Review: The Ice Cafe, Rougham - 'A cool, fun place to eat which kids will love'
PUBLISHED: 13:17 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 13 June 2019
Mark Heath and his wife Liz visited the recently-opened Ice Cafe in Rougham for an early Sunday lunch. Here's what they made of it...
The Ice Cook School and lunch bar has been something of a fixture on the West Suffolk foodie scene for a few years now, with the cafe their latest venture.
It's not the obvious place for an eatery, on a fairly remote industrial estate in rural Suffolk with no footfall at all to speak of, but I fancy they're going to be just fine.
We visited at just gone noon on a Sunday - a busy morning in the garden fuelling our appetites - and it's fair to say we were flabbergasted when we walked in.
The interior can best be described as industrial, lots of metal and lights, but it works brilliantly and gives one the impression you've walked into a diner in New York or Camden, rather than sleepy Suffolk.
There's an extraordinary graffiti mural on the far wall as you walk in - Freddie Mercury, Aretha Franklin and Slash jumping off the brick canvas. If first impressions were a food rating, Ice would be Michelin-starred.
Anyway, to the food. We were seated on a table fashioned from an old door - it was much better than it sounds, trust me - and left to peruse what can only be described as a mouth-watering menu.
Milkshakes, steaks, mac and cheese, burgers, waffles - good lord, what an offering!
With the sun shining outside, we ordered up a couple of Coronas - thank god they arrived with lime, first test passed - and had the usual discussion-cum-argument about who was having what.
Liz won the starters exchange, ordering up the Korean steamed pulled pork buns while I, for the sake of variety in the name of this review, opted for the salt cod croquettes.
Having recently mastered the recipe for steamed bao buns at home, Liz couldn't resist the chance to try Ice's version - and it didn't disappoint.
Not one but two buns arrived, and were stuffed with a generous portion of pulled pork and a selection of finely shredded vegetables, which offered a satisfying crunch to contrast the texture of the meat.
The dish was topped with slices of red and green chilli, which provided just the right amount of heat to complement the sweetness of the sauce which accompanied the meat. All in all, a satisfying dish and great value for money.
My croquettes, in stark contrast, numbered just three small balls on my plate. Given they both cost a fiver, the difference in value was pretty marked. I understand cod is a relatively expensive ingredient, but still.
Fortunately, my croquettes ate well. The fish was moist and nicely flavoured, while the batter added crunch. They were perhaps a touch greasy, but for me it didn't alter my enjoyment of the dish.
Mains up next. I'd won the argument here, and ordered the clasic Ice burger, with accompanying french fries. And goodness me, what a burger it was.
It arrived with a steak knife plunged through its heart, indicating that perhaps halving the offering was the way to go, so in I went. What greeted me was as appetising a halved burger as I've ever seen.
A perfectly-cooked patty, pink in the middle, topped with smoked cheese, beef tomato, lettuce, mushroom, caramalised onion, applewood smoked bacon and house pickles. Praise be.
One hopes you're drooling as you read this, for that is the appropriate response. It was tremendous - the juicy, well seasoned patty was perfectly complemented by the aforementioned toppings.
The only drawback - and this is an important note - was that it was quite difficult to eat, unless you happen to have the snake-like ability to dislocate your jaws.
For that reason, and the fact that it also pretty much all fell apart due to the lovely beef juices, I ended up finishing the job with a knife and fork, akin to a Tory politician on the campaign trail who orders a burger to try to prove they're normal, only to let themselves down by using cutlery.
Across the table from my burger romance, and continuing her oriental themed-lunch, Liz opted for the Ice noodle bowl with tempura chicken for her main.
Another generous portion, the noodles were mixed with broccoli, sweetcorn and mushrooms and garnished with sesame seeds. The tempura batter around the chicken was spot on and incredibly light, but unfortunately the dish was accompanied by rather a lot of soy-based sauce, which meant the noodles got progressively more salty as you neared the bottom of the bowl.
Liz left a fair amount as a result, but was pretty full up by then anyway. I must admit, I could not have eaten the bowl - it was just too salty for me too.
Now, you'll know, if you're a regular reader of my reviews, we'd reached the point where we consider our respective fullness against the dessert menu in the name of you, dear readers.
And, for the first time in my reviewing career, we simply could not find room. We've let you down.
But the desserts looked and sounded sensational - giant waffles, brownies, cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding, the works. Next time!
Friendly and welcoming, as you'd hope for.
Our waiter also took the time to explain the ethos behind the cafe, and the plans for the future - which include evening dining and comedy/music nights.
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A great range of beers and wines - including non-alcoholic options - and the aforementioned milkshakes, which looked absolutely fantastic.
A major plus of being on an industrial estate - a large, free, car park right outside the front door.
You won't have any issues parking on your visit, and there's no time limit!
Most of the cafe's fixtures and fittings are made from recycled or reclaimed materials, which is a fantastic idea.
Indeed, as our waiter told us, the bar is made from an old railway sleeper which had laid in the African sun for more than 80 years.
As well as that jaw-dropping mural when you walk in, you're also greeted with a collection of cakes and treats which you can take-away - and several folks did as we enjoyed our meal.
Ice offer impressive-looking ice-creams too, perfect for a sunny day.
We don't have kids, but I'd imagine Ice would be a great place to take youngsters - cool surroundings and food which will very much appeal.
Milkshakes, burgers and waffles - what more could a discerning young person want?
Ice offer breakfasts too - from the classic full English (which a fellow diner was ordering at lunchtime, so it must be good), to classic American offerings such as waffles and pancakes.
Our starters were both £5, Liz's main £13 and my burger £14. Very reasonable.
My burger was cracking, one of the best I've had. Liz, on the other hand, loved her steamed buns.
A cool, fun place to eat which kids will love.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10