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Review: Fishface, Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 17:21 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:21 06 August 2018

Pate lunch Picture: Archant

Pate lunch Picture: Archant

Archant

We tried out lunch in the family room at the town centre coffee shop

Houmous lunch Picture: ArchantHoumous lunch Picture: Archant

It can be difficult to find toddler-friendly cafes. Especially if they’re struggling against the high chair straps while you’re waiting for food to arrive. Perhaps, like me, you offer them a crayon and paper, only to find your toddler would rather rip the piece of paper apart and attempt to eat said crayon…

As you can imagine, the recent opening of a family room at Ipswich town centre café and upholstery shop Fishface piqued my interest.

We decided to try it one lunchtime after my husband Phil had taken our daughter Jessica swimming.

I got there before them and decided to order, as Jessica gets rather ‘hangry’ the further past midday it gets (as do I…)

Kids' houmous lunch Picture: ArchantKids' houmous lunch Picture: Archant

Then I made my way down to the family room, which was empty at the time, and had a look around.

Some clever use of light meant the room was surprisingly bright despite being situated in the basement.

Tables came complete with packs of wet wipes and plastic children’s cutlery, which proved useful when our lunch arrived later on.

Ikea high chairs were stacked up on one side of the room, and there was also a set of children’s table and chairs.

Carrot cake Picture: ArchantCarrot cake Picture: Archant

What was really great was at one end of the room there was a toy kitchen fully stocked with mini pots and pans and toy foods to play with, a dolls’ house and other toys as well as paper and pencils.

There was also a sofa area – a comfy place to feed your baby – and a changing table.

As soon as Phil and Jessica came down the stairs – the one small sticking point is that the family room is downstairs, although Phil was able to leave the buggy upstairs – she made a beeline for the kitchen, picking up the toy broccoli from the sink.

Luckily it wasn’t broccoli on the menu for lunch as she’s going through a bit of a veg-dodging phase at the moment.

Lemon cake Picture: ArchantLemon cake Picture: Archant

The friendly serving staff, who’d already brought our soft drinks down, carried in the kids’ houmous lunch, my houmous lunch and Phil’s pate lunch.

I started by putting some strips of pitta bread, cucumber and tomato dipped in houmous on Jessica’s high chair tray, but she reached out for the whole dip so I passed it to her with one of the plastic spoons and she scooped it straight from the dish. Chickpeas are one of your five a day, right?

I dipped my wholemeal pitta into my fresh, creamy, garlicky houmous, sometimes adding a smear of caramelised onion chutney – delicious – in between taking mouthfuls of salad leaves and sundried tomato with the zesty salad dressing.

Phil spread his wholemeal toast with a layer of creamy butter, then the rich, chunky pate and the onion chutney which just balanced out the richness of the pate. He also had the salad with sundried tomato and dressing.

Lunches finished, Jessica had some banana and apple from the kids’ fruit bowl as I’d ordered that when ordering our main dishes.

Phil and I decided we had just a little room left to try one of the delicious looking cakes.

I went back upstairs to order another soft drink for Phil as well as a slice of the lemon cake and a piece of carrot cake for myself.

I still had some of my soft drink left, but was tempted to order a pot of tea – there was a wide array of different sorts of tea on the shelves next to the till.

The drink and cakes were brought down to us while Jessica was having another play with the toy kitchen.

What was nice was that the cakes weren’t too rich – both cakes having buttercream inside to sandwich the sponges together with glace icing on top.

Phil said his was light, fluffy and zingy. Mine was not too dense, which you can sometimes find with carrot cake, and really nicely spiced.

All too soon it was time to go, Jessica’s eyes getting heavy and ready for a nap, so we started to head off.

On our way out, I thanked the lady on the till and said what a lovely find the family room was in the centre of town.

The cakes and teas caught my eye once again. We must go back soon.

Drinks

Children’s drinks cost from £1.20 to £1.95 and include milk, milkshakes smoothies, babycinos, water and pressed fruit juices.

Adults’ soft drinks cost from £1.45 and include options like elderflower presse and rose lemonade, smoothies and milkshakes.

There’s a wide range of teas and coffees, including decaffeinated varieties, and hot chocolate.

Ambience

In the family room, bright, cheerful, welcoming and child-friendly. It was nice and cool on a hot day too.

Service

Really good. Even when we’d finished our food and drink we felt we could have enjoyed the family room for much longer and not outstay our welcome.

Accessibility

There aree tables outside and on the ground floor, but the family room is downstairs.

Parking

Cromwell Square and Crown Ipswich Borough Council car parks are nearby.

Price

Three lunches, three drinks and three desserts came to £28.90, which I think is pretty reasonable when you factor in some play time in the family room too. Especially as when of the staff members encouraged us to stay as long as we liked after our lunch.

Highlight

Although the food was delicious, for us it would be the family room as there’s nowhere quite like it in the centre of town. It just made lunch a more relaxing experience and far more entertaining for Jessica.

Summary

Great food, warm and welcoming service and a lovely room for families to enjoy.

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