Review: Cabbages & Kings at The Mix, Stowmarket
- Credit: Archant
Nicola Warren takes her family for lunch at the family friendly venue
Cabbages & Kings – a coffee shop based in The Mix youth centre in Stowmarket – is named after a phrase from The Walrus and The Carpenter, a poem in Lewis Carroll’s children’s book Through the Looking-Glass.
Apt, then, that the place is so child-friendly. We had briefly popped in to the café when we’d been to some messy play sessions at The Mix with our then baby Jessica.
I’d noted the fenced off area for families, thinking it would be good to go to when she was on the move a bit more.
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So here we were, at Cabbages & Kings, last Saturday to try their lunch menu.
Except the family area, complete with toys, was so popular there wasn’t a single table free. So it was just as well that our nearly two year old had fallen asleep in the car and was still zonked out when we sat down at a table in the adjacent seating area.
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While she snored on Phil’s lap, I went and had a look at the menus on the blackboard.
There’s a large selection to choose from, including a range of interesting fillings for sandwiches, paninis, baguettes and jacket potatoes – sundried tomato, pesto and mozzarella and chicken, chorizo and mature cheddar, for example. But it was the salads – halloumi and beetroot for example – and pancakes, such as feta cheese and olive, that had caught my eye.
Phil could see the food menu from where he was sitting – just as well as Jessica was still zonked out.
Because he chose the barbecue meatball pancake, I went for the halloumi and beetroot salad.
The children’s menu is of a decent size too and not a fishfinger or chicken nugget in sight, which is refreshing. Hot meals include sausage, mash and beans and there are pancakes on the menu too – from cheese and bacon to lemon and sugar. There’s a snack plate and sandwiches too.
I ordered a cheese sandwich for Jessica, along with an apple and blackberry Fruit Shoot (milk and milkshakes are available for children too), a Coke for Phil and a smoothie for me, plus the salad and pancake.
I hunted for a high chair after that, and found one which had just been used. A lady working there quickly came over to offer to wipe it down for me and bring it over to our table. You don’t get that service in many places!
Soon after ordering I was told they didn’t have the fruit I wanted in the smoothie, so I decided on a Maltesers milkshake, which I’d secretly wanted anyway… Not long afterwards the lady brought over 50p, the difference in price between the two.
I was glad the smoothie wasn’t available after all as the milkshake, topped with cream, was so good.
Of course, I could have been chosen an alternative fruit to go in my smoothie – there are lots of healthy options at Cabbages and Kings, which has a silver award from the Eat Out Eat Well scheme.
There’s a whole blackboard dedicated to the healthy options at the café. Milkshakes can be made with 0% fat yoghurt instead of ice cream for example, and lighter salad dressings are available.
Talking of healthy options, I was impressed with my salad – griddled halloumi with roasted beetroot, on top of salad leaves, cucumber, tomato, red onion and generously topped with a tangy honey and mustard dressing. It was fresh and tasty, but I would’ve liked one or two more bits of halloumi as when I’d finished the cheese I still had quite a bit of the salad and beetroot left!
We’d both said “Wow” on seeing the savoury pancake – it was huge! This American-style treat was filled with meatballs, barbecue sauce and grated cheese, folded over and topped with a drizzle of more barbecue sauce. It looked more calzone than pancake, and Phil, who struggled to finish it all, said it was just as filling. He said the pancake was light and fluffy, with meatballs of good quality, rich thick sauce and a generous amount of cheese. The dish was served with coleslaw and salad.
Jessica, freshly woken from her nap, swung her legs happily in the Ikea highchair (my favourite of all the highchairs when we eat out!) and picked at her cheese sandwich which is normally her favourite, but quite happily munched on the tortilla chips – crisps are a rare treat! Usually a fan of veg, she considered the cucumber and carrot sticks but ignored them on this occasion.
Before eating my lunch, I’d considered ordering a sweet pancake for dessert but the Maltesers milkshake had got the better of me so we will just have to try those another time. With toppings such as lemon meringue and chocolate sauce and hazelnuts, I think we’d better return soon.
Hot drinks include locally roasted F&E Coffee with specialities such as cinnamon latte and caramel macchiato, a range of teas and hot chocolate. There are also smoothies, with a milk, orange juice or spring water base, and a choice of up to three additions including fruits, spinach, ginger or mint. Plus milkshakes in a wide range of flavours, including Twix and Crunchie, and canned and bottled drinks.
Location and parking
The Mix is on Ipswich Street in Stowmarket, just across the road from the Regal. The Regal shows pocket money films on a Saturday morning, costing £2.50 for children or free for adults, so The Mix is ideally located for lunch afterwards. Parking by The Regal costs £1 for two hours and there were plenty of spaces available when we visited on a Saturday lunchtime.
Everyone serving was friendly and staff were apologetic when the smoothie wasn’t available and also about how long it took for the food to be made, but we expected a bit of a wait when everything is made fresh on-site.
Three lunches and three drinks came to £19, which I felt was really good value for homemade food.
Setting and ambience
There’s a nice buzz about this place, which is situated on the ground floor at the back of The Mix. There were diners of all ages enjoying the coffee shop when we visited. It’s modern in its décor and spotlessly clean.
Cabbages & Kings offers fresh, filling food, including healthy options as well as sweet treats, to keep all of the family happy. What’s great about this coffee shop too is that families can enjoy it while also supporting young people because 100% of the profits go back into The Mix.