EAUX speaks to the owner of The Unruly Pig in Bromeswell about the relaunch of his new pub and kitchen
What inspired you to launch The Unruly Pig?
I am a walking cliché in many ways: one of many bored bankers and lawyers who yearned to change direction. I worked as lawyer for 35 years and that was more than enough for me. I have always had a passion for fabulous food and great wine and bored my family and friends for far too long about opening a gastro pub. But now I know I have done it and I’m enjoying the whole experience immensely!
What has the response been like so far?
Whilst my feet are still firmly on the ground, the response so far has been fabulous. We have already been lucky enough to be have been recommended by both the Financial Times and Sunday Times. If I tell you that we have had to double the size of our overflow car park that may speak for itself.
How have you recovered from the tragic fire that occurred in 2015?
Well, I am not sure I have actually recovered fully from the fire yet. Indeed, seeing the building alight early on the morning of the fire (23rd June, 2015) is something I will probably never forget. That said, what has helped get us through this dreadful episode is two things. Firstly, the overwhelming support and good wishes of our customers which has been simply humbling. Our customers just kept saying to us that they just wanted us back on our trotters as soon as possible. Secondly, being listed in The Good Food Guide 2016 (with the highest rating for any restaurant/pub in the Ipswich/Woodbridge area) was such a huge tonic. It was vindication of what we have been trying to achieve and truly set us on the road to recovery.
Can you tell us a little about the art that you’ve chosen?
It’s an eclectic mix of local and contemporary art which has received much praise; our customers seem to like how the art provides a personal touch. I have driven my wife bonkers over many years buying far too much art with an eye to one day opening a restaurant. And now, at last, I have somewhere to hang all these pictures and paintings (some of which have been stored in my cellar at home for far too long). Local artists such as Martin Battye and Martin Laurence have also kindly loaned some of their work for display (and for sale, should they pique anyone’s interest).
What makes The Unruly Pig different to other pubs and restaurants in the region?
Our Inka Grill is a clear differentiator. This is a closed door charcoal grill that cooks at an incredible 450 degrees, reduces cooking times by two thirds and adds to the flavour and succulence of meat and grilled fish.
How do you and your head chef decide on dishes for the menu?
I like to kid myself that it’s a team effort but the reality is that most of the great dishes we have on our menu are suggestions made by Dave Wall, our head chef (who formerly cooked at several Gordon Ramsay restaurants in London and most recently at Le Talbooth in Dedham).
I chip in and occasionally some of my suggestions make it onto the menu, like chicken skin popcorn. We do have great fun brainstorming and tasting dishes for the menu. The final decision lies with me as to what goes on and what comes off our menus but happily Dave and I agree about almost everything. We make a great team.
Do you think the region offers lots for food-lovers?
Being a foodie in Suffolk is just glorious. We are so lucky as our county offers some of the finest produce in the country – great food just on our doorstep. We are also spoilt for choice with so much fine food on offer from East Anglia. Cromer crabs, Binham blue cheese, Suffolk samphire, Tuddenham asparagus, Dingley Dell pork – we are so very lucky to live and work in a region that is so abundant with great food.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
We need to walk before we can run but suffice to say the long-term business plan has certain ambitions!