Restaurant review, La Tour Cycle Cafe, Ipswich: “It’s great for families”
PUBLISHED: 11:34 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 06 July 2018
New mum Nicola Warren tried out the food offering at a cafe that’s made a welcome return to Ipswich recently.
I was first introduced to La Tour Cycle Café by my dad last year when it was in its former home in Tower Street.
Last summer, my husband Phil and I had our baby daughter Jessica with us when we visited. I was impressed with the cosy sofas – ideal for making myself comfy before feeding her – and all of the toys she’d be able to play with. At the weekend, we all popped down to the new incarnation of La Tour on Ipswich waterfront, for a family lunch.
Dazzled by the sunlight, and a bit frazzled by the heat, we pushed the buggy into the cool café. Friendly faces and a mouthwatering array of cakes greeted us. Below the counter was a blackboard with the menu on. Lunches included sandwiches and toasties, bagels and salads, and there were snacks like sausage rolls too.
While pondering on what I wanted to have, I ordered Jessica the kids’ plate. Phil went for a cheese and tomato toastie. And after asking about the salads on offer I chose an avocado one.
After ordering we took Jessica over to the other side of the café, where there are a collection of comfy sofas to relax on as well as lots of toys for children to play with. Jessica made a beeline for the rocking horse, but decided she didn’t want to actually sit on it – toddlers! – but rather stand next to it and rock it.
Very soon though, our drinks and Jessica’s kids’ plate were brought over, which was great, as we could get her started on her lunch before tucking into ours.
Many mums and dads currently weaning their babies will be pleased to know there are Ikea high chairs here. (I always let out a groan when I see wooden highchairs and take a clip-on one with us just in case!)
Once safely clipped in, I offered Jessica some food from her plate, which included breadsticks, hummus, cheese, cucumber, half a banana and raisins.
I thought it was a nice selection and surely included a few things most children would like to eat – some of Jessica’s favourites were certainly there.
She started munching through a bit of breadstick and sucked some hummus off a bit of cucumber before dropping it on the floor. (We did pick up our mess before leaving!)
Then our lunches arrived. Underneath black pepper sprinkled avocado were dressed salad leaves, slices of cucumber and tomato and a mixture of chopped olives, artichokes, red onion, roasted pepper, sundried tomato and more cucumber. This was a lovely, tasty summery dish and would be great for vegans. I could have opted for hummus as a topper rather than avocado, but I tried a bit of Jessica’s instead.
Phil enjoyed his fresh bread toastie, which came with a side of salad leaves and the chopped mixture of veg I had with my salad.
We were sharing a large table with a mum and her two sons and kept an eye on one of them while she took the younger to the toilet. (Mums and dads note there is baby changing here too). The older son told us not to touch his brother’s cucumber as that was his favourite. Looking at the circles of the green vegetable on the floor, I don’t think he had anything to worry about! When Phil and I had finished, I sent him off to choose one of the homemade cakes. By then, Jessica had started on her banana and raisins – neither of which were dropped on the floor of course… Phil returned and reeled off some of the cakes, adding he’d like a slice of Victoria sponge.
I’m afraid I had to get the staff to repeat what the cakes were, but they were more than happy to help.
Some of the cakes on offer on Saturday, as well as the Victoria, were white chocolate and mixed berry, toffee apple, carrot and coffee and pistachio. There were also vegan chocolate brownies. I chose the white chocolate and mixed berry cake.
This was the last slice of cake (another was ready to be cut), and was a monster of a slice! Not that I’m complaining of course. Light fluffy sponges, with that freshly baked taste, were held together with berry jam and white chocolate butter icing and topped with more of the icing – heaven! I nearly didn’t finish it, but just about managed it, washed down with a cup of tea. Judging by how quickly his tea and cake went down, I’d say Phil enjoyed his too.
After a clear-up of Jessica, the floor, the highchair and table, we went back to the sofas and played with some musical toys.
Once she started to try to flee, we thought it was time we’d better leave ourselves, satisfied and chilled out, and blinking into the sun.
There are a range of cold drinks in bottles, cans and cartons, all of the usual coffees – and babycinos! – plus hot chocolate, ‘builders’ tea and herbal tea. There were also jugs of tap water and glasses that you could help yourself to on one of the tables.
This large cafe could feel a bit cold, but it’s been sectioned off with tables and chairs and sofas and, despite the fact that there are no windows, so you can’t see the view, artwork adorns the walls, giving the loft type space a bit of colour.
Great service by really friendly staff. Nothing was too much trouble.
The Ipswich Borough Council’s St Peter’s Dock car park is a short walk away and costs £1.20 an hour.
The space is flat throughout, so great for wheelchairs and buggies.
We thought we got great value for money here. A toastie, salad, kids’ plate, two pieces of cake, two soft drinks and two hot drinks cost £22.20.
Those cakes! And the toys of course.
We’re glad La Tour is back. With great food and plenty to keep children entertained, there’s nowhere else quite like it in Ipswich.
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