Restaurant review: 'This is the best restaurant in Ipswich according to Tripadvisor'
PUBLISHED: 19:30 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:47 04 December 2019
Nicola Warren tries lunch at Ocean Fish Platter in the town centre.
As a pescatarian who often finds restaurant fish dishes uninspiring, I jumped at the chance of a lunch date at Ocean Fish Platter in Ipswich.
The business opened on Upper Brook Street in the town centre earlier this year and is currently the top-rated restaurant in Ipswich on TripAdvisor.
My husband Phil and I visited one Monday lunchtime, marvelling at the cavernous interior - I very nearly walked past the entrance, and the humble exterior belies what is inside.
We were grateful to be shown to a table near a radiator to warm up a bit after coming in from the cold and were then given some menus.
Before our visit, Phil had thought Ocean Fish Platter was a fish and chip shop. But while fish and chips is a speciality here - fresh cod and haddock is available in three sizes and deep fried in their own recipe batter in beef dripping - there's so much more on offer.
There's grilled fish, burgers, pasta dishes, sharing platters and specials.
I decided on grilled salmon, with rice and pan-fried vegetables as my two side dishes. (Salad and baby potatoes are the other options). From the choice of sauces - olive oil, garlic, tartar, sweet chilli and pomegranate - I went for garlic.
Phil fancied a warming fish pie and when asked if he'd like chips or salad with it made a snap decision and said chips.
But after the pie was brought out and he'd started eating it he realised he wouldn't be eating many of the chips. This hearty, packed with fish pie, with a creamy sauce was topped with mashed potato and plenty of cheese. Rather than have to hunt around for pieces of fish, as we've found in some other restaurants, this was stuffed full with large chunks of fresh and smoked salmon, cod and haddock as well as prawns.
I was really impressed with the presentation of the grilled salmon, sat atop a generous amount of pan-fried vegetables - carrots, pak choi, peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. It was served on a huge plate, with the buttery rice coming on a separate plate. The garlic sauce - a mix of olive oil, garlic, parsley and chilli - came in a separate bowl too, so I could decide how much to put on.
I ended up using all of it and, with the garlic having settled at the bottom of the bowl, I slightly regretted that decision later on when I found myself putting my hand over my mouth to spare them any garlic breath!
We thought, for the sake of the review, we ought to try the desserts, perhaps one to share.
Like the main menu, there's a lot of choice on the dessert menu. My head was turned by the honey and Maltesers cheesecake, but I couldn't resist the pistachio baklava with ice cream from the specials board.
Phil, meanwhile, was reading out the toppings available on the home-made pancakes "Lemon and sugar; bananas, brown sugar and dark rum; maple syrup and banana…"
So rather than share my dessert, he ordered the lemon and sugar pancakes with ice cream. Unlike the ones we'd have at home on Pancake Day - laden with lemon juice and granulated sugar - these came with a sweet lemon sauce. He still finished them though.
My eyes were perhaps bigger than my belly and I left a bite-sized piece of the deliciously sweet, syrupy baklava, sprinkled with crumbled pistachio, on my plate with a bit of ice cream. While I enjoyed it, I wasn't keen on the vanilla ice cream which was served, and would have cream next time, as this had been offered as an alternative when we ordered.
And there'll certainly be a next time - this hidden gem is a must-visit restaurant.
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There's an extensive wine list, and cocktails, spirits, liqueurs and beers are also available.
Soft drinks include made to order smoothies, such as strawberry, peach and papaya and mango and pear.
Hot drinks include tea, coffee and hot chocolate.
Our server was lovely and I thought she coped well with the number of customers, which increased as our visit went on.
We'd certainly bring our toddler daughter Jessica here. There's a children's section of the menu and I think she'd like the sausage, chips and beans. For even younger guests, highchairs are available and there's a pull-down changing table in the ladies' toilet.
There's a large pay and display car park behind the restaurant.
The grilled salmon, rice and pan-fried vegetables with garlic sauce was outstanding.
Well-cooked, tasty dishes, with great service, in a modern, nautical-themed restaurant. Don't just walk past it like I very nearly did.