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Spring flavours are at the core of a special treat for your mum

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Dates. . . a time frame. . . something to work towards – it feels amazing. We do not have any outside space, and with Mondays being daddy daughter days, for us it means opening on May 18th and it can’t come soon enough.

I got so excited when I found out I couldn’t help going down into the restaurant and fully laying up our new table under the chandelier. A beautifully laid up restaurant with gleaming cutlery, sparkling glassware and crisply folded napkins is something I have very much missed. Even during the few months we were able to open last year we did not fully lay up the restaurant as a way of keeping the risk of contact transmission reduced, so I am over the moon at the thought of seeing every table fully set. To be honest, it gives me butterflies and pre-service nervous just thinking about it.

Not all of the changes we made to become ‘Covid safe’, however, were negative. I love how spacing the tables more has made the room feel and I will definitely be keeping the table in view of the kitchen, as this was a great success. I can just imagine people sat around it with the summer sun streaming in through our windows. I am ready – we are ready – to get back to doing what we do.

Having pretty much completely refreshed the restaurant during the first lockdown, other than a gorgeous new table, there has been very little change out front. This has given us a chance though to look at the kitchen and make some improvements there. It is going to be brilliant getting back in there with it, like the boys and I, feeling so fresh.

We had a little taste of how it will feel doing our Valentine’s heat at home meal, which was a wonderful success. After Annie finally convinced me to do it (I think she needed a break from me), I thought if we did 40 meals I would be pleased. In the end we sold over 120 and I can’t thank everyone who booked enough. It was so heart-warming to be given so much support and to hear how much people have missed us. Trust me, the feeling is mutual!

With that feeling in mind it was a very easy decision to do another one and with Mother’s Day rapidly approaching it seemed the perfect opportunity.

The Valentine’s menu was all about decadent indulgence, but this menu is much more about bright, fresh flavours appropriate for spring. I do not want to give too much away but the lamb dish is one I am particularly excited about. I love lamb and it is synonymous with spring. It pairs so well with wild garlic, which, as I have said before, is one of my all-time favourite ingredients. In fact, I wrote a column last year about my love for it. It was my last column before the first lockdown took hold, so we missed the whole of the season. It is a similar scenario this year as the season is so short it will be over, come May. So getting a chance to showcase it here seemed wholly appropriate.

Then there is the shepherd’s pie. This is a true family favourite of ours. I often feel the best way to judge how much Charlotte and Evelyn like a meal is by how much of it ends up around their face. There is definitely a direct correlation between the mess and the enjoyment – the more the mess, the more they have enjoyed it. This shepherd’s pie seems to end up everywhere, hair, eyes, ears. . . the lot. It requires a full clean-up crew when it’s done, so it must be good. I mean who can blame them – soft, tender unctuous braised lamb shoulder topped with rich buttery mashed potato, I mean my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I so enjoy taking food that Annie, the girls and I love to eat and putting a 1921 spin on them. It’s so easy to put my heart into it and combines so many things I love. I hope to do much more of it when we throw our doors open wide on the 18th.

Zack Deakins is chef patron of 1921 Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds.

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