Cakes at Malt Cafe at Snape Maltings

Article by Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, Group Head of Features - East Anglian Daily Times

It’s rather easy to lose yourself at the Snape Maltings complex. Not literally, of course, but there’s just so much to see and do.

Far-stretching walks alongside the meandering river. Taking in a concert at the world-renowned hall. Whiling away hours in the shops.

As we all know, walking (and shopping) is hungry work, and the team at Snape are acutely aware of that – they’ve spent the last couple of years really upping the ante with the site’s food offering.

First came the pizza tipi, and the River View Restaurant, attached to the concert hall itself. And now visitors also have the option to fill their tummies at the newly installed Malt café, opened this autumn in the former Granary Café space at the front of the complex.

“It took almost a year to get finished because it’s part of a Grade 2 Star listed building – so we had those loops to go through with planning. But we’re really pleased it’s now open.”

Cakes at Malt Cafe at Snape Maltings
Snape Maltings
Cream Tea at Malt Cafe at Snape Maltings
Malt Cafe Sign and Door at Snape Maltings
Commercial kitchen design at the Malt Cafe Snape Maltings

The interior will be almost unrecognisable to anyone who’s eaten at the Granary. “The whole thing was stripped back, from the floor to the bare brick walls,” says Jon. “We’ve flipped around the layout. The space where the counter used to be on the left is now on the right to allow us to do more takeaways from the takeout window. A couple of bits have remained though - one of which is the old wooden counter. We’ve turned that into a big sharing table. And some of the Café 1885 furniture, which was up above the house and garden space has been refurbished.

“The vision was for this to be a clean, new fresh space. To make a statement. We didn’t want to just recreate what was there before. It was time to make it feel really special and loved and bright. A bit of an oasis. There’s lots going on here so we’ve tried to make the café as calming as possible.”

Up to 40 people can be seated inside Malt, and 30 outdoors. No reservations are needed (though you do now need to book for River View). And the team say it’s very family friendly. Smaller portions of some menu items, like the melting rarebit, are available for younger diners. While dogs are more than welcome – they even get their own dog biscuits, specially made in-house (and currently festively flavoured with turkey).

The day begins, says Jon, with hot Suffolk bacon or sausage rolls, and a selection of warm, just-baked pastries from 9am.

“We’ve got a really really good selection of coffees too. We use Due Fratelli from Halesworth. They’ve made us a special blend which has a real maltiness to it. We wanted to add aspects of malt into the café, and thought that’s one way we could touch onto the heritage of the site.”

If coffee’s not your thing there are several blends of tea made for the café, a range of thick maltshakes (“those have a really comforting taste”), lots of soft drinks from the organic Fairtrade Karma brand, and some options that are a little bit different too – CBD latte, golden turmeric latte, eggnog white hot chocolate, and toasted marshmallow vanilla latte.

The café is licensed, for those who fancy a tipple of an afternoon. “We have several beers to choose from. A couple are made by Malt Coast in Wells-next-the-Sea. We’ve got their lager and amber ale.”

When lunch rolls around diners can expect up to eight sandwiches, three to four toasties, soups and salads, made with as much local produce as possible, including sourdough from Harvey & Co, and soft loaves from a bakery in Woodbridge.

“My favourite is the Snape Reuben,” says Jon. “It’s our house-made salt beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and gherkin.”

Other toasties that might warm your cockles include a Welsh rarebit with pickled onions, and garlic roasted Portobello mushrooms, tucked into bread with Binham Blue cheese and watercress.

You won’t find your average sandwiches here either. Fillings range from smoked Norfolk Dapple cheese with apple and pear chutney, to malt-glazed ham hock with the café's own piccalilli – and a Christmassy offering of turkey with sage and onion mayonnaise and cranberry sauce.

“It’s a really really nice selection,” Jon smiles. “And we have around 12 to 15 cakes and pastries on display every day as well. Warm sausage rolls. Autumn vegetable sausage rolls. Scones with cream, butter and jam. White chocolate and blackberry blondies. Apple and cinnamon flapjacks.”

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