When we say Sur-Mer at The Suffolk is right on the Aldeburgh seafront, we’re not kidding. Just a stone's throw from the sea (granted, you might need a good arm at low tide), the restaurant serves up exactly what you want in this quaint little seaside town - boatloads of local fish and seafood, and some quality wines to wash it down with.
Much of Sur-Mer was still under scaffolding upon our visit, and though the bar and rooms are still being built, the restaurant is very much open. You wouldn’t know the rest of the site was under construction - the dining room’s herringbone parquet floors, open fire and plush banquette seating present a smart facade, with a grey blue palette that mirrors the North Sea beyond.
What better to start than a dozen fat, sweet Butley Creek oysters, followed by a deep auburn lobster bisque? The bisque arrived with a dainty life raft of toast and emulsified crab - we’d rather have had it on the side to avoid inevitable sog, but it was delicious nonetheless.
The procession of great seafood continued, with a barbecued monkfish tail - very good, though perhaps a little over-charred - and a huge, perfectly-cooked lobster doused in garlic butter. Sur-Mer also makes excellent use of the grill by offering whole cooked dayboat fish - today’s was a whole brill, roasted until the gelatinous flesh slid from the bones. At £75 for two (it could have fed three), it’s pretty good value.
The Suffolk offers plenty more for less fishy folk - the team works closely with nearby suppliers like Sutton Hoo, Gressingham and Dingley Dell, and the charcuterie we tried from the latter was superb.
Desserts are simple but extremely well done - tarte au citron was sharp and sweet, with thin crisp pastry and a crackle of bruleed sugar. As for drinks, there are neat cocktails, including a sea buckthorn martini that comes with a complimentary oyster, and a smartly-curated wine list where house bottles come in well under £30. All in, Aldeburgh has a real gem on its hands with Sur-Mer - we look forward to the bar and rooms being open for business.