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Mix and match meals at new Fish Cafe in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 10:24 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:51 05 December 2017

Seafood gratin at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.

Seafood gratin at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.

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Former Mortimer’s owner Ken launches dedicated fish restaurant in Arlingtons.

Barbecued cod with Goan red curry sauce and steamed rice at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.Barbecued cod with Goan red curry sauce and steamed rice at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.

Who remembers Mortimer’s?

The former fish restaurant had a loyal following at both its locations in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich (where Loch Fyne most recentlyresided), but closed over 10 years ago.And now the man behind Mortimer’s is bringing his expertise in fishy dishes back to Suffolk’s county town, having recently opened Fish Café.

Ken Ambler says he’s looking forward to putting his passion for fish and shellfish first in the new venture, based at his restaurant Arlingtons on Museum Street. Upstairs will predominately now focus on events such as weddings and parties, with the intimate dining rooms downstairs hosting Fish Café in the evenings.

I popped by to check out what’s on offer.

Butterscotch bread pudding at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.Butterscotch bread pudding at Fish Cafe, Ipswich.

Nothing has really changed décor-wise, it’s still a warm, offbeat kind of place with its own vibe.

The menu seemed very reasonable indeed. Starters were only £5, including smoked mackerel pate, Thai crab cakes, cream of apple and celery soup, and a really very tasty seafood gratin, layering tiny queenie scallops, cod, salmon and shrimp in a light creamy sauce, glazed with cheese (and served beautifully in a ceramic half scallop shell). There were a few non-fish and vegetarian main courses on the menu, as well as Parisian-born Ken’s Mediterranean fish stew, inspired by time living in Marseilles.

But the main bones of the offering is the self-select fish option, priced at £10.95. Pick your choice of fish, how it’s cooked, a sauce and an accompaniment. The menu changes practically every day, with fish hand-picked daily from the local market, and Ken dreaming up new sauces and sides all the time.

On my visit there was plaice, cod, herring, sea bass and conger eel steak, which could be pan-fried, beer battered, grilled, steamed or barbecued.

The flaky barbecued cod, with a hint of charring, was excellent (apart from a couple of small bones) served with a homemade red Goan sauce and steamed rice.

And a dessert (again all £5) of butterscotch bread pudding was, my friend said, one of the best things she’s ever eaten.

If you like fish this place is worth seeking out. It’s not fancy with frills on, but has the vibe of a casual French bistro and is pretty cheap to boot for the quality of cooking Ken’s putting out.

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