Review: Naomi Gornall pops to Quayside in Ipswich

The Quayside Restaurant in the old Pauls Building on Ipswich Waterfront

The Quayside Restaurant in the old Pauls Building on Ipswich Waterfront - Credit: Archant

Setting: Situated at the heart of Ipswich’s Waterfront, Quayside is surrounded by competition.

With the likes of Pizza Express and The Waterfront Bar to its right, and Bistro on the Quay and the Salthouse to its left, it has established itself as more of a drinking establishment but its food should not be written off. As it is the closest to the main road, and has prominent attractive outdoor heaters, those heading to this area cannot fail to notice it and be drawn in.

The restaurant offers British cuisine, and given its extensive opening times, can host all three meals, from a business breakfast to a special evening meal. It is a large venue, meaning big groups can also be accommodated.

Interior

With high ceilings and a glass-fronted exterior, Quayside feels light and airy. It is open plan, with the main kitchen in view, giving you a glimpse of the hardworking chefs.

The bar stretches all along the back wall, handy for dealing with the large crowd of drinkers that frequent it on certain evenings during the week.

On the night we were there, diners were sat on a slightly raised section on the far side, leaving those who were just sticking to drinks conjugating in the centre.

Most Read

There are also plenty of tables upstairs for both diners and drinkers.

Overall the modern décor of exposed brickwork blends in well with the setting.

Food

There is a wide selection of freshly cooked seasonal dishes to choose from, and yet you do not feel overwhelmed or bombarded by what’s on offer.

There are the staples that you come to expect from a decent eatery; steak, fish and a vegetarian option. That said, it is not an entirely imaginative menu, and veggies who don’t eat fish may feel their choices are pretty limited.

Bread rolls and butter were served to start with, then we went for a starter of caramelised goats cheese salad, with walnuts, roquette and pistachio dressing, which was a wonderful marriage of flavours.

For my main, I opted for the wild Cornish seabass, samphire, Jersey Royals and Romesco sauce. The presentation was good, and the fish was perfectly cooked but I would have preferred the sauce to be a bit spicier. The samphire was quite salty yet a good alternative to the usual green vegetables.

My companion chose from the fixed price menu and enjoyed a beer-battered cod with skinny fries and tartare sauce. The batter was light and the portion of chips was generous but it could have done with a side salad or vegetables.

Dessert was divine. A large slice of moist chocolate brownie stimulated my taste buds, and the accompaniment of cherry ice-cream in a brandy snap basket was delicious, but I probably would not have put the three flavours together.

The other pudding we tried was a generous helping of a Maple Syrup crème brulee, which proved to be a winner.

There are quite a few menus offered for both lunch and dinner, including fixed price, A la carte and a children’s menu.

As pleasant as dinner was, I would probably favour returning to Quayside for lunch, as you would get a good selection of hot and cold dishes, and could enjoy the ambience and setting of the Waterfront during the daytime.

With so many other great restaurants nearby, this one does not necessarily stand out for its exquisite cuisine. It is a touch above good bar food but if it is more fancy restaurant fare you’re after, this may not be the place for you.

Drink

With much of its custom coming from drinkers, it is no surprise there is a wide variety of alcohol on offer. There is not much ale on tap but the bottled beer selection appears to be good.

The wine list is fairly extensive. I went for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc which was a light, crisp number with a citrus finish that matched my fish well.

The coffee served after dinner was both strong and flavoursome.

In Summary

Dining at Quayside was an enjoyable experience.

The interior is attractive, the food is of a good standard, the location is perfect, and the waiting staff are friendly.

Overall it is fairly good value for money and those who view this venue as a drinking haunt rather than a place for food could be missing out.

I imagine it would be a good option for Christmas parties, considering both the space and location, and details of their festive menus are on the website.

Price

Fixed price is £16.50 for three courses.

The mains dishes on the a la carte menu ranging from £9.50 (pasta) to £22 (for the sirloin steak). My seabass dish was £16.50. Starters hover around the £7 mark.

Desserts are also reasonably priced, with my brownie costing just £5.50.

A set three course lunch costs £12.50.