Monday, 27 February 2017

Cradle



With two new vegan cafes opening within the last 6 months, it would seem that the small Suffolk market town of Sudbury is quickly becoming the new local hot spot for plant based offerings. Cradle, which has only been open for four weeks, is the new kid on the block and offers up something quite different from the already established Kind Cuisine on the other side of town.  



Stepping inside Cradle you could be forgiven for believing you were somewhere else outside of rural Suffolk. The interior styling and furnishings are reminiscent of what you would expect to come across in more progressive areas and the rustic wood table tops are the perfect backdrop for capturing those all important Instagram flat lays. If it was anywhere else it would be the hipster hotspot, you know the ones where you can never find a table, but seeing as its Suffolk and a mid week afternoon we were spoilt for choice.     


Perhaps what gives away Cradle's location, more than it's address, is the service i've become used to and fond of in these parts over the past few years. A warm smile, friendly chat and not an ounce of pretentiousness to be found. It's incredibly laid back and comfortable and the kind of place I could easily lose a few hours by just sitting and being. 


Not only is Cradle a solely plant based cafe, it's also a cafe on a mission. At the heart of what they do is their Social & Environmental Objectives which recognises the sustainability issues with animal products and how damaging this demand is to our environment. It's 2017 and there's no getting away from how on trend being vegan is and so it's somewhat reassuring to see that this isn't just another business jumping on the bandwagon to make a quick profit. The thinking behind Cradle is that of people who genuinely care about living more compassionately and giving back to the local community.     


Cradle are committed to using only seasonal ingredients from local sources and they eventually hope to be able to grow their own fruit and vegetables by investing their profits into a community garden project which will not only serve them, but also local families and individuals without land of their own. They also mill their own flour freshly every day on site and bake their own bread which, if you get there early enough, you can buy to take away home with you.     





The menu at Cradle is different to what you may expect from your usual coffee shop / lunch time spot. I was quite impressed when I first cast my eyes over the small but perfectly formed menu. There were only three dishes to choose from but each and every one sounded incredibly intriguing and exciting. Thankfully I was dining with two others on the day that I visited and just by chance we all decided on something different so I was lucky enough to be able to experience everything on the menu. 


The leek, parsnip and apple soup arrived with some crispy kale and a side of the freshly baked bread. I'm not sure if the accompanying heart was deliberate, but even so it was a really nice touch.  This dish was the perfect choice on the day that 'Storm Doris' came to town as it was both warming and filling. It's not a flavour combination I have personally come across before but it went down well with my Mum who cleared her entire plateful. 


Next up was the 'special' Tartine which consisted of pickled beetroot, pesto, fresh herbs and cashew brie on a slice of toast with all the trimmings. It was at this point that I began to realise that this place was onto something special. The food looked incredible but above anything else it's undeniably innovative. On tasting my husbands chosen Tartine we both agreed that this standard of food is on par with, and if not better than, some of the top restaurants we have tried in the past in major cities. I found it hard to believe that we were enjoying this food in such humble surroundings.   


Last, and by no way least, was my own choice of the leek and roasted walnut cannelloni with a cauliflower velouté. I admit when ordering this I had no real idea what to expect and I wish I could say that I am knowledgeable enough about food to know what a velouté is. But in any case, when everything's vegan there really is nothing to worry about and I had no fears about anything unsavoury arriving on my plate. 

When looking at this image of this breathtaking plate of food I still find it hard to comprehend where I actually sat and enjoyed this. It reminded me of a fine dining experience I once had on my 30th birthday at the Oxo Tower in London. It's not at all what I expected from Cradle and the whole experience was just mind bogglingly good.   


With a Summer holiday on the horizon I have been avoiding dessert as much as possible recently but there was no way I was leaving here without trying something. As a comprise we decided to split an almond chocolate brownie three ways which was as agonising as it was enjoyable. I could have easily have devoured one of these just to myself! 


Do not go to Cradle expecting a sandwich or a salad because, and as I learnt, it is way more sophisticated than that. I can only describe it as a cross between an artisan bakery, a trendy coffee shop and an establishment worthy of a Michelin star. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm no expert, but I do know good food when I taste it. 
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4 comments

  1. Yum, the food looks and sounds delicious! We have friends who live not too far from Sudbury, in Glemsford, so this would be perfect for when we visit them!

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  2. Great review, I can see I'm going to have to visit Cradle for lunch.

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  3. Wow, Cradle looks amazing and you're right that menu is super unexpected from a small cafe!

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