best flavours and the best ingredients from Suffolk and Britain as a whole. In order to do this you need to make sure that you’re using the ingredients only when they are in season, when the produce is at its peak. With this new menu, we’re constantly changing and revolving the dishes so you’ll only ever be eating what’s in season. At the moment we have a fantastic asparagus dish, but once it’s gone then it’s gone.
How did you approach reinventing the existing Gallery Restaurant menu?
We just wanted to do something a little bit different. We did a lot of research in London’s top restaurants and also restaurants nearby to really find out how people like to enjoy their food. We saw that a lot of places have tasting menus these days but we wanted to create something more unique. With tasting menus, you don’t have a choice, but we wanted to let our guests choose what they want to do. With the dishes we’ve created, no matter which one you go for you’ll always have a taste of The Swan experience and Suffolk food, but by having five different courses, the diner can decide for themselves. We really want to make eating fantastic British food affordable for everyone. So whether you want just a taster, a traditional three course meal or to indulge in a full gastronomic experience, with our new menu you can do all three.
We also simplified everything down. Taking one main ingredient and building each dish around that. So that it’s easy for people to know what season they’re eating when they dine with us.
Where will you be sourcing the ingredients?
Our suppliers have always played a big role in our food. We source all everything as locally as possible. But now we’ve struck up a really great relationship with the Lavenham butchers across the road. We can now go in and choose the meat for our menus, the next ingredient to showcase. We get all of our eggs from the local Manor Farm – duck, hen, they have every single egg you can think of – and they’re all free range. Birchwood Farm is where we get most of our berries such as Suffolk strawberries and raspberries. They’re also the one who are supplying our asparagus at the moment.
Are there any signature dishes?
Seasonality is our main thing but we’re also making sure venison is always on the menu. You can’t always get certain kinds of deer at any one time of course but we’re working together our Lavenham butchers to rotate the deer – from roe to fallow – to make sure there’s always one venison dish to try. That will be our signature.
How will this new menu change the diner’s experience at The Swan?
It’s not just the menu – we’re working on so many levels to create for our guests a dining experience to remember. We’ve given diners the freedom to pick and choose their own five course menu. But if you’re looking for looking for a classic British afternoon tea then we have a range of these to choose from. Or if you want to know more about the history and culture of Lavenham, then we have monthly Guest Dinners with talks by cultural experts. It’s all about letting our guests enjoy what they want. Letting you create your own taste of Suffolk.
Finally, what would you say are your ‘Perfect Five’ courses from the new menu to try?
It’s a tough decision but it would have to be:
To Begin: Crab
To Follow: Suffolk Cod
The Main: Venison
After: Passion fruit
But there really isn’t a wrong choice order.