It was Thursday night and the cupboards were bare. We were wondering what to do for dinner when I remembered I’d seen a post on Twitter earlier in the day from Creake Abbey Food Hall, saying they were open until 8pm on a Thursday.
We’d been meaning to go back after acquiring some delicious local lamb (and not so local olives) on their opening day last month. It seems such a good idea to have a late night opening once a week, and rare among the local delis, so we jumped in the car and headed down.
We arrived just as they were closing up but Steve, the owner, and Tom, the manager, couldn’t have been more welcoming. A glass of wine was offered almost the second we walked through the door (a Mexican white, surprisingly good, and they also have a red from the same producer).
They chatted about how things have been going since the opening and showed us around the cafe.
Eventually we remembered we’d come to buy something for dinner and chose some of the meat balls from the well stocked butcher’s counter. They had minted lamb and spicy beef, so we took a handful of each.
It was then that I noticed the pie: a great hulk of pastry and meat, with a thick wedge already cut. It turns out it is made by the landlady of the pub near owner Steve’s village, close to Halesworth in Suffolk. According to Steve, it won recognition at a local food fair and deservedly so.
Made with chicken and pork, it had a wonderfully herby flavour, spiced with plenty of pepper. The pastry, so key to the success of any pork pie, was thick and hearty.
We added that to our list and, suffice to say, it was stuffed in faces before we’d finished the drive home.
It is good to see this new venue growing. The range of produce is interesting, from local favourites like Candy’s Chutneys, to an extensive and well curated butchery counter. Combined with the warm welcome, the location among an already established collection of shops at Creake and smart ideas like late night shopping on a Thursday, they look set for deserved success.
We’ll be back to try the cakes in the cafe, some more of the olives, their great selection of meat and maybe even the eclectic wine choices.