Stradbroke pub reopens after foodie transformation
Updated: Mar 30
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - East Anglian Daily Times
Published: 1:00 PM March 17, 2022 Updated: 2:58 PM March 17, 2022
Nearly two years after being listed for sale, a pub that was once one of THE places to eat in mid-Suffolk has re-opened under new ownership.
Jason Pennellier, a former commercial director for Puma, and more recently owner of Roscoe’s Deli at the nearby Thornham Estate, took the keys to The Ivy House in Stradbroke this January, and has just marked his second weekend since opening. “It’s been brilliant,” he says, adding, “we’ve been really busy!” Fully renovated, and with some exciting foodie plans underway, taking on the pub has certainly been a labour of love for Jason, who’s always enjoyed working in the industry.
The Ivy house at Stradbroke has a new owner and a brand-new look - Credit: Sonya Duncan “I’ve been in hospitality most of my life,” he explains. “I used to run bars and comedy clubs and then restaurants in London 20-odd years ago. My kids grew up and we moved up to Suffolk. It was really through lockdown that I decided to get out of the corporate world and into cooking.” Jason created Roscoe’s, named for his now 19-month-old son, with the deli championing local and British ingredients. A few pop-up dining events followed, with the business morphing into a deli-restaurant. Customers couldn’t get enough of the dining experience. Could Roscoe’s stand alone as an eatery? It was something Jason was keen to explore. And as fate would have it, the ideal premises for his vision were to be found just a few miles away. “One of my locals introduced me to The Ivy House. I met the owners just before Christmas and signed the lease in January, it’s been non-stop since.”
Roscoe’s at The Ivy House, as it’s now called, is unrecognisable from a few months ago, having been given what Jason calls a ‘modern country cottage style shabby chic’ makeover. “We’ve got lots of beautiful soft furnishings, loads of plants, nice pictures and modern lighting, all the chairs are a bit mismatched, and the bar is painted a teal colour. “It’s quite fresh-looking. There’s a bar area, which is open now, and then the restaurant space. We’ve also opened up the snug which had been completely closed. Like the bar, there’s a log burner in there, and comfortable Lloyd Loom tub chairs.” Preparations are being made to repaint the frontage shortly, and the large pub garden’s shed is marked for converting into a wood-fired pizza takeaway (or eat in) later this year. Jason’s aim is to reinvigorate the pub. He wants to transform it into the best place to eat in the village, with the dining rooms set to open in April once the new kitchen’s been fitted. “It will be casual with a fine dining twist,” he says. “Gastro pubby. We want to serve beautiful seasonal food in a nice country establishment. Modern European food, with an emphasis on fresh fish and shellfish from Mike Warner at A Passion for Seafood.”
Jason rattles off dishes from moules or steak frites, to Caesar salad as lunchtime options, before revealing a finer affair for evenings. Think monkfish tail in a curry-scented sauce, poached turbot, and, once a month, Wagyu Weekends, serving the finest wagyu steaks and burgers from the barbecue.
Sundays sound pretty special too. “I used to run a gastro pub in London and we’d do what we described as family-style Sunday lunches. If you ordered chicken you’d get a whole roast chicken to carve yourself at the table with Yorkshire puddings, a bowl of roast potatoes and dishes of vegetables. We’re trying to go for something a bit different for the area.”
For now, the bar is stocked and ready for guests, with as many draught ales, beers and lagers and possible being sourced within 20 to 25 miles, from the likes of Bru Ha, Chevallier Brewing, and Earl Soham Brewery. There’s a good range of spirits, including bottles from the English Whisky Company, Simon’s marmalade gin, and Adnams Copperhouse gin. And many of the wines are British (Giffords Hall, Nyetimber, Chappel Down, Flint), supplemented by favourites from across the world.
Jason says he’s been overwhelmed by the response so far. “We opened at 6pm on Friday (March 11) and were rammed by quarter to seven. The locals said they loved it. They thought the place looked beautiful. I’ve honestly had nothing but positive feedback. On Sunday I thought it’d be dead because we’re not serving food yet, but we were even busier than Saturday. I'd say 50 to 60 % of the village have turned out to support us!”
The family and dog-friendly pub is currently open Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 11pm, but this will change week by week, with a view to eventually be open every day. Watch this space for the kitchen opening (hopefully in April).