UPDATE: At the time of writing, the Long Melford Swan and Duck Deli were operated by Stuart Inns. They are both under new ownership.
A trip to Suffolk is always a delight. It’s close to Cambridge and there is so much to see and do… not to mention eat and drink! Paulo and I visited the charming town of Long Melford to enjoy the food, drink and accommodation at the very lovely Long Melford Swan, a boutique restaurant with rooms. The adjoining Duck Deli was a bonus – a real foodie haven where we had lunch and stocked up on goodies.
The Long Melford Swan and Duck Deli are part of the establishments run by family business Stuart Inns. I wrote about the Old Crown – their latest venture and first in Cambridgeshire – here. I’ve also been to their excellent Lavenham Greyhound restaurant, so I knew a visit to the Long Melford Swan would be a wonderful experience – and I was right!
The Long Melford Swan is an impressive property with so much to offer – luxury boutique bedrooms, a cosy bar, beautiful garden area, the Duck Deli and a 2 AA rosette restaurant in the gorgeous Garden Room. There is also a chef’s table seating 6-8 people in a private room next to the kitchen where guests can indulge in a six-course tasting menu, which is also available in the restaurant.
Their Dinner, Bed & Breakfast rate is good value for this luxurious experience. It’s the perfect excuse to get away for a relaxing overnight stay with quality food and drink. Service is warm, friendly and helpful – shout out to James and Ruby who contributed to making our stay such an enjoyable one.
After we checked in at the bar, we returned to the pub for some champagne and nibbles. We sank into the plush sofa and leather chairs to take in the soothing atmosphere. The pleasant ambience permeated all of the areas in the building, which has separate rooms for different uses but still flow well into each other.
We stayed in room 6, one of the Superior rooms above the Long Melford Swan (there are deluxe rooms in Melford House next door as well as a family suite above Duck Deli). Our large room was simply stunning and the underlit slipper bath by the bed provided a real wow factor. Other luxurious features included a super king size Hypnos bed, Egyptian cotton sheets, goose down duvet and pillows, LG flatscreen TV, Nespresso machine, monsoon shower, fluffy towels and Noble Isle toiletries.
With an impressive array of room snacks from Duck Deli, tea/coffee making facilities as well as complimentary still and sparkling water, we had everything we needed.
There’s nothing better than having a restaurant only a few staircases away and we arrived for our dinner reservation thoroughly relaxed and ready to feast! We were seated in the light-filled Garden Room and admired the nature themed decorative touches, such as the little monkeys in the leafy wallpaper.
Choosing from a well-sourced wine list we went for a bottle of Domaine Gérard Millet Sancerre, a French white from the Loire region. The wine arrived slightly underchilled but a few more minutes in the ice bucket brought out its full aroma and flavour.
All of the courses – the amuse bouche, starters, mains and desserts – were skilfully executed, beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. The innovative menu is created by executive chef Oliver Macmillan and head chef Luke Parsons. It’s evident there are talented chefs and teams in the kitchen. They even grow their own herbs on the roof and in the garden.
Setting the tone for the outstanding dishes to follow was an amuse bouche of scorched lamb breast, apple gel, fresh apple and lactic fermented carrot (chef Luke is a fermentation revivalist).
Paulo’s starter was the excellent dressed crab on sourdough toast with brown crab mayonnaise, avocado and free range egg.
I was intrigued by the “marinière pie” (I subsequently found out the name of this dish is original to Long Melford Swan). I had no idea what to expect other than a Scottish hand dived Orkney scallop and the presentation was spectacular. One large, perfectly cooked scallop was served in a scallop dish, covered by a flaky pie crust decorated with dill sponge, roe and leaves. The scallop made its appearance once I ate my way through the crust – it was like finding a treasure!
We continued with seafood for our mains and we both chose lobster dishes. Paulo had a whole native Harwich lobster with Café de Paris butter, served with house salad and skinny fries. The lobster was top quality and very fresh.
I opted for the roast lobster tail served with whipped & toasted Suffolk Gold cheese, pickled saffron cauliflower, lovage and a lobster beignet. I loved the combination of flavours in this dish. The beignet was amazing and it was so kind of them to put one on Paulo’s dish too!
Fortunately I asked about portion size. It’s more of a starter than a main course so they bulked it up with extra Jersey Royals and a house salad. This worked perfectly well as all of the sides were fresh and tasty, plus it was Jersey Royal season.
Both our desserts were elevated with deft execution and impeccable flavours. Paulo had a mille feuille like no other with peach jelly, elderflower and pine nut panna cotta, served with apricot sorbet. Just gorgeous!
I enjoyed one of the best soufflés I ever tasted – a light, airy blueberry soufflé served with green apple sorbet and toffee apple. The tasty blueberries at the bottom of the dish were a delightful surprise.
The surprise didn’t end there. Along with our fantastic coffee and tea (coffee beans and leaf tea from Duck Deli), we were served scrumptious petits fours (raspberry fruit gum, peanut butter fudge and white chocolate mousse macaron).
After a good night’s rest in our comfy accommodation, we headed back to the Garden Room for breakfast which we enjoyed with tea and coffee.
Paulo’s English Breakfast was superb with fried hen’s eggs, Musk’s sausage, streaky bacon, Stornoway black pudding and mushroom (hold the tomato).
My Eggs Royale were a great choice with house smoked salmon and poached hen’s eggs on an English muffin, drizzled with a good amount of hollandaise sauce.
Our foodie adventure didn’t end there. After we checked out and explored the town, we made our way back to Duck Deli for lunch. All the food at Duck Deli is baked on site by their French chef Delphine – bread, pastries, cakes, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and more.
We decided to eat in The Hub, the little space at the back of the shop. However, we were also welcome to sit in Long Melford Swan’s garden as the building is open concept.
We shared a black pudding scotch egg and sausage roll, which were kindly warmed up for us. Both were expertly made with quality ingredients.
We couldn’t resist a slice of the freshly baked tarte aux fruits and Paulo satisfied his chocolate craving with a brownie. Coupled with more of Duck Deli’s excellent coffee and tea, we were all set for the short drive back to Cambridge.
However, we couldn’t leave without stocking up on goodies as they have a great selection of artisan products from East Anglia and elsewhere. We brought back cheese, quince, cider, beer, nuts and crackers.
We had a wonderful gastronomic experience at the Long Melford Swan and the adjoining Duck Deli is a foodie’s icing on the cake. I heartily recommend staying the night in one of their fabulous rooms for a relaxing getaway. The Long Melford Swan has it all… great rooms, food, drink and service in a beautiful setting.
I was invited by Stuart Inns and received a discount on their DBB rate. Dinner, bed and breakfast were at my own cost (minus the DBB discount) as well as the wine. Lunch and all of the purchases at Duck Deli were also at my own cost. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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